How to Become a Pastor: 11 Steps (with Pictures)

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How to Become a Pastor: 11 Steps (with Pictures)
How to Become a Pastor: 11 Steps (with Pictures)

The requirements for becoming a pastor vary by church and denomination in question. In most cases, pastors must complete high school, seminary training, and, in some cases, certain additional professional rites before being ordained.


Become a Pastor Step 1

Step 1. Decide what kind of pastor you want to be

Established traditional creeds generally require higher education in religious studies and training in theology. There are newer churches, however, that do not have such strict requirements for the ordination of a pastor (Catholic clergy require seminary attendance).

Become a Pastor Step 2

Step 2. Pray for this

People act best in what they have a vocation and in what they believe. Becoming a pastor implies having absolute confidence in your faith; through an involving and extensive process. Seek spiritual guidance before making your decision. Ask yourself the following tough questions:

  • Why do I want to become a pastor?
  • Do I feel a strong desire for this job?
  • Do I strongly yearn to share God's word?
  • Do I feel love and compassion for all people?
  • Do I feel, deep in my heart, that God wants me to take up this vocation?
Become a Pastor Step 3

Step 3. Schedule a meeting with a member of the pastoral training sector at the headquarters of the church denomination in which you hope to begin your career as a pastor

Discuss all the requirements of that denomination.

Step 4. Ask a representative of that denomination you would like to lead what their duties and responsibilities are

A pastor is expected to provide more than spiritual leadership; writing and delivering sermons is also a small part of a pastor's job. Ask what is work-related. You can be expected to perform all or part of the following tasks:

  • Oversee church committees, missions, and missionaries.

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  • Perform baptisms, weddings and funerals.

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  • Provision counseling on psychological, marital and grief issues.

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  • Plan community outreach activities.

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  • Conduct or organize studies in Sunday schools.

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  • Provide or organize religious instruction for adults.

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  • Search for new members for the congregation.

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  • Be available during the night shift or on weekends as needed.
Become a Pastor Step 5

Step 5. Look for a seminar

Research seminaries that have excellent religious studies programs. Look for the specialization in the field of theology that interests you most.

Step 6. Prepare for ordering

Once you have completed all of your formal studies, you will need to prepare to be ordained, usually by your local congregation. Preparing for ordering usually involves:

  • Study church doctrine.

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  • Understand how doctrinal issues relate to scripture.

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  • Respond orally to the Ordinary Council (this may last for several hours).

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Become a Pastor Step 7

Step 7. Wait for the congregation's response

If the council recommends you for ordination, the leaders of your congregation in the church must vote to ordain you or not. If you are successful, you will be ordained during a special service at your church.

Become a Pastor Step 8

Step 8. Apply for a job as a pastor

Once you have been ordained, you can begin to seek a position as a pastor.

  • Look for church opening notices posted by your seminary.

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  • Ask your instructors for recommendations.

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  • Contact your ministry headquarters to see if they have a list of job openings in your desired role.

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  • Search the Internet.

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Become a Pastor Step 9

Step 9. Schedule interviews with the religious authorities who respond to your application for a vacancy

In some cases, you will meet with a church council or board of directors. You may also be asked to deliver a sermon to the flock.

Become a Pastor Step 10

Step 10. Prepare to be evaluated

Some congregations are quite engaged in choosing a new pastor; you may even be asked to open a question-and-answer space with the congregation, in addition to examination by the church council. If you pass, you will be “called” (hired) to become the pastor of that congregation.

Become a Pastor Step 11

Step 11. Negotiate your salary

Be sure to negotiate all terms of your employment as well as housing issues.


A pastor has to use a range of skills. Gain vocational experience and knowledge while attending seminary by engaging in humanitarian work: volunteering at orphanages, community soup kitchens and other collective evangelism activities


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