How do I know I am called into the ministry? This is by far one of the most frequent questions I get from ministers. Admitted, there is no single answer to this question, I will endeavor to give you a guide you can use moving forward.
1) There is a strong burden in your heart
This is often the number one indicator that God is calling out to you for something special. You will find that you begin to take extra concern for the unsaved, suffering and dying world.
The dimension of this burden will differ depending on exactly what God is calling you to do but you suddenly become concerned about the things of God to the extent that you want to do something about it. You just begin to feel a pull on your inside towards a certain area.
For example, someone called into the music ministry might suddenly find that he sees a need that has to be met in that ministry. You can’t listen to music like every other person anymore. You always see something that has to be done to make the music ministry more impactful.
Someone called into the healing ministry becomes compassionate about the sick. You hate to hear of people dying of diseases that medical science sees as incurable. You find yourself praying for sick people in a special way and trusting God for supernatural healing for others.
One called into the pastoral ministry might just begin to feel the needs in the local assembly. You see that people need more caring and nurturing and you begin to look for ways to meet that need.
Church problems just become your problem and you can hardly sleep at night without thinking of what can be done to make the church better.
The feeling of a strong burden in the area you are called is often a great indicator that God is calling you there.
And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian (Acts 7:23)
Notice that Moses had lived in Egypt all his life. But it was only when he was “full forty years old” (the Divine timing of the calling) that the burden for his people came upon him in a way that he felt like doing something about it.
He may have seen an Israelite being bullied five years ago and felt indifferent about it. But this time around, a sense of “I have to do something about this” came upon him. That is what you feel when you are called to do something for the Lord.
Moses literally felt doomed for not doing anything!
This is what I refer to as the burden for ministry. However, Moses made a common ministry mistake by trying to go about his ministry with natural ideas/strategies.
So what has come into your heart to do? What burden do you feel right now that wasn’t there 3 years ago? That might be an indication that God is calling you to do something for Him in that regard.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (Phil 2:13)
2) Others Begin To See Something In You
Sometimes, we get too occupied with the affairs of life that we fail to even see when God is stirring up something in our hearts. In some other cases, it’s just immaturity in the things of God that stops them from catching the spiritual signals of God’s call.
In such cases, another way to determine that there is a call on your life is through what others are seeing in you.
God could stir the hearts of those around you and even strangers to sense His call upon your life. He could open the eyes of others to begin to see you in the light of what He is calling you to do.
So you may find that people start calling you pastor when you didn’t think you were one. Or they start making insinuations that you could be a good counselor or teacher because of the zeal or passion they see in you.
My dear, that is probably God trying to get your attention in that area. It is time to prayerfully consider these assumptions and see what God reveals to you about it.
I look back to my days in high school where my housemaster, hostel mates, and classmates used to call me pastor (that was way before I ever preached my first message)
I still wonder what they saw because all I knew then was that I wanted to study hard, get good grades and move on to the university!
Because it is part of human nature to discount what you carry, God has a way of making other people see what you carry even when you haven’t come to terms with it.
3) God Begins To Take You Through Stuff
I teach 4 stages of development in the life of a minister in the Charles Emmanuel School of ministry.
It is interesting that the first stage of a ministers training may already be going on without the minister knowing that he is being trained for something ahead.
When God spared Moses life and had him grow up in the palace of Pharaoh, it was deliberate. It was for Moses to acquire the first part of the training that would be necessary for the fulfillment of his calling down the road.
Being educated to the highest level of the Egyptian learning system was important for the man through whom God was going to communicate the Ten Commandments and the first five books of the Bible!
Similarly, when you read about most of the healing evangelists of all time, 90% of them had to be miraculously healed of one disease or the other before they could step into the healing ministry.
This is not because God couldn’t call them into that without being sick themselves but because there is a lesson in passing through something that is rarely learnt any other way.
Some people like to call it the school of hard knocks but I see it as the school of life. Most times, God helps you go through certain difficulties so that He can make you a voice to others who suffer similar afflictions.
Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (2 Cor 1:4)
God might be calling you into the ministry of finance (oh yeah there is such a ministry) but you start out with a rough patch financially. You learn how to abound and how to be in lack.
Then you acquire some money management skills and learn how to set your priorities right financially. You get delivered from the selfishness that makes many people remain small financially. Then boom! God begins to wire kingdom money through you in a way that only grace can describe.
So sometimes, your story, your challenges, and difficulties sometimes are indicative of what you are called to minister to others.
Are you convinced that you are called into the ministry?
How did you discover that call?
Let’s discuss in the comment section below.