If you feel the call to become a spiritual leader of a church congregation, the following four main steps will help you meet that goal. By investing your time and patience, you can serve in a pastoral role to provide spiritual guidance and support to others.

Participate in Pastoral Support

At the church you attend, get involved with pastoral support initiatives. These might include the role of deacon or teaching a church class coordinated by the pastoral leadership. You will begin to understand the church infrastructure as well as the pastor’s position and duties. Events and programs that support the pastor’s work will provide greater insight to the pastoral role with its rights and responsibilities for church oversight.

Assist a Church Pastor

Volunteer to assist your pastor in whatever capacity might be needed. You could help to visit the shut-ins and hospitalized church members with the pastoral staff to offer comfort and care. You might help to organize a church library under the pastor’s supervision. Organizing church records, taking notes at church committee meetings, and helping with various ministries will enable you to observe the pastor in close proximity to see how your spiritual leader handles various functions. This information can help you prepare for a career in ministry rather than enter the field blindly. Talk to the pastor and ask questions about the position for a clearer idea of what is expected.

Earn a Pastoral Degree

Enroll in a Christian institution of higher education, like a Baptist university, to take classes for becoming a spiritual leader. You can earn a certificate in undergraduate or graduate studies or work toward a bachelor’s degree in an area such as applied ministry or Christian leadership and management. There are also degrees in topics like Christian educational administration, Christian counseling, church planting, and missions. Consult an academic adviser on the best degree program to meet your specific interests and to develop the relevant skills that will be needed in your pastoral career.

Become Ordained

When you earn a degree or get certified in a university program, you will be ready to find a church pastoral position. Depending on the church size and organization, you might be hired as an assistant pastor where you can learn about the church and get familiar with the programs. Or you might be hired directly as the main pastor. Typically, a new pastor will serve in that role for a period of time before the church board decides to ordain the person. At that point, the pastoral position is confirmed.

Start exploring these steps now to begin your journey toward church leadership. Develop the credentials you need to become the pastor you want to be in God’s service.

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