To be a minister, you must have a true and genuine love for Christ and the desire to share your passion with others. Although religious organizations all have different requirements, they all work towards a common goal which is to lead others to Christ. In addition, each denomination may also be different for the requirements they have to becoming a minister.
Generally, there are several steps to becoming an ordained minister, but, perhaps the most important is heeding God’s call. Discerning a call to the ministry could be the most important decision of your life. First and foremost, you must persistently pray about it. And secondly, discuss your decision with spiritual leaders in the community or the church you attend. Let them, as experienced leaders, help you decide if the ministry is right for you… but, above all, listen to God.
There are also many Christian denominations to consider. If you decide to pursue a career in ministry, what denomination will be the focus of your ministry? Each denomination has distinct beliefs, doctrine and authoritative figures that help distinguish them from one another. As you consider which denomination suits you, you will want to examine each one’s theological beliefs to find one that matches your system of beliefs and morals. For most, this is simply based on where they went to church as a child. Although, your church background is important, you should choose a denomination based on your personal beliefs, not your family’s desires or expectations of you.
Is a formal education required to be a minister? Not necessarily. Depending on the church, some have smaller memberships that do not require formal training, however, if you desire to minister to a larger congregation, most churches require a bachelor’s degree, as well as, a Master of Divinity degree.
To begin, however, you must earn your online Bachelor of Ministry degree. In this program, you will learn how to properly address your congregation and provide them with a knowledgeable and informative message, in addition to, other roles in the church. Bachelor’s degree programs often focus on theology, pastoral studies and biblical literature.
Next, you will need to continue your education by earning your Master of Divinity degree. This degree program is designed to bring you closer to the Lord and your congregation. Divinity schools, often called seminaries or theological colleges, prepare students for the extensive leadership roles that will be expected of them within the church. Through this program, you most likely will be expected to participate in an internship or other hands-on training.
Through the ordination process, you will be given religious authority to perform weddings, preach sermons, educate others, as well as, perform funerals, baptisms, conduct counseling and lead activities within the church. In addition, the ordination process may also take a while. Often, depending on your church’s requirements, they may prefer that you gain experience, do volunteer work and pass several interviews with church committees before becoming an ordained minister.
Becoming a pastor is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a lifelong commitment and a decision that affects your family, friends, as well as, yourself. It can open you up to much critique and criticism, just as Christ endured. But… rest assured, your hard work, dedication and commitment will be much rewarded!
If you would like to learn more about this field, please see our list of the Best Online Schools for Bachelor’s in Ministry Degree Programs.