This week I began reading Jason Keith Allen’s book, Letters to my Students, in which he asks an important question for those who feel called to full time ministry: Are you sure? Here he quoted Spurgeon:
The first sign of the heavenly calling is an intense, all-absorbing desire for the work. In order to be a true call to the ministry, there must be an irresistible, overwhelming craving and raging thirst for telling to others what God has done to our own souls.C.H. Spurgeon
There are at least four indicators that God really called you to the ministry:
A burning desire. The leading indicator of a call to ministry is a burning desire for the work. Those who have been most used by God carried this burden in their souls: Spurgeon, Edwards, Whitefield.
A holy life. Before the church elevates your giftedness and talent, it must first evaluate your character. Holiness is not a one-time threshold to cross. It is a lifestyle to maintain and a character to cultivate.
A surrendered will. God’s call to ministry comes with the expectation that you will go whenever and wherever he calls you. Don’t enter the ministry if you intend to confine God’s call to your own zip code. Open your life and calling before the Lord. Pursue his calling wherever it may lead.
An ability to teach. A minister can serve the church in a thousand different ways but one responsibility is indispensable and nonnegotiable—to preach and teach the Word of God. A pastor who avoids preaching and teaching is a walking oxymoron.