When You’re Called to Ministry Later in Life: Six Questions

The call to vocational ministry later in life is both exciting and challenging. It is exciting to know God is preparing you for another path and, perhaps, another place. It’s challenging because of issues related to family, finances, and training.

We often receive questions at Church Answers from those going into vocational ministry for the first time in their 40s and 50s, and even in their 60s. As we try to guide them toward next steps, we ask them a series of questions. These are the six most common questions:

  1. Will you stay in your secular vocation for now? The answer to that question obviously has financial implications. But it also allows the minister to be a marketplace pastor, or worship leader, or executive pastor, or any other position.
  2. Is your family supportive of your moving in this direction? This question is one that is obviously important at any phase of life or decision-making. It has profound implications when you are older. The change is often dramatic and life-altering for the entire family.
  3. How will I train for ministry? Can you work in your current church in an internship or as a volunteer staff person? Will you go to seminary online? Are you and your family willing to relocate?
  4. Where do you see yourself in five years? Are you moving toward a full-time vocational position? Or are you called and content to be a marketplace minister?
  5. Where will you find opportunities to preach? This question, of course, is specifically directed toward those who sense God’s call to pastoral and/or preaching ministries. Where can you begin to fill a pulpit? Will it be in those situations where the pastor is out for a week or two? Or can you find an interim or part-time position at a smaller church in the area?
  6. Do you have a mentor? This question is extremely important. You need someone to guide you in this new phase of life. You need someone to ask you questions. You need someone to hold you accountable. Is there a pastor you know who would be happy to walk alongside you? If not, we have mentors at Church Answers who will be glad to walk with you in this journey.

It is an exciting time to be called into vocational ministry. It is an especially exciting time when it happens later in life. God has used older leaders and ministers for hundreds of years. He certainly can and will use you.

You have my prayers as you embark on this exciting journey.

Posted on January 30, 2019

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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  • Darna Bedwell says on

    Greetings –
    I know that I am called to the ministry. Although I am a 67 year old female, I feel the Lord has been preparing me all this time. Now it has become evident that it is the only next step I should take.

    I was very encouraged to come across your website that actually addresses those Called to Ministry late in life. Amazing how the Lord guides your steps when He knows you’re ready to answer His call. I personally feel that maturity is a prerequisite for acquiring the wisdom to lead others.

    I look forward to connecting with someone in your organization for counsel, mentoring and guidance. Thank you for being there.

  • William Shawn Lax says on

    I’m an older post vocational lay minister Bible student who is in search on a mentor as I enter this phase of my spiritual journey. Taking a leap of faith with this inquiry online.

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