Becoming a pastor is a rewarding but challenging journey that will test your relationship with your religion and God. The pastor is the shepherd in the church that leads the congregation in the way of the Lord. Although you need a divine calling to become a pastor, you can put in the effort to woo God into making you his vessel.
Pastors work to build the church, maintain it, and spread God’s word. However, it is worth noting that pastoral work is also a vocation. Special thanks to technological advancement, you can apply for pastor jobs online and be employed in a church as a worker.
In this regard, we have teamed up with experts from job aggregator Jooble to enlighten you on what it entails to become a church pastor and how to go about it. For aspiring pastors and the curious-minded, read on out the duties of a pastor, different pastoral positions, and other jobs related to the profession.
Everything You Need to Know About How to Become a Pastor Content
Steps Toward Becoming a Church Pastor
There are no set steps toward being a pastor. It all depends on God and what He wants. God chooses whomever He wants to serve Him, which can be both expected and unexpected.
However, there are certain things that you can do if you have an interest in the ministry. These things are not a guarantee for a calling; they are ways through which you can seek the Lord’s favor. These steps can take you as close to the ministry as possible, even if you do not eventually become a pastor.
1. Become a Standing Member of the Church
The first step toward seeking the job of a church pastor is to be an active member of the church. Take church services seriously and be punctual. Do not limit your church activities to the general ones; you should be there for every service. This is a basic level of commitment to the church that every aspiring pastor should have. If you want to be a leader, you need to first know your congregation.
2. Study the Scripture and Memorize Its Teaching
Another important aspect of working toward being a pastor is studying the scripture. Pastor or not, all of us ought to prioritize studying the word of God and have a strong foundation in Christian teachings. However, it is more so expected of a pastor because the studying of God’s words is the basis for all sermons, as well as wisdom. Constant studying of the Bible will also allow you to build an intimate relationship with God and help you to hear God and His voice.
Scripture studying doesn’t have to be an individual journey all the time. You can form a Bible study group and bounce off ideas and learn from one another. In addition, constantly studying the Bible will improve your translation of the scripture, give you a deeper understanding and make you confident about it. You will also find it easy to teach and quote the scripture.
3. Desire and Cultivate a Close Relationship with God
Pastoral calling is majorly done by God Himself. Therefore, it is important that you cultivate a relationship with Him. Desiring and cultivating an intimate relationship with God will make it easier for you to be used and guided by God. Also, it will make it easier for you to navigate your way around the ministry and do the job because He is the one who gave it to you.
The best way to build a relationship is by communicating. Prayers are important because they are used to communicate with God. Pray constantly and observe daily quiet time to build a relationship with Him. Study His word and fellowship with Him often throughout the day. This allows you to build trust, but most importantly obedience to God. Apostle Paul has done so much in his life. Yet, all of these were only possible because of his obedience to God. Paul was a man that truly went after God’s heart.
4. Attend a Theological School
Attending a theology school is a great way to improve your chances of becoming a pastor. Theological schools will train you adequately on how to lead the church. You will also be taught how to study the Bible and behave as a pastor. Bible schools can also help you discover your spiritual gifts and abilities.
The major requirement for studying theology is good essay skills. Also, you must have graduated from high school with at least a diploma. However, a bachelor of theology can take between four to five years.
5. Get Additional Training
Although the theological school will give you adequate training, it is advisable that you get more training. Volunteer for positions in the church and also learn from other pastors. Take up courses on spiritual healing, counseling training on mental health awareness, and conflict resolution. This can better prepare you to be someone that is equipped to deal with matters that members of the church may face.
6. Get Yourself Sorted
Everyone will carry hurts, insecurities, and unresolved conflicts with them. And as a pastor, you will be dealing with these as well when you are called to counsel your church members. But in order to be able to deal with these, you have to first get yourself sorted. Resolve conflicts that you have been avoiding, and seek professional help to heal. This will not make you a perfect pastor, but this will make you a pastor who heals to help others heal.
7. Get Involved in Church Activities and Make Your Intention Known
Now that you are preparing yourself for the work of God, it is time to make your intentions known. Tell the church elders about your interest in leading the congregation as a pastor. It would also help if you get more involved in church activities— join church workers, be part of committees or take up the duty to prepare you for the post you want.
8. Attend the Ordination Council
The ordination council consists of church elders and stakeholders who come together to verify a person for a church position. Their verification includes personal character, relationship with people, religious commitment, and other necessary qualifications.
You need to pass the interview with the ordination council before you can become a church pastor. The ordination council will ask you some questions to ascertain that you are fit to be a pastor.
9. Write a Resume and Apply for Pastor Jobs
Unlike what many people might think, you can also apply for a pastor job. You can apply to your current church or a new church entirely. Applying to your current church can be easier, and the verification process might not really take much time. However, you must write a compelling and honest resume listing your qualifications, experience, and proficiency.
As with all things in life, you need first-hand experience to grow and develop. So do not stop at just doing up a great resume, apply! Apply for pastoral positions in churches, schools, NGOs, and other Christian organizations. You should also be available for an interview after applying for the job.
