How to Become an Ordained Minister
Many people feel the call of God at an early age. It’s also not unusual for someone to enter the ministry at an older age. The reason may be they felt a call to minister when they were younger and failed to follow through on it. Then again, it could be because they made a commitment to Christ later in life and felt compelled to commit themselves to full-time service. Whatever the case may be, how does someone who feels called to ministry become ordained?
Search your heart and be sure you are called. Every minister needs to make sure they are called of God before pursuing ordination. It’s not something we should take upon ourselves. The Bible says, “No man takes this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God” (Hebrews 5:4 KJV). Going into full-time ministry is not something to take lightly. We will be held to a higher standard (James 3:1). The ministry must not be something a person enters into as merely a job or vocation, it is a calling. If you are not truly called, you will be miserable and do more damage than good.
Begin seeking God in prayer. Any spiritual pursuit should be preempted by much prayer. You will need to know how God wants you to proceed. “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV). James said if we lack wisdom we should ask of God (James 1:5). Every Christian should seek the face of God before making any major decision, otherwise they will be stepping out in their own strength. We must be confident we are going in the direction God is calling us to.
Get proper training. Everyone needs some kind of training for any career. However, going back to college at an older age is not always practical. There are many online or corespondent courses a person can take to begin to equip themselves for ministry. Carefully research any school you plan to attend to make sure you will be properly trained. Another option is to be mentored (discipled) by a mature minister you admire and trust. Some of both is actually a wise choice. Your mentor can guide you in seeking any formal training you may need.
Find an organization that offers ordinations. Often ordinations are done through a particular denomination. If you are a part of a denomination you should seek help from them. There are also many fellowships that provide credentials as well. Each group will have their own criteria for ordaining people, and some may want you to carry a license for a year or two prior to being ordained. Licensing carries the same powers as ordination, but for a limited amount of time to make sure you are going to stick with your call. These two options are the best and most credible avenues to becoming ordained (always avoid “credentials mills”). Calvary Ministries is the fellowship I was ordained through.
Count the cost. Jesus said we should count the cost before becoming a disciple, and even more so when going into the ministry (Luke 14:25-33). James said teachers will be held to a greater judgment (James 3:1). The judgment he referred to was not necessarily God’s judgment alone, but also man’s. Going into the ministry is not just an easy job filled with thrills and the accolades of men. Jesus said, “How can you believe, when you receive glory (honor) from one another and you do not seek the glory (honor) that is from the one and only God?” (John 5:44 NASB)
Unfortunately, those in the ministry will often face the criticisms and judgments of men more than their approval.