5 Next Steps After Your Call to Ministry
Congratulations, you feel called into Ministry, now what?
I felt that call to ministry when I was 13 years old and now 23 years later I’ve been in full-time ministry and had the privilege for 7 years of directing Champions Centre College, the Leadership and Bible college in the Northwest of the USA. Because of this, I’ve found myself having many conversations over and over again with people about their calling, specifically with young men and women who feel called to be in full-time ministry.
The scene plays out like this, a young person has a God encounter where the Holy Spirit speaks to them or a prophetic word is given that calls them into the life of ministry. Then they come to their pastors and declare that they want to be a pastor or feel called to full-time ministry. So what is next for that young leader? Maybe you are that person feeling called to ministry and wondering what’s next, so here are what I would call the primary next steps once you feel called into ministry. (Also for those called to full time ministry I’ve started something just for you called the Ministry Cohort. Check it out and join the conversations.)
1. Immerse Yourself into God’s Word
This cannot be overstated. All of your ministry must be based and founded upon the truth of the word of God. All life, wisdom, peace, hope, and grace flows out of God’s word. If you ever want to minister well, you must become immersed in God’s word. Later at bible college you can get more training on how to properly do an exegetical study of scripture, or how to lead an effective church, but first, you need to live in God’s word everyday and allow it begin to come alive in you. The habit of daily time spent in the Bible is a non-negotiable for those who feel called into ministry. Your first priority as a minister is to the word of God.
and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word. – Acts 6:4
2. Increase Your Time in His Presence
If you’re going to lead God’s people, you’ll need to be able to better hear and receive direction from the Holy Spirit. God reveals himself to those who are committed to closeness to him. I want to challenge you to spend more time in God’s presence for two main reasons. The first is purely for greater closeness with God. The Holy Spirit can do great things in a moment, but intimacy is developed through time. The second reason is for wisdom in how to lead His people. Years back in the beginning seasons of my calling God illuminated a few verses that challenged me to make sure I spent time in his presence to receive direction. Both wisdom and intimacy flows from time in His presence.
18 But which of them has stood in the council of the LORD to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word? 21 I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. 22 But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds. – Jeremiah 23:18, 21-22
3. Begin your Ministry today
This is another thing that people often miss. They feel called into ministry but then when you want them to begin to serve, they don’t always connect the dots. Often a young person will approach their calling as if it’s a career that you have to wait till you graduate college to begin. But in this calling, bible college should enhance what’s in your heart and expand what you’re already doing. So you feel called to ministry? great – now get to work, serve, take every opportunity to help and lead that you are given in your church.
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. – 1 Timothy 4:12
4. Get Application-based Training
If you feel called to ministry work, I encourage you not to run off to a seminar or bible college that is based purely on academics if they don’t have internship opportunities. Too many people graduate seminaries with high academic standing but don’t have a clue in how to actually lead in ministry because the training wasn’t based in the local church that the degree is supposedly training you for. I recommend colleges that are based in thriving local churches that combine the theological training with hands-on internship experiences. There are several great colleges like this in America and overseas that I recommend. C3 Church Internship, Hillsong College, Wave Leadership College, and Life Church College.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. – 2 Timothy 2:15
5. Make serving people – primary
This is more of an ongoing step, but in our celebrity driven culture that we live in, we cannot make the call to ministry a call to personal popularity. The call to ministry is a call to serve. [ I also wrote about this in a blog called, Will the Real Pastors Please Stand Up ]
Ministry is not a call to popularity, it’s a call to sacrifice.
Now, for some, God will give a global platform, and some a national, some a statewide, others a citywide platform – but the size of the platform is God’s decisions, our job is just to be obedient and faithful with whatever he gives us. We have been given a great trust, a great opportunity when we’re called to pastor, shepherd or steward God’ people, so let’s make serving people our focus. Jesus, our primary example even said that he didn’t come to be served but to serve. I’ll end this section by highlighting a verse I came across recently that reminds us of the great privilege we have to be called to ministry.
I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift. – Numbers 18:7
I want to end by saying, “go for it!” Run after the call that God has put on your life; you won’t be satisfied doing anything else. The world needs you to give a passionate and obedient yes to the call of God! Any questions about this area of your life feel free to contact me or leave a comment!
For more ongoing ministry leadership conversations, join the Ministry Cohort!