Thoughts for a High Schooler


Howdy!  So, you feel called to ministry in high school?  First, that is amazing!  God calls all believers to a life of purpose, but he does not call everyone to a vocational ministry.  While this is not something to boast about, a call to vocational ministry is certainly something worth celebrating.  I was in that boat once too!  I felt an intense call to ministry around the early days of my freshman year of high school.  For me, the only thing that made sense was Jesus, and a career in ministry seemed like the perfect fit for me.  Sure enough, here I am today, serving as the guy’s minister at First Baptist Church of Arlington, Texas.  Was my path here perfect or easy?  No, but I have learned a lot and have some thoughts for the high school student that is considered following a similar path.

First, you do not have to study ministry or religion during undergrad to go into vocational ministry.  It is helpful to study in other fields for a few reasons.  One, ministry jobs don’t always come quickly, it is great to have experience in another field as a backup.  Two, what you learn in other fields can often be applied to ministry.  For example, a student who studies business during their undergrad can apply what they learned to the financial side of a church they are working for.  Even so, it is great to study ministry or religion in undergrad, that is what I did.  The biggest advantage to undergrad study in ministry or religion is that it will likely make seminary a little easier.  Or at least prepare you better for seminary.

That brings me to my next point: Think ahead about seminary. You do not have to know where you are going just yet, you might not even have college decided yet.  However, prepare yourself to end up going to seminary.  While I would be slow to say that seminary is required for ministry, I would be very quick to say that seminary should be highly encouraged for anyone planning on going into ministry.  Seminary is a unique place where the student is surrounded by other believers learning theological and practical lessons that may take years to learn in the field.  On top of the personal lessons one might learn at seminary, going to seminary offers enormous networking opportunities.  My resumé landed on Kurt Krodle’s desk because my seminary had a whole office dedicated to helping students find jobs.  In short, I left seminary with lifelong friendships, a sharpened mind, a deeper faith, and a job.

Finally, I would encourage any student considering going into ministry to talk to people who are already in ministry!  I had youth pastors, Young Life leaders, and camp counselors who poured their knowledge and experience into me when I was considering ministry as a career.  Everyone needs mentors, and I promise you that the ministers in your life would love to talk to you about their experience and how they can help you reach your goals.

The road to ministry is not always easy, and it is certainly not meant to be walked alone.  However, ministry is incredibly rewarding, and I wouldn’t change my path to get here at all.  Whether you are convinced that you are supposed to be a pastor, or you have just started to consider the possibility, I hope that some of these thoughts will help you consider your potential life in ministry!


P.S. If you feel like you are in this boat and have more questions, feel free to reach out!  I would love to talk to you more about this!

Tanner Watson

Tanner Watson

Tanner is the guy's minister at First Baptist Church of Arlington. He hails from Argyle, Texas. Tanner is a proud graduate of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, as well as Baylor University's George W. Truett Theological Seminary. Tanner can whip up a mean cup coffee and cook a great brisket.

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