What are the qualifications of ministers and pastors?

By Dr. Dale A. Robbins

In our society, a minister is a generic term that usually refers to a pastor, preacher or clergyman. For our purpose here, we are referring to all such ministers in general, who are officially ordained or commissioned by a church to carry out some form of spiritual leadership.

Above all things, the qualifications of a minister must first include a divine calling (Acts 13:2). Someone once said that there are two kinds of people who enter the ministry: Persons called by God or fools. The meaning of this is, due to the many adversities faced in ministry, it is a great mistake to become a minister, especially a pastor, unless you have received a specific call from God. No amount of education from a Bible college or seminary can ever compensate for its absence.

A call from God is somewhat difficult to describe, and may vary in interpretation from one person to another. Some have heard audible voices or seen visions, while others have simply discerned an inner “awareness” of God’s calling upon their life. A wise, elderly pastor once spoke to prospective ministerial students on the subject. He said, “Do anything you can to stay out of the ministry, unless you can’t do anything but get into it. If God has truly called you in the ministry, He’ll put you there — He’ll provide the opportunity and make the way. Don’t seek the ministry unless it’s something you can’t avoid. Then you will know that it’s His doing and not yours, and that He’ll see you through when things get tough.”

Those who answer the call to become ministers, should be mature, Spirit-filled Christians who possess an intense love for Christ and their fellow man. They should show signs of the appropriate giftings in their inclined field of ministry, and seek to enhance these through applied study and training — by attending a Bible college or seminary if possible. But more than preaching ability or other gifts, a minister of the Gospel must be a person of exceptional character, endowed with spiritual fruit, devoted to prayer and the study of God’s Word.

A minister must have a sound mind and common sense. . . .

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