Monday, November 24, 2008
How To Know If You Are Called To Preach
The young man at the CVS register tonight told me he thinks God might be calling him to preach. I promised him a short post about how to know. So here it is. 1. Read 1 Timothy 3. Do you have the qualifications of an elder? Because that's what a preacher is. You don't need to have them with perfection. But there are at minimum two components that go into being a Christian preacher: charisma (spiritual giftedness) and character. We've seen far too much of what happens when a man only has talent but a weak character, right? 1 Timothy 3 addresses character. 2. One of the qualifications is desire: "Do you desire to be an overseer?" Never go into the ministry as a way of being extra-spiritual, or repaying God for His good gifts to you. The Bible never says to go into the ministry as a way of paying back Christ for saving us. In fact, Paul in 1 Corinthians 7 said that we should stay where we are when we come to the Lord. Single men shouldn't rush out and get married, married men shouldn't dissolve their marriages, and so on. Let the Lord pull you forward into it, if it's meant to be. But don't idolize the idea. Being a preacher won't make you a more spiritual person than other Christians. 3. Be sure you have the God-given talents and gifts for preaching. I don't mean that you must be the world's most electrifying speaker. But the test of a true spiritual gift from the Holy Spirit is results. The church world is cursed by good-natured Christian guys who just wanted to serve Jesus but who can't preach a lick. They would have been so much happier staying in school, or serving God as working men or businessmen, and being a committed layman for the Lord. If you pray, but God does not open up any opportunities to preach; if you preach, and Christian people who hear you don't grow, or non-Christians don't draw closer to Christ; if you struggle horribly with the preparation phase, and it's a terrible burden on you; honestly, if you find that you just plain don't enjoy preaching -- then don't preach! The proof of the pudding lies in the eating. 4. Try getting a bit of preparatory training first. Preaching isn't magic. God doesn't say, "Shazam!", like Captain Marvel in the comic books, and you're suddenly a preacher. Find a conservative, evangelical college or seminary somewhere, maybe a correspondence program through Moody Bible College or Columbia Bible College (800-777-2227), or take a night class in basic Bible. Self-educated preachers had a fool for an instructor. God can work through classroom instruction to show you if Christian service is His plan for your life.