This is a topic I hesitate to write about because I know very few will agree with me but I believe it is important. Everyone has basically come to accept that ordination by other people is a requirement for becoming a pastor. I honestly believe the answer is no, and I am going to try and explain why.
Now the reason people think you need to be ordained is because of several verses that can be interpreted that way. I don't believe these verses are saying exactly what people think they are. Common understanding is that the elders of a church have to basically approve of your becoming a pastor. With how it works right now no one will really respect you as a pastor unless this happens, but in reality they only have the power to confirm your call. God is the one who actually calls someone to be a pastor, just as he did with the prophets, apostles and everyone else. We all have a calling from God, no one else has to give us that calling for it to be legitimate. The only power really given to us is how to discern if someone is truly called or not. We know what to expect from a false teacher, therefore we can tell if someone is wrong when they say they are called to be a shepherd. We can also look at all the qualifications for a pastor and determine if someone fits all of those requirements. It is not up to the elders in the first place, a pastor can exist outside of the general church system, but we can all figure out if they are actually called or not.
One of the main reasons I decided this had to be the case is the simple fact that all throughout the bible, God called people to be prophets and kings. The people around them in just about every single case were against God's choice. This taught me one simple thing, we aren't really that reliable at determining these sorts of things. This is only confirmed when you think of how many women have been “ordained” as pastors, not to mention all the Joel Olsteens in the world. We are very good at allowing people that obviously aren't called to be pastors, to be pastors. This is a fact that just can't be ignored, there is just no chance that God would actually leave it up to us on something so important but that is how things are treated.
Another issue is the way we think of things. We like to believe that there is a church system like ours all across the world. The reality is different though, there are plenty of places where there isn't a group of elders to lay their hands on you. God can raise leaders anywhere because they are needed everywhere. Men are going to be called in and while we can confirm it, I don't believe that they need that confirmation to do what they are called to do. We have to remember that the entire world does not work the way we are used to. With that in mind, these types of things will always be easier to understand. It is also worth remembering the flaws of our system, people go to bible college and get to call themselves pastors. I guarantee you many of the people going to school for it are not called to be pastors, some turn out to not even be Christian.
The fact is God calls us to whatever our role in the church is, no one else gets to decide these things. All we have to do is everything in our power to be on the path that God has set for us to best serve him. We can't take any of that authority for ourselves, because it is all his. All we can do is confirm things based off of what God has told us in his word. Pastors are one of the most important roles because they are the leaders in the church, but even with them, it is still up to God. As long as they are preaching the truth and meet the standards that God has set for them we have no reason to stop them. I am confident there are many pastors out there that never fulfilled their calling because no one ever let them step up to their role and that is something we need to fix immediately.
For further studying reference: 1 Timothy 5:22, Acts 14:23, Acts 6:6, Acts 13:3, 1Timothy 4:14.
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