This past weekend, I spent some time reflecting on my strengths and weaknesses and how they relate to ministry. I began to wonder how in the course of preparing to be a pastor, how do we receive honest assessment from others and assess ourselves if we have the necessary makeup to be a successful pastor? Being a pastor requires a set of skills that are very different than in any other field. Now I am not saying that skills from other fields cannot be translated into success in ministry because I know of people who have been able to move into ministry from another career field. What I am asking is does a 20 year old Bible College sophomore have enough insight into himself and has enough people around them to honestly asses whether they have the right combination of skills & gifts to be a successful pastor? In some cases I believe that they are, but in some other cases that just might not be the case.
In my case, I do not believe that I was self aware enough to really determine if I was going to be successful as a pastor when I was a college sophomore. I certainly did not people in my life who loved me and where honest enough with me to point out my strengths and weaknesses. I do not remember talking about my spiritual gifts and leadership ability until I was much older and had already invested some time into preparing for ministry. Did I make the wrong career choice? Was I prepared to make that choice? It is hard to say and at this point it is water under the bridge, but I think that is worth asking the questions.
My concern now shifts to our up and coming leaders who are in college right now. What are we doing to prepare them to make informed decisions about who they are and how God has made them? Have we set up and encouraged students to form relationships with mentors and friends who can be honest about their strengths and weaknesses and be frank and honest with them about their aspirations to become pastors?
I love the local church and I can think of nothing in the world then I would rather be doing than serving in full-time ministry. Ministry is a very demanding but extremely rewarding job and it takes people with the right skill set to do it very well. I believe that not all of us are gifted to be successful pastors but I believe that we can be made into successful pastors. Some people that I know in ministry are naturals and they were made to do what they do! Other have the desire but require coaching and training to be better.
What do you think…do we need to encourage people who are naturally gifted to become pastors and leaders in the church or can we train/equip people who are not natural leaders but have the desire?