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How do I become a Pastor and start a ministry?

I'm a high school senor I want to become a pastor. I'm reading lots of books on faith and on the Bible and I'm studying under my youth pastor. I'm reading Bible commentaries. Is there any other books I can read? What classes will I need and what else should I do? #youth-ministry #biblical-history #pastor #reading-bible #theology

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Ollie’s Answer

Most organized church bodies have an organization called the "commission on ministry" or something like that. Their job is to find people who have callings like yours and help you prepare for the work of ministry.

Make an appointment with the pastor who leads your congregation. You'll need 30 - 60 minutes. Express that you feel a call to pastoral ministry, and that you'd like help with the next steps. Don't try to have this conversation in the church lobby after worship; it takes more focus than that.

If you're in a large congregation, the lead pastor may ask you to work with some other pastor; that's fine. Many churches offer all kinds of opportunities to learn and serve.

Rest assured your pastor will take your interest in ministry seriously. It's hugely delightful for a church leadership team when somebody expresses this kind of interest.

Blessings on your way.

I love your responses! Jonas L. Harris

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Heather’s Answer

That is a very good question. First, look for programs that are designed for that particular field. I know Liberty University has fabulous programs that can help you reach your designated goal. Just go to http://www.liberty.edu/academics/ and check them out. They have two fields -- Religion and Seminary. I believe Seminary will be the path to go, but they have advisers online available for your questions.

Good luck!

Thank you that help out a lot Zech L.

You are very welcome! :-) Heather Hampsey

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Simeon’s Answer

For reading topics, I would recommend reading a diversity of topics: history of the Bible, history of your denomination, active listening, pastoral care, sermon preparation and outline, and grief counseling. If your chosen undergrad offers courses in religion, they will usually be pretty broad. Sometimes, however, these courses can be used in the graduate degree program if you are seeking a Masters of Divinity. If you are sure about wanting to pursue a Masters of Divinity, some universities/seminaries will offer a combined undergrad/MDiv program that will fast track your progress. The most important thing to remember is that experience is key. Reach out to your church and find out what volunteer opportunities they can point you towards, especially the youth ministry. You'll get real experience in the weeds of ministry, be able to list the volunteering as experience, and build the crucial references you will need to be considered for pastoral positions in the future. Lastly, I would recommend developing an additional career as many pastoral opportunities will either not be paid or will not pay enough to cover your expenses. Even full-time pastors at larger denominations often need to do additional work to cover their expenses, especially if one of your goals is to start a family. The trend towards smaller churches being swallowed up by large churches is accelerating the need to cover one's expenses. If you can get a dual degree or minor with a non-religious career, it will help you attain this balance. Also, having a career on the side will help you empathize better with your average congregant rather than get lost in the world of books and religious ideals. Lastly, if you can get an opportunity to volunteer at a hospital, I would recommend it since you will be exposed to the pain that you will console people through during pastoral work. Your ability to stand steady with others through their grief and be a good listener is crucial to all your other pastoral work.