One of the questions I’ve been asked multiple times over the years is this: “How do I really know if I’ve been called to be a children’s pastor?”
Sometimes this question comes from a teenager or adult wrestling with God’s will for their life. Other times, it comes from someone currently serving in full-time ministry who finds themselves questioning their life’s direction or calling.
For the person who is struggling with the answer to that question, here are some ways that God confirmed in my heart His calling upon my life into the ministry. Hopefully they can help you as well.
1) DESIRE to Be a Children’s Pastor: God is the one who has put it in your heart.
I Timothy 3:1 If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
I believe that first and foremost, if a person is called to the ministry, there must be a genuine desire to serve in the ministry. This may be something that comes more naturally for some, while God may have to take more time to “convince” others. (For some people it’s a matter of God’s conviction over time prior to them being convinced over time. But in the end, it still ultimately ends in a desire.)
Regardless of the circumstances, a person must be “God-called,” and not pastor-called, parent-called or pressure-called.
For me, from the time I was just a boy, it was my heart’s desire to follow in the footsteps of my dad, who was (and still is) a pastor. Other than my childhood dream to one day play in the NBA (lol), my heart’s desire and longing was to serve people through the ministry. Where did that desire come from? I believe that God put it in my heart, in addition to using the circumstances around me (my parents’ example and passion) to grow that desire.
For many, the call comes at a specific time in their life when they surrender themselves to God and His calling upon their life to enter the gospel ministry. Every calling will be unique, but every calling will include a God-given desire.
God says clearly that to desire to be in the ministry is a good thing, and that is where a calling must start.
2) GIFTING to Be a Children’s Pastor: Because of your gifting and abilities
I Cor. 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise…
Every person in ministry will have different levels of abilities, but there are some certain characteristics and abilities that usually accompany a call to the ministry. (I Timothy 3 is a great place to start for some basic requirements/abilities.)
It is highly unlikely that God is currently calling you into the ministry if you’re still struggling to make it to church from one Sunday to the next or if you’re simply struggling to be faithful as a layman.
As my former pastor, Bill Prater, used to always say…
“When God is looking for someone to call to the ministry, He’s usually going to reach down and pick the best of the best. He’s going to call people who are actively serving, and who will leave a huge gap in the ministry when they’re gone.”
If you’re not currently and actively involved in your local church, that is the best place to start for God to be able to confirm (either way) His calling upon your life.
My dad always used to say, “God doesn’t call the able, He enables the called.” This is so true. No matter what natural God-given abilities a person may or may not possess, God is ultimately the one who enables any of us to serve him in a ministry capacity. He still uses the foolish and weak things of this world.