Qualifications for ministers

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Speedpass, Dec 30, 2005.

  1. Speedpass

    Speedpass
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    I got married six months ago, and my wife and I are members of an ultra-conservative Southern Baptist church in Mississippi. For years I have resisted God's call upon my life to vocational Christian ministry, and am now taking steps to rededicate myself to this. Before Christmas I talked to the associate pastor of our church; and he gave me some pretty disheartening news. Because my wife was married before she met me, and she claims her first marriage ended because her first husband was being abusive toward her, this associate pastor told me that I would have a difficult, though not impossible, task of finding a church because of the issue of my wife being previously married--even though the divorce was not her fault. In fact she thinks that her ex-husband is now deceased because she says he had some brain tumor when they were married. Does this mean that I should give up trying to minister in an SBC church?
     
  2. gb93433

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    That will depend on where you live and what denomination you go with.

    Today many churches are closing. Only about 1/3 of the churches in the US are growing. If you get a church it is likely you will get a dying church that needs to be rebuilt and set on fire. In the SBC after five years out of seminary about 20% of the pastors are still pastoring. After about ten years it is almost zero. The average tenure of an SBC pastor is about two years in a church.
     
  3. Major B

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    If you were divorced and remarried, it would be a slam dunk for most churches to NOT ordain you, regardless of grounds or who was "at fault," since the qualifications in 1 Tim and Titus say that the bishop/pastor/elder (synonymous terms) must be a "man of the one-woman kind." [I am aware that there are counter arguments, but this is my understanding of the relevant passages.] In the case of your wife only being divorced, there are no clear scriptural guidelines.

    If her ex husband is still alive, it depends on where you are and what kind of church in which you desire to minister. If he is dead, the question is moot.

    Liberal SBC churches would have no problem ordaining you--or for that matter, women deacons and pastors.

    Most conservative SBC churches would not ordain you.

    And, we are only talking about pastoral ministry. There are lots of ways to minister without pastoring.
     
  4. Brother Ian

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    I agree with Major B that there are numerous ways to minister to God's church without being a pastor.

    Many SBC churches expect your wife to have the same qualifications regarding marriage as you are supposed to have and therefore will disqualify you for the pastorate.
     
  5. webdog

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    All believers are called to "minister", that's why we all have spiritual gifts. This is not the same thing as pastoring, which is a spiritual gift.
     
  6. Hope of Glory

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    If you're being called to do so, then you should do so. God won't contradict himself. There are many churches who look at what the Scriptures say in the original languages that will ordain you. There are also many that won't.
     
  7. El_Guero

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    I would say work it out. However, be aware that many believers do consider divorce to be an issue.

    And there are many areas you can minister in without being a "senior pastor".
     
  8. guitarpreacher

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    Speedpass,

    I was married and divorced before I was saved. Over the past 20 years I have served as an associate pastor (mostly youth and music), have been ordained and am now lead pastor in an SBC church plant. Do what God has called/is calling you to do and don't be discouraged.
     
  9. Phillip

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    If God really calls you (aas guitarpreacher says), then you WILL have the opportunity to do what you are truly called for. If you think about it, this gives you an extra opportunity to determine if this is REALLY what God is calling you to do, or whether you just might "think" he is calling you because down deep inside you want to do it. (Does all of that make sense---probably not. Oh well......)
     
  10. jshurley04

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    Are they hiring your wife for a pastoral position? If not then all anyone needs to be concerned about is your qualifications and not those of your wife. Only the wife of a deacon has a qualification associated with it. Go with your calling and do not be discouraged, there is enough of that out there from the pastors and churches that will use and abuse you.
     
  11. TaterTot

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    If He has called you, He has a place for you.
     
  12. standingfirminChrist

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    jshurley04 said that only deacons wives have qualifications. Let's see what the Bible says:

    1 Timothy 3:11 Even so [must their] wives [be] grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.

    Now, although this falls in between the verses that tell the qualifications of a deacon, I believe this applies to any wives of clergy, whether deacon, pastor, elder, or bishop.

    If the above verse did not apply to the bishop, pastor, elder's wives, then they could be silly, slandering, drunken, unfaithful and the bishop, pastor, elder could still attend to church matters.

    The Bible teaches
    1 Timothy 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

    This verse alone tells us that the pastor's wife is to be in submission to her husband.

    One cannot rule a church, leading it, unless he is able to rule his home.
     
  13. Dr. Bob

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    An elder must be "above reproach". If you are, then go for serving God in that capacity.

    If not, then serve in other areas.
     
  14. El_Guero

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    Speedpass,

    After rethinking my post (and yours), I ask: didn't anyone discuss your wife being divorced during pre-marital counseling?
     
  15. standingfirminChrist

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    Amen, Dr. Bob!

    Above reproach also means that man will be judged by others by how not only he acts, but how his wife and children act.
     
  16. buckster75

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    Dr. Bob could you elaborate on how you define above reproach, pls?
     
  17. BCF Jeff

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    Each Baptist church sets it standards for its pastor upon it interpitation of 1 Tim 3. Your wife's devorce will no doubt be an issue for some churches. However, if you and your wife living righteously now and are faithful to the Lord and one another now this will not prevent you from serving at many fine conservative SBC churches, however, your resume will be automatically dismissed by others for the past.

    (It is a shame that Christ's army often shots it wounded.)
     
  18. Hope of Glory

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    It's not always only the wounded they shoot...
     
  19. LeBuick

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    Find out if the guy is dead or not. It may end all the debate if he died before you married.
     
  20. Mexdeaf

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    If he is not dead, you could always have him killed. Murder is more 'forgiveable' than divorce in most churches.

    (I trust you all will understand I am speaking TIC here.)
     

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