Do you feel you have been called to a career in ministry? As you respond to God’s calling and pursue a career in ministry, here are some things to keep in mind and a few possible ministry career paths to consider pursuing.
In This Article:
- Develop a Foundation in Scripture
- Be Devoted in Prayer
- Know Your Spiritual Gifts
- Stay Humble
- Invest in Healthy Relationships
- Trust God
- Types of Ministry Careers
- How To Lead a Christian Nonprofit
Develop a Foundation in Scripture
Upon entering a position in ministry, it is important to have a strong biblical foundation so you can rightly represent Christ and faithfully communicate what you believe in speech and behavior. Connecting with God in his Word will allow you to continue to grow close to Christ and, as a result, you have the opportunity to gain greater ministry skill and insights.
There is always something more to learn, so continue to be a student of God’s Word by pursuing one of many ministry course options. For example, a theology degree can provide you with the opportunity to pursue a career in ministry, teaching you the skills to apply Scripture and sound theology to the context in which you serve.
Be Devoted in Prayer
Having a strong prayer life can help you to grow in your personal relationship with Christ. Ultimately, everything you do in ministry must flow from what God has put on your heart to do but we can only know this as we surrender to the direction of the Holy Spirit. It can be detrimental to your ministry if you are not dedicated in your prayer life, because you may become distracted and feel the prideful need to take matters into your own hands.
However, abiding in Christ through a life of prayer will allow you to hear his voice and fulfill the plans he has for you. Remember that no matter what the circumstance may be, God is there to comfort you, guide you and sustain you when you come to him through prayer.
Know Your Spiritual Gifts
Passages such as 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 discuss spiritual gifts and what their purposes are. As followers of Christ, we are all given different gifts by the Spirit in order to glorify him. We are each unique in our purpose, and together, we make up the body of Christ. Therefore, before entering a career in ministry, it is vital to understand who God created you to be and the gifts he’s given to you for service in his kingdom.
For example, certain individuals are called to be bold leaders for Christ, invested in planting and leading churches. Other individuals are called to speak truth into the lives of others through teaching and preaching while some may be called to a career of encouragement and healing in Christian counseling. In addition, some individuals are called to bring others to Christ and proclaim God’s glory and beauty through creative outlets such as worship leadership. Knowing the gifts God has given you will help guide you on your Christian ministry path.
Jesus came into this world in unusual circumstances for a king. He was born to Mary, a young girl, in a manger outside Bethlehem rather than into a palace or to the celebration you’d expect for a king. Such humble beginnings set the stage for how Jesus lived and served.
Throughout his life, Jesus demonstrated what it means to live in humility and to love others totally and completely. The words of Jesus in Mark 10 confirm that he came to serve rather than to be served. And as followers and disciples of Jesus, we are called to live as he did, serving others in all we do. It can be dangerous when we lose sight of his humble example and begin living for ourselves. However, when we keep Christ at the center of all we do, he will take care of us, guide us and sustain us.
Invest in Healthy Relationships
It is important to be involved in a Christian community that loves and supports you as you serve Christ. Finding a church family where you can serve and receive love from others provides the ideal climate for growing and maturing in ministry life. Accountability and mentoring relationships are also very important. Accountability partnerships help followers of Jesus to stay committed and disciplined in their Christian faith while mentors offer guidance, wisdom and perspective along the journey of life.
Pray for God to provide healthy relationships around you and begin to reach out to someone who displays godly maturity in order to develop a relationship with them. A mentor can pray for you, disciple you and provide support in difficult times. Ultimately, healthy relationships provide the context for making godly decisions and pursuing a life of ministry.
Some ministry careers can take you places you never imaged and into places that can seem intimidating or scary. While you may start with a certain plan in mind, God might surprise you in the ways he uses your life to be a testament to him. For this reason, it is important to trust in his plan and continue to look to him for the strength you need.
Listen to him, wait for him, rest in him, and remember that he is at work in all situations, even when you feel discouraged or confused. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Things won’t always look exactly the way we anticipate but there is joy and peace for each new day as we walk with Jesus along our path.
Types of Ministry Careers
There are many possible ministry careers to consider. If you do not know what to do with your career, take a moment to learn about these possible careers in ministry and begin to pray for God to guide you along the way. It can be helpful to approach established, experienced ministry workers to ask them about their career in order to ascertain whether it might be the right one for you.
One of the common roles in ministry is the role of a pastor. As a pastor, you are called to lead churches , teach Scripture and equip believers for fulfilling God’s calling for their lives. To strengthen and support these skills, it’s important to be able to communicate biblical views and sound doctrine clearly and compassionately in order to help Christians grow in their faith.
Some types of ministry paths focus on a specific demographic, such as youth or student ministries. A youth pastor shepherds and teaches children, teens and young adults about the Christian faith, discipling and mentoring along the way. Youth pastors may also develop and implement community outreach programs, lead Bible study groups and counsel troubled youth. Since youth pastors are in a position of authority and opportunity for the next generation, it is essential that they be individuals of great integrity and character.
Christian Camp Director
A Christian camp director is someone who plans, develops and implements camp programming, event themes, activities and educational initiatives. They are responsible for ensuring that biblical principles and values are embraced in all aspects of the camp as they oversee the daily operations of the camp — from finance to hiring to food service. An aspiring camp director should be discerning, organized, detail-oriented, creative and committed to promoting the health and well-being of campers and families served by the camp.
While every Christian seeks to engage their neighbors with the love of Christ, many are called to share God’s Word across cultural and geographical boundaries. Whether that be in a limited-access country with a small Christian population or in support of current Christian work with larger Christian communities, there are many opportunities to communicate God's Word to those desperately seeking it. Missionaries aim to obey God’s call in Matthew 28 to reach all people and nations with the story of redemption and forgiveness found in Jesus.
How To Lead a Christian Nonprofit
While you’re reflecting upon these possible ministry careers and considering which path might be right for you, it may be helpful to learn about how to lead a Christian nonprofit. First, launching a nonprofit ministry generally involves the following steps:
- Discerning a gospel-centered need
- Developing a biblically informed mission statement that meets that need
- Establishing a board of directors
- Filing articles of incorporation
- Developing ministry bylaws
- Applying for an EIN from the IRS
- Filing for tax-exempt status and registering for state tax-exempt status
- Opening a ministry bank account
The daily operations of a Christian nonprofit ministry can range from straightforward to highly complex, depending on the scale and focus. Operating a ministry may require any of the following tasks:
- Developing and implementing church and community outreach programs
- Recruiting, hiring, training and organizing staff and volunteers
- Leading Bible study groups or similar groups
- Planning and executing special events
- Developing ministry services
- Ensuring the health and safety of all who visit, worship or work at the ministry
In an effort to equip Christians with the knowledge and skills for a variety of ministry careers, Grand Canyon University’s College of Theology educates students to communicate the gospel effectively, serve the church faithfully and pursue various types of ministry paths with integrity. Complete the form on this page to explore GCU's ministry programs and to learn more about how Christian values influence everything we do.
Approved by the dean of the College of Theology on July 14, 2023
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.