The modern Pentecostal movement traces its roots to the 19th century Holiness movement, an offshoot of Methodism. The primary distinction within this broad denomination's nearly 200 subgroups is a renewed emphasis on the spiritual gifts as discussed in the Bible in the books of Acts and First Corinthians, among other scriptures. Becoming a Pentecostal pastor varies by the branch of the denomination you seek to shepherd. There are a few specifically transcendent qualifications that you should possess if you seek to serve God in this position.
Basic Biblical Qualifications
The primary Biblical qualifications of a pastor, or elder, are found in Titus 1:6-9 and in First Timothy 3:1-16. These passages list such traits as being able to teach, being sober-minded, ruling his house well, having a good reputation as distinctive qualities in a pastor elder candidate. While the text also lists "husband of one wife" as a qualification, some branches of Pentecostalism define this to mean being faithful to one's spouse and could include divorced men as qualified candidates. Some less conservative Pentecostal churches affirm faithful women pastors as well.
Holy Spirit Theology
Pentecostal theology adds a substantial emphasis on Pneumatology, or the study of the Holy Spirit. "Speaking in tongues," meaning miraculously speaking in a language you did not previously know or speaking in a new, spiritual language with an interpreter are the primary observable signs, to a Pentecostal congregation, that a new convert has been "filled with the Holy Spirit" and is a born-again believer. The Pentecostal pastor candidate must thoroughly understand this dogma and assist his congregants in understanding its application and its excesses. He must also have a firm understanding in the lists of spiritual gifts as found in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:28-30, and Ephesians 4:11.
Leadership skills can be critical in leading any organization of more than a handful of people. In a Pentecostal church this is especially so. A Pentecostal pastor candidate must be able to lead his group of believers in a way that fits the vision statement as designed by the church. He may assist in training teachers, head evangelical ministry efforts, distribute benevolence offerings and help his congregants grow in faith and in service. As a church grows, he must delegate responsibilities to those with gifts matching the need.
General theological training is important in this position. He must thoroughly understand the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper in terms of how and why they are done. He must be able to perform weddings and funerals, the former of which requires a license in most states. He must have the heart to counsel his church in spiritual matters in good times and bad and be strong in conflict resolution. He must have the ability to preach and teach in a church setting, as these are the most visible elements of a Pentecostal pastor's job.
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images