Does God Call Pastors?

When I began as a pastor nine and a half years ago I read all manner of pastor books. I read tons of them until they bugged me too much. Maybe I’ll read one or two a year if someone gives me one.

I got one recently. It bugs me. As with most pastoral books they build you up as God’s man on earth and there’s no hope apart from pastors. Please.

One of the issues that has bugged me is the whole idea of being “called to be a pastor.” There is no such thing in scripture. The closest you get is Paul saying he was called to be an apostle. However, based on the manner of Paul’s calling, i.e.–being blinded while talking to God–I doubt any pastor could claim such certainty. It’s just not there. Yet every pastor book talks about it as being a legit test. “Calling” usually means “you got hired or not.”

Here’s a quote from the latest pastoral book I’m reading, “One does not choose the ministry! A pastor is chosen.”

That’s just plain hooey.

“This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work” 1 Timothy 3:1. “Desire” means “to reach after, earnestly covet.” In other words, guys can be pastors if they really want to. Period. There’s no mysticism about it. If you want to do it, go for it.

Being a pastor is a gift (Ephesians 4) given by God. We are to covet earnestly the best gifts. If you want to be a pastor you can covet to do it and you can. Romans 11:29 says gifts and callings are two different things. Calling is generally used to describe our predestination to be believers. Gifts are what the Spirit does through us as called believers.

The underlying nonsense of “pastoral callings” is the idea that pastors are above laymen, we’re a special class, specially loved by God cuz we’re so awesome, God just couldn’t have us be a lowly laymen. Get over yourself. You were called like every other believer and gifted as any other believer. We’re all in this together.

5 thoughts on “Does God Call Pastors?”

  1. How do we reconcile Hebrews 13:17, which commands us to submit to the authority of our spiritual leaders? Jesus also commands us to submit to the teaching authority of the church. What does this biblical model look like to you?

  2. It looks like we should submit to spiritual leaders. Spiritual leaders are people who meet the qualifications laid out in the NT and who carry out the “job” as detailed in scripture. If a guy meets the qualifications, carries out the job and desires to do it, he is to do it and believers should submit.

  3. I think some pastors are called evidenced by their effectiveness and productivity in ministry…it’s a joy to watch them minister, preach, teach and empathize with people. Others, not so much. I think the motives of those in the “not-called” category are approval, acceptance, power or no other vocation would take them….sorry just calling it the way I see it.

  4. When it is a CAREER the motives are different. A job – kind of like education. Read the book and give a 3 point discriptive that you Regurgitate.
    The Love of Christ is not shared with career motives…I agree with Dusty – I think the motives of those in the “not-called” category are approval, acceptance, power or (no other vocation would take them —not so much) Each leader of a church justifies there position with what is in their heart – God calling them to share his love from the pulpit or something else. Each knows where they stand and intellectual justifications just aint going to cut it.

  5. Whether they are paid/career pastor still doesn’t change the fact that the Bible does not mention anything about pastors being called!

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