Dr. Tim Searcy, former KBC president and Kentucky Baptist pastor, often tells the story of his call into the Christian ministry. He was 12 years old, attending the church where his father was the pastor.
The church had scheduled a revival and one of the older deacons did some research on the last time anyone from that church had been called into ministry. He was shocked to discover it had been 20 years. He, and others in the church, immediately began to pray for God to call people from their congregation into Christian ministry.
During that revival, Tim was one of five teenage boys who answered the call. Tim’s father started meeting with those boys on Sunday afternoons, teaching them the basic skills of sermon preparation and pastoral ministry. Those five young men went on to have careers in local church ministry.
God is still calling people today. In a convention of churches the size of the KBC, there are undoubtedly dozens of young men—and probably some older ones as well—wrestling with the call to preach. How do you know if God is calling you? Here are five indicators:
1. You meet the biblical qualifications. God calls people to walk with Him and then to serve Him. There are clear and unambiguous qualifications for those who serve God in any leadership capacity. While the Bible is not a book on leadership, it is safe to say that a simple reading of the Bible with an eye on leadership will show that God has high standards for those He calls to serve His people.
2. You are already serving the Lord. Some people want to preach but cannot seem to get to church on Sunday morning. I remember a conversation with an SBC leader on this subject in which he referenced a young man who said he was being called to preach. The pastor affirmed his sense of calling and said let’s work on getting you to Sunday school on Sunday mornings. His view was that if the young man couldn’t commit to Sunday School attendance, he would have a very difficult time with the rigors of local church ministry.
3. You want to serve the Lord even more. While those God calls are usually already serving the Lord in some capacity, they have a desire to serve Him with more of their life. They say things like, “I wish I could serve God full-time.” While some are called to teach school, or work in business, or lead in public policy, still others are called to serve Jesus in a ministry leadership setting.
4. Others see it in your life. Oftentimes those who are close to us, including family and church friends, will see a trajectory in our lives to the degree that when we announce a sense of calling, they affirm that they see it, too.
5. You have a sense it is what God wants for your life. On a recent Sunday, I was invited to preach in one of our great Kentucky Baptist churches. The pastor has served this congregation and the community well for the past five years. He has been especially used of God to encourage young men in their walk with the Lord.
Before I arrived to preach, he told me about two young men who had recently surrendered to the ministry and that God seemed to be working on another one. During the invitation, the other man came and announced to the congregation that he believes God is calling him to the gospel ministry.
The pastor said he would be working with those three men after the first of the year to help them develop the basic skills needed to serve God through the local church. This is the way churches will have the pastors they need for generations to come. Please join me in praying that many across the commonwealth would answer the call and receive the training they need to serve Kentucky Baptist churches.