The kind of adventure Jesus has invited us on doesn’t require an application or prerequisites.
So 40/12, can I just call you 40?
40, what I should have said to you when you asked what it takes to become a preacher/pastor was something along these lines:
I love that you want to be a preacher, man. First and foremost. As far as how to become one? Well that is more simple than you realize.
Did you know you can start this very moment? You can.
Did you know you can start practicing now? You can.
Did you know that most of us didn’t come to know Christ because someone shoved the Good News message down our throats? Instead it comes naturally. It happens because of relationship. It happens because someone doesn’t try to change or fix you. It happens organically.
And just like life, it’s not perfect, it’s messy. You reach and teach through relationship. Not from a pulpit alone. Not on Sundays alone. In your everyday life.
You interact with people. Let your faith speak for you. You don’t always have to use words to speak. Your faith speaks for itself. And then people may ask. People will engage with you the more authentic, the more transparent you are. It’s truly beautiful.
Let each day be a training ground. Let each celebration and heartache be used. All of this will grow you. It will strengthen your character. Trust God’s Holy Spirit will do far more. Don’t rush it. Don’t be aggressive. Leave your scorecard at home. Leave your ulterior motives by the wayside. People recognize when they are being sold on something, they smell phoniness. All anyone really wants is someone who is willing to be real.
Yes, you may need schooling. Maybe even seminary. Maybe you will choose to go the route of a mentorship or be an apprentice.
You mentioned church politics. Don’t let the politics within the church disillusion or derail your faith. It’s not actually the Church – it’s the brokenness of the people which causes greed and politics and manipulation. Broken people: Just like me. Just like you.
Be gracious with them. Be gracious with everyone. After all it’s the people – the people in and out of the church building – they need encouragement and love and the freedom to mess up without condemnation. Love them. Serve them well.
Today, start living your dream. Begin at home. Begin with your friends and classmates. Live your faith boldly, quietly. Open your God eyes – you will see and reach people not to win them to Christ, but to invite them to live a different story. God will seek them out. It’s undeniable.
And one day, when and if you pursue being a pastor, you’ll be streets ahead because you recognize your congregation is people. And people just want real and honest. They want a pastor who admits flaws, struggles, mistakes, and failures.
They need someone who is on the journey to live a God story full of adventures, full of story. I need this. You need this. We all need the grand stumbling adventures of those ahead of us who said yes to God.
Anyway, 40, this is what I really wanted to say about you and becoming a preacher. Oh, and I love you very much.