How to Become a Pastor

Mystery. Discernment. Covenant. Community.

These are the kinds of things that play a large role in the life of a pastor. A vocation of meaning and purpose, it also offers challenging and creative aspects of profoundly rewarding work. The multi-dimensional role of being a pastor often brings deep personal fulfillment and abundant opportunities for growth. Perhaps these are some of the reasons that, in 2011, a University of Chicago research group study reported (in Forbes Magazine) that clergy were the happiest of all professions.

Hearing God’s call through the noise of our lives isn’t always easy or clear. This important discernment usually reveals itself from the inside out. If you’re a follower of Christ with a passion for the gospel, you’re already equipped with the tools to listen for God’s beckoning. This is the first step on the journey. A number of paths will take United Methodists the rest of the way.

A pastor primarily inspires and nurtures faith, yet constant cultural shifts and broad responsibilities make this vocation highly innovative. First and foremost, a pastor offers spiritual leadership and guidance to God’s people, providing a landscape of spiritual discovery for all who are seeking.

If you

  • are open to mystery,
  • have a heart for people,
  • cherish communion with God,
  • are gifted with leadership and team-building skills,
  • are a comforter, nurturer, and responder,
  • yearn for a just and merciful world,
  • can speak the truth while expressing compassion, and
  • are passionate about sharing God’s message of grace,
    you may be called.

An ordained minister generally serves a congregation, alone or as part of a ministry team. Others become chaplains, university faculty professors, corporate spiritual advisors, social service agency leaders, and more.

Do you have the heart to be a pastor? Are you sensing the whispers of the Spirit, inviting you to share the gospel of Jesus Christ? Have those who know you well told you that they see pastoral gifts in you? If so, consider exploring what it means to enter into the candidacy process.

We invite you to further explore the opportunities in the United Methodist Church.