What Does a Church Pastor Do?
After you have decided to become a pastor and put some work into it, you need to be explicitly aware of the roles and duties of a pastor. A pastor holds many hats. While you’re the leader of the church, you are also a bit of a CEO, a manager, a counselor, a healer, a listener, an officiator, an anchor for the church members, and the list goes on. It sounds daunting. But if God called you for it, then just as how God provided Aaron for Abraham, trust that He will prepare you and equip you too.
Below are some of the duties you are expected to carry out as a pastor:
Write and Deliver Sermons
Pastors write sermons and deliver them when required. They use the Bible as a point of reference when writing sermons, which is why being familiar with the Word of God is required and expected of a pastor.
Research and Give Lectures on Important Topics
Apart from the conventional sermon, they also deliver lectures on selected topics. For instance, a pastor can occasionally research the causes of divorce and use it to teach the married couples in the congregation.
Dictate the Direction of the Church’s Growth
It is extremely important for pastors to also dictate the direction of the church’s growth. What do you think the church should and can prioritize? What are some areas that? the church can improve? These are some things that all pastors have to consider so that they can set a vision and mission statement for the church. That said, pastors should never decide alone, but listen to God for His will for the church.
Overseeing Church’s Administrative Duties
Pastors are also expected to oversee the church’s administrative work, such as buying supplies, maintaining the church properties, keeping records, monitoring activities, organizing events, etc. Do not worry, you are not alone in this. You will usually have a group of leaders of the church helping out with this.
Support and Supervise the Staff and Workers
One of the administrative duties of a pastor is supervising the other workers. They organize worker’s meetings, supervise their jobs, evaluate them, and direct them when necessary.
Officiate at Special Events
Pastors officiate at events like weddings, child dedications, baptisms, funerals, etc. They are often expected to preside over the program, even if it’s happening outside the church.
Counsel Church Members and Offer Guidance
Apart from preaching, pastors can also act as counselors. This is because they are mostly experienced in conflict resolution. Sometimes, members of the church will also approach pastors for help in various situations like mental health, spiritual healing, or even a difficult situation at home. As a pastor, you should know how to offer counsel and guidance for such things.
Different Pastoral Positions
Just like any workplace, there are also various pastoral positions as well:
The senior pastor serves as the church or parish leader. They organize the church events, direct other workers, and manage its organization. However, this role requires that you have leadership experience to thrive in it. So, it is not an entry-level position.
An associate pastor assists the senior pastor in managing the church. They take the bulk of the operational duties while the senior pastors do more brainstorming. The associate pastor can be seen as the second in command to the senior pastor.
A solo pastor is a pastor that does everything alone in the church. They are usually found in small churches with small congregations.
A youth pastor is a pastor that is in charge of youths and teenagers. He counsels, encourages, and leads them in the way of the Lord.
Like the youth pastor, the children pastor is responsible for children in the church. He organizes children’s Sunday school and teaches the children.
Christain Education Pastor
Another position you can hold as a pastor is as a Christian educator. This position requires that you can easily impart knowledge and deeply understand the scripture.
Other Jobs Beyond Pastorship?
If for one reason or another, you are unable to become a pastor, there are also some other jobs that you can explore. You can also get into them after retiring as a pastor. These jobs are very relatable to a pastor because of the similar skills required.
Politics may seem far from pastoring. However, it involves leadership, wisdom, discernment, and a strong set of morals and values, all of which you have gained in your bid to become a pastor, or during your time as a pastor.
Another job you can take up as a pastor is a musician. Many pastors are music-oriented and have no problem being good singers or instrumentalists. Hence, this makes music another profession you can explore.
Pastors are trained counselors. You can, in turn, later leverage this skill and become a professional counselor, helping even people outside of your own church.
Another job that you can easily take up as a pastor or an ex-pastor is teaching. Not only can you teach in schools and higher institutions of learning, but you can also teach in the seminary. However, teaching in the seminary may necessitate that you have a Ph.D.
Other Things You Should Know About Being a Pastor
If you’ve decided to pursue a career as a pastor, there are some things you need to know about the profession. You may not have been taught most of these things in classes, even in the seminary.
Below are some of the things to keep in mind:
- It takes grace to serve God in any capacity; keep asking and relying on God’s grace and mercy throughout your stint as a pastor. You will fail at certain things, but God’s grace never fails. His grace is what keeps you going.
- A pastor is not immune to temptation; he or she just has to work on avoiding them and practice self-control.
- Character is everything; every leader must grow in christ-like character. Character includes virtue, love, loyalty, honesty, fearlessness, purity, work ethics, etc. Keep working on your character every time. Build your character around the Fruit of the Spirit.
- A pastor is both a teacher and a student; you must be ready to listen, instruct, correct, and be corrected.
Being a pastor is a full-time job that pays well and takes a lot to achieve. Becoming a pastor is majorly dependent on the will of God. However, you can ask Him for more. It is, therefore, important to take the proper steps while waiting for the divine call. Follow the tips in this article to get started as a church pastor.