(See what I did there?)
The notion that pastor's are "called" to ministry is so enmeshed in evangelical culture that it is common for writers not even to bother attempting a Biblical demonstration of the idea. Consider this article as an example, with its list of categorical statements attended by nary a single warranting verse.
As I've already shown, the "call" model is without Biblical warrant. Not that the Bible says nothing, it just says something perfectly clear and quite different. Though I thought that article was clear enough, some of the same questions keep being asked, so we'll try to clear them up here, in two steps.
The Biblical model. "Pastors and teachers" are listed among the gifts of the ascended Christ (Eph. 4:11), though that passage gives no further clues about identifying pastors. The fullest treatment comes in 1 Timothy 3:1ff., which actually tells us all we need to know. It gives three lines of qualification.
- Desire. Paul uses two verbs to denote the desire a gifted man has in 1 Tim. 3:1. They combine to indicate that the man will yearn for the office, will strongly desire it. He'll be driven from within — not because he's idle, not because his dad did it, not because it looks like fun, but because he needs to do it. The first pastor who trained me said something I dismissed at the time, though later I came to see the wisdom in it. "Gentlemen," he used to say, "if you can be happy doing anything else, do it."
- Doctrine. Desire isn't enough. The man has to know his stuff. Unlike a deacon, the overseer must be able to teach (1 Tim. 3:2). Paul expands in writing to Titus, saying that an overseer must be able to identify and shut down false doctrine, and must be able positively to teach sound doctrine (Titus 1:9ff.). Not only must he be doctrinally sound, he must be doctrinally authoritative, in representing the Word of God and in guarding against error.
- Devoutness. Desire and doctrinal knowledge must be adorned by a godly character. Only so does the man show that he understands and believes what he teaches, and can serve as a faithful, reliable overseer for others. Both 1 Timothy 3 and Titus give the particulars.
- Sufficiency of Scripture. The contrary position amounts to "Okay, okay, the Bible doesn't exactly teach the pastoral 'call'... but we've always called it that, so what's the diff?" Well, the "diff" is that God has given us everything for which we need a divine word in Scripture, and we are supplementing it as if He did not. We're improving on a Scripture that doesn't need our improvements. It's a bad idea, it sets a bad precedent, and sends a bad message.
- The mystical mystique. Introducing the unbiblical notion of a "call" takes us out of the Biblical realm of desire tested by discrete evidences, into the realm of the God card. If an authority figure (another pastor) imagines that he hears another man's "call," he could push him into preaching, unqualified — of which I've heard story after story after story. Or the man (or woman!) can insist that the divine call takes precedence over everything else, and on that strength step into an office to the ruination both of himself and of his hearers.