Is a Pastor’s Job a Calling or a Career?

My good friend Godfrey Thorogood is one of the smartest guys around when it comes to church leadership. He served as FEB Central’s Leadership Development Director in Ontario and now is pastor at Thousand Oaks Baptist Church in Ontario. He’s worked with literally hundreds of pastors and once shared with me that he noticed a disturbing trend among pastors. I asked him to write this insightful guest post.

As I ask myself if ministry is a calling or a career, my mind goes back to the day in May 1978 when God spoke to my heart and said “Godfrey, I want you to help people.” I soon discovered that the manner in which God wanted me to help people was by becoming a pastor. Throughout the past 36 years, God has reminded me many times of that specific call to help people through pastoral ministry.

Since I know I was called by God to be a pastor, that call has driven my passion to serve God and to serve His church. Even at times when my passion waned and I wrestled with staying in pastoral ministry, God would take me back to His specific call upon my life, which in turn would renew my passion.

Over the past few years, I have seen the trend of some men viewing pastoral ministry as a career rather than a call.

As I come alongside to assist pastoral search teams in our churches, I occasionally hear from those search teams that some of the men whom they talk with seem to lack passion as a pastor and preacher. These search teams pick up very quickly that some of the men whom they talk with view the pastoral opportunity at a particular church as a way to advance their career rather than fulfill God’s call upon their lives.

When I finished serving as an intern in my home church, and was called to serve as assistant pastor in another church, the pastor of my home church told me not to view my role as assistant pastor as a stepping stone to future ministry. He said, “God may choose to use it that way, but go into the role with the mindset that God has called you to serve in the church at this time for however long He wants you to serve there”. He also said “Serve with passion, joy and with loyalty to your senior pastor and fulfill God’s call upon your life as assistant pastor in the church”.

I believe the words of my pastor are good words for all of us as pastors to be reminded of today.

Let’s not forget that we have been called to serve as a pastor. Take some time to read through Paul’s words to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20. Note the passionate statements Paul makes about his own life and ministry. Make his statements your statements as you think about your current place of pastoral ministry. Ask God to continually reignite your passion for serving God and His church.

What do you think about this view that a pastor should view his role as a calling versus a career?

You can reach Godfrey here.

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2 thoughts on “Is a Pastor’s Job a Calling or a Career?”

  1. Pingback: 37 Great Links for Leaders, Readers, and Creatives - January 17, 2015

  2. God calls and equips. Man has taking over the pastoral ministry and has brought it down to his level. The Holy Spirit equips the teachers and pastors, not men. God fearing men filled with the Holy Spirit are the only ones that can fill the shoes of teacher and pastor. Without the Holy Spirit, we have man’s interpretations. A degree from a seminary or bible college means nothing to God. Most of these places don’t even believe the bible is the inerrant word of God. When man starts to think that through his own cleverness and intellect he can understand the spiritual things of God, the devil steps in and brings heresies, blasphemy, error, false doctrines and doctrines of demons. The natural man has no part in this. Self must be crucified and left there to die. Only the born again, spirit filled called by God can pastor His church. Not all that calls itself a church, belongs to Christ. I believe that men are to be taught, but I’m not a believer in much of what calls itself seminaries and bible colleges today. Without the Holy Spirit, it’s just dead religion. Very few things are as dangerous as an unborn pastor leading church.

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