Counsel to Those Considering the Ministry

If you are going to last in the ministry you have to know that you are in the will of God being there. – Clint Leiter

What would be some helpful counsel to men who are considering entering into the ministry?

James: If you could go back in time to the first day of your ministry and speak to a young Clint Leiter, what would you tell him and most stress to him? Clint: I would say be certain of your calling. If you're going to last in the ministry, you've got to know that you are in the will of God being there. The Apostle Paul did that. I think I've counted six of his letters, he opened to different churches, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God." He keeps saying "by the will of God." And he might be saying that surely for the benefit of the Corinthians or the Colossians or whichever church that he's addressing, but surely he's reiterating that in his own mind. There is that confirmation in the mind of a pastor that is vitally important, and that is a calling. If you don't have that, you won't weather the storm - if you're not convinced. There's a stick-to-it-ness about a man when he knows that it's because of God that he's there. There have been numerous times, countless times when I've been able to pray to God and say in the midst of difficulties, "Lord, this was Your idea. I'm not here because I forced my way into this situation. You brought me here and it was confirmed by Your men all along the way. I'm here because You brought me here." That's helpful. That's necessary. So I would tell any young man that. You've got to be convinced of that. There's any number of other motivations that would cause someone to seek a pastoral ministry. I would counsel against it until that one right there has been settled, and that is, God wants you there. Someone has a romantic notion of what it is to stand in a pulpit and speak these words and have people fawning over your sermon, or maybe they're a very compassionate person and they just want to help people, or any number of things. Sooner or later, they're going to run head on into some opposition. The devil will see to it because every pastor is like a squirrel on a fence post. The devil is there to take a pot shot at it. And they won't last. You won't last in that office unless you're convinced of that one thing, that God called you and you're there for that reason. It was very comforting to me when Bob was in the process of dying, Conrad Murrell came and stayed in our home and we were sitting there talking and I was pouring out my heart and my fears to him. And he had a very prophetic, helpful, insightful word that was profound. He said, "Clint, you've got to remember you are God's responsibility." And that was very helpful. God is very much concerned about my longevity. He takes me seriously and my position. And I'm His responsibility. That's very helpful to remember. It's helpful to remember the temple of God which is the church according to the Corinthian letter. The temple of God - God takes very seriously - the church. If anyone destroys the church - the temple of God - him will God destroy. And so you can't cause problems that way without incurring the consequences of the wrath of God. So there is this whole idea, this whole notion, God has called a man. He's put him here with this local body. There might be situations where a man finds himself in places of ministry where he's put there from a pragmatic viewpoint. Here's a guy who's got qualifications. Here's a guy who's willing. Here's a need and a place and so we'll put him there and he'll serve there. And it might last for awhile. There might be a season where that's useful in a man's life building him for future usefulness in some other capacity. But that's over and against a man who knows God has called me to the ministry and He's put me in this church. And it's rather narrow maybe, but God has done that for me in some regard. I have as my focus this little church right here. And whatever else God might choose to use me in whatever capacity, it's not my calling. You know, David went in the Old Testament to the battlefront to take supplies to his brothers. The army was stationed over and against the Philistines. It was that occasion when Goliath was coming out and taunting the armies of Israel. And David's brother said to David, "who is back watching that little flock?" And those words have stuck in my mind ever since I read them. In other words, you need to be singular in your focus. God has called you to that church right there. Focus on that. Do that to the best of your ability and don't leave your post. There's a suffering that is very military-istic in the life of a pastor. Paul said to Timothy, "Suffer hardship with me as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." Soldiers, when they're trained, the special forces - they put them through hardship. There might be some that might be more courageous. There might be some that are better shots. But what they want is someone who's going to stick it out in the midst of the worst - absolute worst conditions. Suffer hardship with me as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. And so when we find ourselves in those situations, whether or not we leave our post is going to largely be dependent upon our conviction that God has put us there in that spot, in that place, for those people. And when we're certain about that, then we can stand our ground so to speak. You can select another part of this interview below, or if you're listening, you can find the rest of the interview on or our mobile app.