Hello guys. I need your prayers. I think God is calling me. We are without a Pastor at this time and I had to preach my first funeral 2 weeks ago because nobody could be found on such short notice. I knew what to do since, unfortunately, I've buried so many family members, it ain't funny. I am presently the chairman of deacons for this year. I've had other ministers tell me privately that they think God is calling me. It takes one to know one. Even my childhood youthminister told me that he always knew that I'd end up behind the pulpit some day. I'm really scared to admit that I think He is in some way calling me to step up. Oh sure: God calls ALL His children to ministry, but God has given me some gifts that I must excercise or I'll continue to be miserable in my life. In any case: we had a deacon's meeting 2 weeks ago. I told them that I think God is doing something in my life. He's even doing something in my wife's life! And I told them that a few days back, I was asked to preach a funeral with 24 hours notice. The long/short is this: they deacons and our associational missionary told me to pray about it and to consider, for now, to a minister license like this: http://www.cobaptist.org/ministers licensing.htm They explained to me that it would not make me an ordained minister, but that it was the Church's way of putting their trust and "seal of approval" on the gifts that God has given me. They said that it was really an endorsement of my preaching (I have had to step up to the pulpit since we're between pastors) and doing funerals and to be able to marry people should the need arise. They've licensed some other men in the past and one man in particular went on to be ordained and has a wonderful ministry of reaching the biker crowd. So I'm asking for your prayers. Maybe God wants me to be a lay preacher. Maybe God wants for me to minister to our local body just until we get a new pastor. Maybe God has put me in my line of work to get me ready for Pastoral ministries. Seriously, I work in customer service and I have to listen to all kinds of folks and I get yelled at a lot for stuff other folks do. I'm sorry to ramble like an idiot. But you guys that are Ordained mininsters have all been where I am right now. Practically speaking: where should I further my Biblical studies? I have DSL and I can take some courses online. I have a bachelor's in Sociology. Spiritually speaking, what do I need to do? Yes, prayer and Bible study. But what did you guys do? How did God let you know that HE was calling you?