The Path to Being a Pastor: A Guide for the Aspiring

By Bobby Jamieson

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A man who’s been transformed by Christ and desires to preach the gospel might say he feels called to be a pastor.

This personal conviction, while heartfelt, doesn’t acknowledge important, challenging steps necessary to be a qualified leader. So where should full-time ministry begin?

In The Path to Being a Pastor, Bobby Jamieson explains why it’s better to emphasize “aspiration” over “calling” as men pursue the office of elder and encourages readers to make sure they are pastorally gifted before considering the role. He shares from his own eleven-year experience preparing to be a pastor by walking potential leaders through different stages of ministry training, from practical steps—such as cultivating godly ambition and leadership, observing healthy churches, and mastering Scripture—to personal advice on building a strong family and succeeding in seminary. Emphasizing the importance of prayer, godly counsel, and immersion in the local church, Jamieson encourages men to ask Am I qualified? instead of Am I called? when considering a life in ministry.

Read Chapter 1


Bobby Jamieson

Bobby Jamieson (PhD, University of Cambridge) serves as an associate pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. He previously served as assistant editor for 9Marks. Jamieson and his wife have four children.

Product Details

Category: Church Ministry
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 192
Size: 5.25 in x 8.0 in
Weight: 7.6 ounces
ISBN-10: 1-4335-7665-1
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-7665-2
ISBN-UPC: 9781433576652
Case Quantity: 48
Published: August 17, 2021

Table of Contents


Part 1: Finding the Path
Chapter 1: Say “I Aspire,” Not “I’m Called”
Chapter 2: Aspire Humbly
Chapter 3: Seek Wisdom
Chapter 4: Make the Biblical Qualifications Your Compass

Part 2: Walking the Path
Chapter 5: Learn to Pastor from Faithful Pastors and Healthy Churches
Chapter 6: Start Setting an Example
Chapter 7: Elder Before You Elder
Chapter 8: Want to Be a Leader? Then Lead Something
Chapter 9: Master and Be Mastered by Scripture
Chapter 10: Take Every Teaching Opportunity You Can Get
Chapter 11: Pinch Hit
Chapter 12: Apprentice in the Craft of Preaching
Chapter 13: Read for Life
Chapter 14: Give Yourself to Prayer
Chapter 15: Banish Pornography
Chapter 16: Marry Wisely
Chapter 17: Lay down Your Life for Your Wife
Chapter 18: Pastor Your Children
Chapter 19: Study God’s Blueprints for the Church
Chapter 20: Serve Outside the Spotlight
Chapter 21: If You Can, Make the Most of Seminary
Chapter 22: Improve Your Trials
Chapter 23: Filter

Part 3: Approaching the Destination
Chapter 24: Slay and Resurrect Ambition
Chapter 25: Be Careful Who You Work For
Chapter 26: Candidate Candidly
Chapter 27: Cherish Christ

General Index
Scripture Index


“Bobby Jamieson’s The Path to Being a Pastor helpfully reframes and normalizes the experience of becoming a pastor, and the process of decision-making surrounding it. For those wrestling with whether to pursue the pastorate, The Path to Being a Pastor will be both an encouraging and thought-provoking read, and will give them biblical, practical, and edifying steps for how to move forward. Give this excellent book both to aspiring pastors and to current pastors who seek to encourage them.”
Gavin Ortlund, President, Truth Unites; Theologian-in-Residence, Immanuel Church, Nashville, Tennessee

“This is a gold mine of pastoral wisdom filled with answers to questions we all ask, as well as answers to questions we should ask. I have been a pastor for fifteen years and I learned something in every chapter. If you are considering pastoral ministry, this book is a gift to you.”
Andrew Wilson, Teaching Pastor, King’s Church London

“This clear-thinking and realistic book covers all the essential matters that a man considering pastoral ministry ought to ponder. I appreciated not only the biblical comprehensiveness but also the very practical rootedness in the actual life of churches. This will be an accessible and useful resource for a man to work through slowly, perhaps with his wife and a group of trusted friends. Jamieson is a sure-footed, measured, and well-informed guide.”
Christopher Ash, Writer in Residence, Tyndale House, Cambridge

“Bobby Jamieson is a gift to the church, as is The Path to Being a Pastor. I heartily recommend this book for all who are contemplating a life of ministry service and for seasoned ministers who are shepherding along these conversations.”
Jason K. Allen, President, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Spurgeon College

“Bobby Jamieson writes with wisdom beyond his years as he tackles some of the most pressing questions men wrestle with as they consider becoming an elder. He is careful to distinguish between revealed truth and matters of prudence, which makes this book a unique gift in the field, reaching beyond typical cultural limitations. I cannot wait to get this into the hands of prospective elders here in Canada. Written from a humble and generous heart, The Path to Being a Pastor fills an important void in the current literature. I am so thankful he took the time to write it.”
Paul Martin, Senior Pastor, Grace Fellowship Church, Toronto, Canada

“For most young men, the path to being a pastor is simply to go to seminary and then try to get hired. I can only imagine how much good it will do for many pastors and churches if they would carefully consider what Bobby Jamison lays out as 'the path to being a pastor.' This book will challenge and stretch you, and at times might overwhelm you. But most certainly, it will be a great help for those who aspire to be pastors.”
Matthias G. Lohmann, Pastor, FEG Munich, Germany; Chairman, Evangelium21

“This is a biblically accurate, very insightful, and practical book. In essence, it is a road map for becoming a faithful, fruitful, and blessed shepherd. It will also be a good tool in the training of new ministers.”
Yevgeny Bakhmutsky, Pastor, Russian Bible Church, Moscow, Russia

“This is a helpful book, not just for those who are aspiring to be in pastoral ministry but also for those who are involved in the ministry of training young men aspiring to be in ministry. Thank you for demystifying the 'call to ministry,' which certainly plagues the churches in my part of the world and inevitably leads to many unbiblical misconceptions about pastoral ministry and ends up hurting the church in the process. In spite of many Western cultural references, it will serve the church in the East well to help prepare workers for ministry. I know that I will be using this book a lot!”
Hezekiah Harshit Singh, Pastor, Satya Vachan Church, Lucknow, India

“Biblically sound, pastorally wise, and pointedly practical, The Path to Being a Pastor is eminently helpful for both would-be pastors and pastors alike. This will be at the top of my list of recommended books for anyone aspiring to pastoral ministry. It will also be required reading for all the interns at my church!”
Eugene Low, Lead Teaching Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Singapore

"For those wrestling with whether to pursue the pastorate, The Path to Being a Pastor will be both an encouraging and thought-provoking read, and will give them biblical, practical, and edifying steps for how to move forward."

Gavin Ortlund

Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Ojai; author, Finding the Right Hills to Die On