How soon should a new convert pursue ministry?

 I had a man write me recently who is trying to sort through a call into the ministry.  He feels he was converted as a child, but went astray from the Lord for many years.  Within the last year he has recommitted his life to the Lord.  Not long after that committment, he was asked to preach to which someone who heard him preach inquired if he would be interested in being their pastor.  I appreciate the discernment of this man to seek counsel and not rush into what I’m sure was a tempting offer to preach God’s Word regularly.  Here was my 2 cents:

Dear _______,
Thanks for writing.  I am grateful to the Lord for your rededication to Him and your desire to serve Him.  Based on what you have mentioned, I would have a concern for you to pursue any kind of ministry at this time.  Your recent rededication is encouraging, but 1 Timothy 3:6 cautions that a pastor (overseer) should not be a new convert.  Though you feel you were converted as a child, it sounds like your spiritual growth has just begun in many ways.  This does not mean the Lord has not gifted you for ministry and that others couldn’t begin to identify those gifts now.  It would probably be wise to allow yourself to mature and grow in the Lord a few years while getting practically and theologically trained for ministry.
My suggestion is to place yourself under the authority of another pastor, commit yourself to that local church, and allow him to disciple as well as train you for the ministry for a few years. Allow that pastor and local church to be your guide on where and when to proceed with ministry.  There is much to pastoring besides preaching that require other gifts that your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in your local church must identify in you before you should feel confident to accept a call to pastor.  I hope that helps.
May the Lord give you grace and wisdom during this time,
Any additional words of wisdom for this brother?
(This concept is the main idea of Test, Train, Affirm, and Send into Ministry).
Posted in Training for Ministry

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