A Pastor’s First Conversation with a Student God may be Calling – Walter Norvell

September 5, 2017

When Someone Feels Called to Ministry

Jesus encouraged us to pray for workers in the harvest (Mt. 9:37-38). So we pray for future leaders to answer God’s call to ministry. Some of those will sense that God is calling them into vocational ministry leadership, which can take many forms: pastors, age-group ministers, worship leaders, missionaries, Christian educators, and discipleship ministers, to name a few. So, you may likely hear some young person say, “God may be calling me into ministry leadership.” Here are some helpful suggestions when you talk to that young person for the very first time.

  • “Tell me more.”
  • “What are you thinking about ministry?”
  • “Why do you feel called into vocational ministry?
  • “That is very exciting. Would you like to talk more about this?”
  • “When did you first sense that God was speaking to you?”
  • “Have you talked to anyone about this? Who? What did they say to you?”

When you have the opportunity to meet with this young person, here are some opening questions you might use to start a conversation about God’s call in his or her life. Remember, at this point, you want to listen deeply and find ways to help him or her explore the call.

  • “Please share with me about this call you are sensing.”
  • “Why do you think you are experiencing this call?
  • “What does this mean to you?”
  • “Tell me what you think ministry (or pastoring, youth ministry, missions, etc.) means?”
  • “If you answer this call from God with a ‘Yes,’ what changes may need to come in your immediate future? In your distance future?”
  • “What do you understand from the Bible about ministry leadership?”
  • “What have you experienced that confirms you call?”
  • “What aspects of ministry have you already experienced? (mission trip, leading a study group, etc.)
  • “What parts of ministry do you think may be easier for you?”
  • “What parts of ministry to you think may be harder for you?”
  • “What educational plans do you think a call to ministry may include?”
  • “How can I help you learn more about your calling?”
  • “How can I pray for you?”
  • “What next steps do you want to take?”

Help this young person by showing him or her the ABSC Explore the Call website at https://explorecall.wpengine.com/.

You can help this young person explore his or her call with some simple, ongoing steps:

  1. Provide encouragement and support.
  2. Provide information and relationships through https://explorecall.wpengine.com.
  3. Help your church affirm this young person.
  4. Surround this young person with caring, encouraging adults.
  5. Offer this young person opportunities to test the waters of ministry.
  6. Pray for this young person daily.

Realize that God is bringing you into a golden opportunity to see Him equip a young person to lead in ministry expansion. Seize the moment!


Walter Norvell wrote this article. He is an associate professor of Christian Ministries at Williams Baptist College where he disciples and trains young people for ministry. He also blogs about small groups at www.WalterNorvell.com.


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