Every believer is called to share the good news of Jesus with others (Matthew 28:18-20). However, some are called to serve as pastors and to preach the Word of God to a group of people (local church congregation) on an ongoing basis. What does the Bible teach about knowing whether you are called to preach? We can gain several helpful insights from Paul's letters to Timothy.
Am I being called to preach?
First Timothy 3:1 states, "If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task." In other words, being a pastor and preaching the Word of God is noble. Also, the person who is called to preach will have an internal passion or desire for preaching God's Word.
God gives some believers a gifting or special ability to teach and preach. First Timothy 3:1-7 gives requirements for a pastor (or "overseer"). Verse 2 includes the requirement of being "able to teach." A person must have a desire and the ability to preach. This ability will certainly develop with time and practice, but one indicator of whether a person is called to preach is that people respond positively to a person's preaching.
Aside from having the desire and ability to preach, there are a few questions to ask oneself that may indicate a call to preach.
Is God providing opportunities to preach? One way God answers our prayers is to intervene through our circumstances. If God is opening opportunities to preach, especially on an ongoing basis, then it may be a confirmation of His calling for a person as a preacher.
Is your life above reproach? A pastor/elder is a person who must be above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2). If a person's life is not growing in spiritual maturity, then preaching will not fit. In other words, speaking the Word of God is inconsistent for someone who is not living out the Word of God.
Are you willing to speak out even when it is inconvenient or costly? Second Timothy 4:1-2 records Paul charging Timothy: "I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching." The one called to preach must be committed to doing so during both easy and difficult times.
God's Word offers many principles to assist in answering the question, "Am I called to preach?" Further, much prayer must be involved, both personally and in community with other believers, to help discern both God's will and His timing regarding the call to follow the Lord as one who preaches.
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