"In every era of the world's history, God has chosen, at the right moment, servants to whom he has declared: "You are my witnesses". Each generation has seen, in fact, consecrated persons receive light from above and communicate to their contemporaries the message from heaven. Enoch, Noah, Moses, Daniel, the patriarchs and the prophets were all ministers of divine justice. They were not infallible, but weak and prone to error; yet the Lord accepted the gift they had given of themselves by placing themselves at his service. [...] It is up to them to make the sweet atmosphere of Christ's love reign in the Church. [They are only instruments in the hands of God and their entire work is the work of his power. [... They will do the works of Jesus, if they look to him as he looked to his Father, and, if they lean firmly on him, they will also shine with all his brightness" (Ellen White, The Gospel Ministry, p. 12).
To question the vocation and possibility of becoming a pastor is often to ask what God's will is. Without focusing exclusively on the possibility of becoming a pastor, this article written by Gabriel Monet, "Discerning God's Will", may be of help to you.
As part of Union Sabbath 2018, a team of theologians and pastors share their reflections on pastoral vocation.
During the Adventist Youth Congress in Dijon in 2017, a short, spontaneous and lively clip was filmed in which some pastors testified, "I love my ministry!"
"To be a pastor is to be, to the best of our ability, where we are needed, even in the most unexpected situations. It is to believe that if God has called us to this particular vocation, it is because we can do good to those who are alone. Because we can teach and speak of his love to those who doubt it. To be a pastor, for me, is also to be true with my flaws and cracks, but witnessing that the Lord is helping me to repair them little by little, each day a little more.
It is not always easy to respond to God's call to the pastorate. It is not the most highly regarded profession in our society, nor the one that pays the best. It is a great number of hours of service and sometimes inextricable situations that make us suffer. But all of this is nothing compared to the privilege of serving God, of seeing the fruits of His love in the lives of the people around us."
"To be a pastor today is to be there for those who need a little push to move forward with God. It's being there for a mother who has trouble with her children... It's being there for that couple who forgot that they really love each other. To be a pastor is also to manage conflicts between adults so that they learn to listen to each other and to the suffering they have generated in the other. It is to remind people that the essential thing is to love. To love beyond the church manual, to love like Jesus. It is to put the human being first...
Being a pastor is a beautiful job. Five weeks of paid leave per year, a small salary and significant benefits. Church members that you sometimes want to run away from, committees where you go in circles from time to time, but a God who laughs with you when you tell him about it. A God who never lets problems fall on you fully. Yes, it's a beautiful job when you see the joy on the face of the person you're dipping in the waters of the river or the baptistery. It is beautiful when you see that couple say "I do" and that you meet them a few years later with a little one in your arms and still the same fervor to love each other. It's beautiful when that husband or wife or son or daughter tells you thank you for being there and so involved in this painful ordeal that is the end of life."
"I am a pastor and happy to be one. I try to live the ministry with simplicity but also with a lot of rigor for myself, always making sure to offer a quality service.
This job seems to me to be really out of the ordinary as it covers a large field of possibilities of actions with those around us. I also understand this work as a mission of accompaniment of some and others; either in an experience of faith that is already mature and then, it is a question for me of forming, teaching and assuming an edifying leadership for the ecclesial community; or in a journey of discovery of the God of the Bible through the study of the Scriptures, leading if necessary to a baptismal commitment. [The management of human relations in the communities is another important challenge because they are often sources of tension and sometimes of conflict to be defused with tact and gentleness as Christ could do.
Finally and in spite of everything, I can say that this profession is fully fulfilling for me, never routine and often gratifying. I encourage all those who have this conviction of the Lord's call to dare to take the step of pastoral training. This first step can be the most difficult because it is clearly necessary to "let go" in order to advance in an adventure that is worth living. Thus guided, trained and equipped by the one who has called you, you will then be ready to live a ministry useful to the Church and ultimately to society as a whole. "
One day I said to myself, "I would so love to have an in-depth Bible course and serve God full time! That first thought, that little spark, marked the beginning of a desire that only grew until it became a conviction! An easy decision? No, far from it. [Many people discouraged me, but I took the step of faith and left to study at Collonges. At the beginning it was not easy, there were ups and downs, but everything was very constructive for me!
Today I live my ministry with joy. It is a beautiful and very gratifying job. It is the joy of sharing and service! When I preach, when I give Bible studies or during visits, I share my faith; I share with others what God has put in my heart. As the Bible says: "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).
I encourage those, young and old, who have had a spark of thought that pushes them to become a pastor, to put it in God's hands. If that spark becomes a conviction, then don't hesitate to become part of this beautiful ministry! There may be many obstacles, but they are there to be overcome!
ARRAIS Jonas, Recherche un bon pasteur, Madrid, Safeliz, 2014.
BURRIL Russell, Recovering an Adventist Approach to the Life and Mission of the Local Church, Fallbrook, Hart Books, 1998
CASSIMY Steve, JULES Abraham, SATELMAJER Nikolaus, Effective Pastoral Ministry, Oshawa, Pacific Press, 2009.
CRESS James, Common Sense Ministry Multiplied, Oshawa, Pacific Press, 2010.
DE CONINCK Frédéric, La vocation. L’appel de Dieu, jour après jour, Lyon, Olivétan, 2009.
FARMER Jeanne, Le ministère pastoral, Paris, Empreinte Temps présent, 2006.
FOWLER John, Adventist Pastoral Ministry, Oshawa, Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1990.
MONET Gabriel, « A monde qui change, nouveau modèle pastoral ? Pour une approche missionnelle des ministères », Perspectives missionnaires 71 (2016), p. 30-48.
NOCANDY Louise, Pour un ministère réussi, Abymes, Alizés Editions, 2008.
PICON Raphaël, Ré-enchanter le ministère pastoral. Fonctions et tensions du ministère pastoral, Lyon, Olivétan, 2007.
THEOBALD Christoph, Vous avez dit vocation ?, Parus, Bayard, 2010.
TIDBALL Derek, Conduire et construire. Images bibliques du ministère pastoral, Charols, Excelsis, 1999.
WHITE Ellen, Le ministère évangélique, Dammarie-Lès-Lys, Vie et Santé, 2000.