Checklist Before Entering the Ministry
By: Brent High

The following is a summary of that checklist I think would valuable to anyone looking to take a full-time ministry position. It may also help those currently in full-time positions.

1. Make sure your spouse is 100% behind your decision to enter the ministry full-time. Remember - God called you to be married before he called you to be a "minister."

2. You don't have to be a "minister" to minister. Some of the greatest ministers are volunteers. In many cases you can do more in a volunteer role than any paid minister could ever dream of doing.

3. Evaluate your current position. Is God using you to minister where you currently are? Have you let Him use you in a non-paid position before you tackle the challenges of full-time paid ministry?

4. Ask questions. Lots of them. When interviewing, don't be afraid to ask the tough questions. Ask how the leadership will deal with major issues when they come up. Find out during the interviewing process or you may be forced to deal with them later.

5. Find out what your budget will be. Many times the budget amount is an indication of the level of commitment a congregation has to a certain ministry. Find out who's in control of that budget.

6. Ask about an office, a computer, a desk - anything you think you will need to carry out your ministry effectively. Will the church provide these things?

7. DON'T TRY TO MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY. You will fail. Especially in larger congregations, no matter how hard you try there will ALWAYS be someone who doesn't necessarily like you or the way you do things. Don't let them get you down! The devil is using those people to discourage you. Recognize his schemes.

8. Spend time with positive people. Meet with them regularly to pray and share. A minister can spend much of his time at funeral homes, in hospitals, counseling broken marriages and cleaning up messes. The depression can be contagious.

9. Allocate family time in advance. Plan at least one night a week where you are with your family. Turn off the ringer on your phone. Turn off your pager and cell phone. Spend quality, undistracted time with the people who love you the most.

10. Don't be afraid to say "no". There is only so much a human can do. Over-commitment kills quickly.

11. Don't forget your friends. They will support you, encourage you and keep you accountable. They are often put at the bottom of the priority list.

12. Why are you getting into the ministry? Ask yourself. If it's to have a job, you're getting into the wrong profession. Do you really feel God can use you to make a bigger difference in the lives of people in a full-time position? If so, great. If not, look for the ways God wants to use you right where you are.

13. BE PATIENT. I think many times ministers are unhappy and leave because their focus was getting a job and not actively asking where God wanted them to go. God has a plan. Don't put a timetable on Him.

14. NEVER COMPROMISE WHO YOU ARE OR WHAT YOU BELIEVE. When someone makes a statement you disagree with, let them know you disagree and why. Don't be a chameleon that tries to blend in with everyone and every situation.

Hopefully this checklist will help others as they search for God's perfect and pleasing will in their lives.