All Christians everywhere are called to love and serve God. We're given gifts, abilities and experiences that enable us to serve Him, one another and the wider community. Indeed the Baptist tradition holds dear “the priesthood of all believers", an individual and corporate responsibility for being involved in God's mission and ministries.
Some ministries are specifically mentioned in the Bible as being particularly significant for the health and growth of the church. In line with this, individuals may feel compelled to take on a certain role or responsibility. In some cases, individuals may feel God is asking them to offer themselves to full-time Christian ministry in a pastoral, evangelistic or youth work capacity.
The Baptist family recognises that God may call individuals to be “set apart" to minister on His behalf. There is a process in place which ensures such people are recognised, encouraged, fully trained and supported appropriately to enable and release them into ministry.
Getting involved in full time ministry needs to be more than just a good idea or career choice! Even if you have a passion to serve God you need to have a clear sense of call and this needs to be thoroughly tested by your local church and the wider Baptist family
Full time ministry is not an easy option, ask any existing pastor or minister! Though serving God in this way can be immensely fulfilling it is often a lonely path. There could be repercussions for family life for example; Manse life is often a bit of a “goldfish bowl” and then there is the possibility of relocating every few years. People often have higher expectations of those in ministry than others and there is still a residual sense of ministers being “on call” 24 hours a day!
The Living God calls every disciple to service and ministry. Some are called to a specific ministry of leadership, often those who feel inadequate for the task. If God has called you, He will equip you for this task. Listen to God, test the call you feel God has laid on your heart and life. Pray, believing that God always has your best interests at heart and will send the Holy Spirit to be with all concerned in the process of discernment.
Here are some of the qualities that are looked for in prospective ministers:
→ Clear evidence of a call to Baptist Ministry that originates from God
→ A personal maturity and deepening relationship with Christ
→ A clear sense that God’s purposes matter more than personal goals and aspirations
→ A proven ability and adequate humility to listen and learn
→ Tenacity and character in the face of disappointment and struggle
→ A sense of belonging to the Body of Christ in all its diversity
→ Clear evidence that others naturally trust and follow you
→ Measurable leadership potential
→ A growing ability to communicate
→ Fruits of ministry in the here and now
There are two key Baptist Union Resources to look at if you are considering Baptist Ministry, both of which you can download via the Baptists Together web site:
We have also produced a leaflet for anyone Thinking About Baptist Ministry
If you decide this is the route for you, you will also need to read the Ministerial Recognition rules
National Recognition as a Pastor, Pioneer or Preacher
We also offer training for Pastors (previously known as a Lay-Pastor), Preachers (Lay-Preacher) and Pioneers; please check out the Baptists Together page which details the processes and training involved.
Spurgeon’s College is the country's largest Baptist theological college and graduate school situated in South London and offers a wide range of courses - check out their website for more information on what they offer.