A student from my last ministry asked me this question the other day, and after speaking with him, I feel compelled to answer this for any considering this venture and to strengthen those of us in it.
Q: How do I know if I’m called to a life in ministry?
A: You know deep down in the pit of your soul that you will be unfulfilled and unhappy in doing anything else. You may be enticed by the potential to earn a better living, to leave your job at your workplace at 5pm, and you may even appreciate the values and vision of the vocational opportunity you see in front of you. BUT, you know that you would be unfulfilled.
If you can be a coach and be content, go coach. If it’s the medical field, or the legal field, go. But, if you know that God has called you to serve him in vocational ministry – you can’t get excited about anything else. It won’t “taste” right in your mouth. Something will be missing. So seek God, ask God, pray and pray more. Do not get up until he gives you permission or calling.
And just as a good friend of mine once told me, “If you can leave the ministry, you’d better do it because that’s apparently not what God has called you to. But you’d better be sure. If you are called to this [ministry], then you and I know that you’re walking away from God.”