How to become a Pastor

This article provides in-depth information into What is a Pastor? What Pastors do? Degrees for Pastor, Steps to become Pastor and much more.

A pastor is a spiritual leader of a group of people or congregation. He furthers the work of the church while leading others into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. To become a pastor, you can practice within a specific concentration, such as working with children, overseeing a ministry, or serving as a senior pastor. He follows the particular demands of his denomination or church tradition requires, including those of character, experience, and educational requirements. Pastors can be full-time, part-time, bi-vocational, or volunteer. 

What does a Pastor do ?

A pastor is expected to provide more than spiritual leadership; writing and giving sermons. Following are some of the pastor’s duties:

  • Oversee church committees, missions, and missionaries.

  • Perform baptisms, weddings, and funerals.

  • Provide marital, grief and psychological counseling.

  • Plan community outreach activities.

  • Conduct or arrange for Sunday school classes.

  • Conduct or arrange for adult religious instruction

  • Seek out new members for the congregation

  • Be available evenings and weekends as needed

  • Assisting in church financial matters

  • Overseeing management of all areas of the congregation's ministry

  • Supporting, overseeing and evaluating congregation staff

  • Holding regular staff meetings to coordinate ministries

  • Ensuring church facilities are functioning

  • Gives full support biblically to the Undesignated Budget of the church.

  • Adheres to the Church Bylaws and Policies and Procedures adopted by the church.

  • Maintains a vital and wholesome personal relationship with the Lord through daily Bible study and prayer.

Steps for becoming a Pastor


Be Dedicated

People perform best invocations that they are passionate about. Becoming a pastor means that you have absolute confidence in your faith and are ready to share it with the world. Becoming a pastor can be a lengthy and strenuous process. Seek spiritual guidance before making your decision. Always ask yourself the hard questions and never settle for complacency. Make sure that you have chosen the right path and dedicate yourself wholeheartedly.

Step 1 Be Dedicated


Earn A Bachelor's Degree

A career as a pastor begins with a 4-year degree. Be active in campus ministry. Colleges and universities may feature a campus ministry where students can worship and express their faith. Leading Bible study groups or helping within the community may be beneficial both spiritually and for graduate programs. Pastor's education requirements emphasize on education, training, and skills necessary for this profession.

Step 2  Earn a Bachelor's Degree


Gain Experience

Pastors may begin their career as associate pastors. They'll work under the supervision of a senior pastor at the church. While associate pastors may lead spiritual groups and be available for counseling during the week, they may conduct readings during services and perform sermons periodically.

Step 3 Gain Experience


Complete A Master's Degree

After the completion of a bachelor's degree, pastoral students typically begin their graduate coursework at a seminary or School of Divinity. While all pastors study the Christian faith, additional courses based on the denomination of study may be offered. Most seminaries offer an apprenticeship-like program included in the master's program that allows pastoral students to observe and practice their developing skills with an ordained pastor.

Step 4 Complete a Master's Degree


Look For Senior Pastor Opportunities

Depending on pastors' goals or the needs of a denomination, pastors may spend only a short time serving one congregation or serve one for many years. Typically, pastors are notified of job openings through postings from the denominational governing organization.

Step 5 Look for Senior Pastor Opportunities

Pastor Salaries


Pastor Degree Levels


Popular majors for students who wish to pursue a career in religious leadership include Bible or pastoral studies, theology and ministry. Some programs offer bachelor's degrees in specific ministerial areas, such as pastoral studies. Courses in the program cover topics in the Old and New Testament, theology, ethics, pastoral studies, and sociology.

  • The Nature and Method of Theology

  • The Foundation of Theology

  • Scripture

  • Articulate and defend the essential theological doctrines

  • Compare and contrast the Christian worldview

  • Integrate theological doctrines with contemporary issues

Christian Ministry
  • A Definition of Spiritual Leadership

  • Licensing & Ordination

  • The Spiritual Disciplines

  • Construct a personal philosophy for ministry

  • Articulate a basic understanding of the nature of ministry

  • Integrate biblical and philosophical foundations with the practices of ministry

Mission and message of jesus
  • Jesus (and the Gospels)

  • Mark’s Story of Jesus

  • Jerusalem and Rome

  • Read biblical texts closely and critically

  • Identify the distinctive literary and theological themes

  • Comprehend the aims and strategies of Jesus’ renewal movement


Aspiring pastors may follow a degree plan for a Master of Divinity (M.Div.). The M.Div is an academic, professional degree that combines the study of a number of disciplines important for a pastor to learn. The M.Div. the program lasts 3 to 4 years depending on the number of courses taken each semester. Courses are strictly focused on religious practices, Bible study, and congregational leadership.

Biblical studies
  • Introduction to the Greek Language

  • Introduction to the Canon of Scripture

  • Introduction to the Hebrew Language

  • Locate key terms necessary for biblical studies

  • Identify and define facts about the revelation of the Scriptures

  • Learn some basic facts about Greek grammar

Biblical languages
  • Intro to Koine Greek

  • The Greek Verb and Participle

  • Intro to Hebrew

  • To recount a basic history of Classical Hebrew and Koine Greek

  • To recognize and pronounce biblical Hebrew and Greek words

  • A basic knowledge of English grammar as preparation for understanding biblical Greek and Hebrew

Pastoral care
  • Integration Model for Counseling

  • Pastor as Minor Poet

  • Strategic Pastoral Counseling Resources

  • Learn general counseling principles

  • Practice basic counseling skills

  • Explore personal life issues that may influence counselor effectiveness