How Do I Know if I Should Be a Preacher?

Good word from Proclamation Trust, a great UK ministry promoting excellent preaching, on determining your preaching call:

There is little in scripture explicitly about the feelings or desires of the people set apart for word ministry. When Paul speaks of those who aspire to the pastoral office (1 Timothy 3:1) he does not make it clear whether the candidates coming forward in Ephesus were to be encouraged or discouraged in their desire. On the one hand, some desire to enter this ministry, and ought not to. They may for example have a wrong understanding of scripture (eg 1 Timothy 1:7), a love of power (1 Peter 5:3) or prominence (3 John 9), a love of money (1 Timothy 6:5), or a desire to exploit vulnerable people by making them dependent upon them (2 Timothy 3:6f). On the other hand, some want to avoid this ministry who ought to be in it. For pastoral ministry has its peculiar pressures. And so a love for the world (2 Timothy 4:10; 1 John 2:15-17) or a desire to avoid suffering (2 Timothy 1:6-12; cf. 1 Timothy 4:14) will make us avoid this work, even when we are called to it. So we must be deeply sceptical of our feelings and desires. For it is possible to quench the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19).  So, rather than rely on our feelings, we do well to focus on the principles of stewardship. If Christ has given us ‘word’ gifts, then we must use them, whether or not we want to.

Christopher Ash, How Do I Know if Preaching Is for Me? (Proclamation Trust)

It’s no bad thing to go to seminary to learn more Bible and theology.  But if you want to be a preacher, and you want to go to seminary to be a well-rounded one, consider the above essay.  Merely enjoying preaching is not necessarily a sign of a call.  If you want to serve the church, and are willing to give up comfort and wealth to do so, and have preaching gifts that the church has affirmed, those are signs that may well beckon you to undertake the long, difficult, and valuable work of seminary training.

“If Christ has given us ‘word’ gifts, then we must use them…”


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