This is one of the questions addressed in Questions Pentecostal Preachers Ask published in 2006. For more information – or to purchase “Questions” visit http://truth-publications.com/?p=64
Questions Pentecostal Preachers Ask is also available on Kindle.
When I was seventeen years old, on April 8, 1974 the Monday night before Easter, I sat down with my pastors, E.W. and Billie Ruth Caughron, to let them know I felt called to preach. Bro. Caughron responded, “Well, Carlton I saw that in Stan (referring to my friend Stan Davidson, who pastors in Gadsden, AL and is superintendent of the Alabama district) but did not see that in you.” Then in spite of not being particularly enthralled with my potential and somewhat to my dismay he turned picked up the telephone and I heard him say, “Bro. Ross I’ve got a young fellow here who feels he may be called to preach. Would you like to use him some time? You know his folks. He is L.C. Coon’s boy.” Bro. Ross (Allen) was willing to use me, as a matter of fact he asked if I could preach for them that Wednesday night. How could I say, “No?”
I graduated from high school a month later having already preached several times. The question:
What process should I follow if I’m relatively certain I’ve been called into the ministry?
Talk to your pastor about your feelings. He may do his best to dissuade you or challenge your calling. His long-term intent is not to be discouraging but to assist you in confirming the call. As a pastor, I usually advised the person to discuss their feelings with no one else, pray, do the things they think a preacher should do. This includes faithfulness in their conduct, personal devotion, prayer meetings, outreach efforts, etc. I have them come back to see me in six months. Now, your pastor’s advice may be totally different than mine. Obviously E.W. Caughron did not follow this specific process.
Follow your pastor’s instructions implicitly. Above all else be faithful in the small things. If during those six months the person has done the things I ask and they still feel the same way about God’s call, I then start adding some servant responsibilities to their life. On the other hand, if the person resisted the six month time period it was a sure indication to me that they needed some work. Developing a servant-ministry involves submission to authority and leadership. Anyone who won’t submit to a proving time is not likely to truly serve for the long haul.
How do I go about preparing myself for ministry?
Effective ministry will be based on the influences you invite into your life. Choose mentors, both near at hand and others you observe from afar. Don’t attach yourself to a mentor’s idiosyncrasies but to their commitment to God and approach to serving. Paul said, “Follow (imitate) me as I follow (imitate) Christ.” Find Christians who deserve to be imitated in some way. At times you will have to ask yourself, “What would __________________ do in this situation?” I still ask that question when I’m in new territory. Answering that question provides sound advice
Develop yourself through some component of education. This may be secular college, Bible college, the on-line Christian Service Training Institute or self-education. Proper grammar, communication, leadership, and relationship skills enhance effectiveness. Listening to good communicators improves your communication. Here you will learn to be studious.
Involve yourself in some component of personal evangelism. This can be “follow up visitation,” driving a van for Sunday School, Home Bible Studies, nursing home or jail ministry. I’ve done all of these and more! Pulpiteers are a dime a dozen; preachers who can do personal evangelism are rare. As you spend time in personal evangelism you develop sensitivity to the fallen condition and how the Word and spirit respond to that condition. This awareness of just how lost people truly are gives you a dimension of compassion that isn’t found in book learning.
We need preachers, “How shall they hear without a preacher?” I hope it is God stirring you with a call! If He does don’t be content to be licensed, or to occasionally fill the pulpit when a pastor is sick – PREACH! Preach in jails, preach in nursing homes and somebody please go preach in places where we have no church! How shall they hear without a preacher?
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