Being a pastor and preacher of God’s Word is not something one chooses to do. Deciding to be a pastor isn’t like deciding to be a doctor or businessman. The call to preach is given not by men or even our own wishes, but from God on high. Yes, you might be able to learn the mechanics of preaching, but without the dynamic power given by the Holy Spirit, your preaching will fall flat. Above all else, preaching is a calling. If you are seriously praying about a call to preach, here are a few questions to ask.
Are you praying that God would reveal to you your calling?
Your calling first and foremost is going to come from spending time with God in deep prayer. Study the Scriptures, ask God to reveal his calling. Pursue diligently until the answer is clear. In my own personal calling it began when I was in Middle School as a young Christian and I was not made certain until college. Through many years of prayer and study, the Lord would finally affirm the calling to which I felt inclined to so many years ago.
Has your local church recognized your calling or gifting?
Does your church recognize that you have the gift of teaching and preaching? When you lead a devotion or teach a Sunday School lesson at your church does the body of Christ affirm that you are indeed gifted in those areas. Do they recognize a divine calling placed on your heart and life? For me this was crucial for God affirming my calling. As I began to teach and serve my local church, the congregation would tell me how God was using my teaching to challenge and convict them. The Holy Spirit would move, and that by no means is a sign of my talent or gifts, but the anointing and call of God. Does your church recognize your calling?
Are you content doing anything else?
My advice to you is this; if you could be happy doing anything else, do it. The call to preach is not for the faint of heart, and chances are if God has not called you, you are not going to last very long in the ministry. If you can be happy being a successful salesman or a IT guy for a company, or an engineer, then do those things. This unexplainable calling is something that only the Lord gives. A preacher has the word of God in his heart like a consuming fire, so that he cannot help but herald the good news of Jesus Christ.
My prayer for you is that God would make his will clear. The call to preach is a humbling one. Even as I examine my own call, I constantly wonder why God would use a wicked and sinful guy like me. However, throughout the Bible, God has a habit of using the unexpected to bring himself glory. If he could call a wicked sinner like me to proclaim the excellencies of Christ, he very well might call you to do the same.
Here is what others have to say on the matter:
“Do not enter the ministry if you can help it,” was the deeply sage advice of a divine to one who sought his judgment. If any student in this room could be content to be a newspaper editor, or a grocer, or a farmer, or a doctor, or a lawyer, or a senator, or a king, in the name of heaven and earth let him go his way – Charles Spurgeon
One of the problems caused by the fall of so many prominent ministers in recent years is that people became convinced that men were choosing the ministry the way people sometimes choose a profession – to make the most money. Professions are careers that people choose; preaching is a calling to which we surrender. We do not preach because we have nothing else to do; we preach because the call of God will not allow us to do anything else.
– Greg Heisler
A man who has really within him the inspiration of the Holy Ghost calling him to preach, cannot help it – he must preach. As fire within his bones, so will that influence be, until it blazes forth.
– Charles Spurgeon
“Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” – The Apostle Paul