Teens or very young pastors in Protestant churches; Is it okay?

For what I know, Catholic priests are studying Christianity in the convent for 10 years and live there. Correct me if I’m wrong, I seem to see some teens or very young pastors or maybe preachers coming out of some Protestant churches. Do I get it right? Do you think it’s alright? What do some Catholics say about this?

I believe anyone can spread the truth of Gods word no matter what the age. We are all called to be disciples of Christ at all ages.

I pray they will spend their time and efforts studying Catholicism some time in their life and their heart will be open to the truth of the Church Jesus founded.


If someone is knowledgeable with respect to spiritual matters, is able to control a room, and able to interact well, and responsibly with congregants, then who are we to stop them?

One thing that lead me to the catholic church was that when I met with protestant non denominational pastors theologically I was much more well read and was a much better reasearcher than them. Also the non denominational pastors just quoted scripture when I had questions about reason or logic. I started watching Fulton sheen on you tube and then met with a priest I find catholic priest to be much more well rounded. Just think a catholic priest came up with the Big Bang (George Lamatrie)

Well, I think it would be unlikely that any church would appoint a teenager to pastor a church. However, there are and have been children who have preached sermons and even carried on evangelistic ministries. A book you may be interested in is Out of the Mouths of Babes: Girl Evangelists in the Flapper Era .

It depends on the Protestant tradition and the specific denominational rules about ordination. Some Protestant traditions (Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and some Baptists) have strong expectations and requirements that their ministry will be educated (by that I mean at least a Master’s of Divinity from an accredited seminary).

Other Protestant traditions are very different. Many Pentecostal, Baptist, and non-denominational churches reject the notion that you need an academic degree to be ordained. Rather, their philosophy on ministry is that one’s calling to pastor, evangelize or teach will become naturally evident. It is the role of ordaining bodies to then recognize the calling that is already on the individual’s life through licensure and/or ordination.

For example, the Assemblies of God’s constitution actually states “formal academic achievement (diploma or degree) shall not be a requirement for credentials.” Nevertheless, the AG does have a process candidates for ordination must go through, and this process includes passing a standardized examination on Bible knowledge, AG doctrines, and ministerial practices.

My elderly great uncle (who attends church but has never seemed to me to be the “pastor” type) was licensed to preached by the Nazarene Church as a child (though I’m pretty sure his ministerial status probably lapsed long ago). He attends the Nazarene Church, but to my knowledge he does not preach or perform any ministerial function. His day job is as a nurse.

My grandfather is an ordained minister by his independent Pentecostal church, even though he is illiterate. He listens to the Bible on tapes.

There is a large distinction between the Catholic priest, who is a sacramental minister, and the Protestant preacher, who is primarily a speaker. The Catholic, and some Anglican/Lutheran, traditions require a man to have the equivalent of a masters degree. Some of the more radical Protestant “sola scriptura” traditions hold that the minister’s only necessary education is the Bible.

Characterizing the Protestant preacher as “primarily a speaker” is an oversimplification. Obviously, a “preacher” is one who preaches. In most churches, however, a preacher is rarely “just” a preacher. Someone who preaches usually preaches because they are an evangelist (in which case their primary role is not speaking but evangelism), a pastor (primary role is as spiritual shepherd) or a teacher.

Priests don’t study in a convent. I think you mean seminary.

The few Protestant ministers I’m familiar with (which isn’t many) studied in a seminary/college prior to assuming their roles in the ministry.

As a former Anglican. I agree. Preacher is a over simplification. Pastor or minister is a much better term. Although there are wondering preachers, they are by far the minority

Remember the tv show Doogie Houser, M.D.? It was about a teenage genius who was a medical doctor. In one episode he had to do an exam on a woman and she was not comfortable with a kid with a lot of “book learning” but very little life experience doing this exam.

So a teenager might be led by the spirit or whatever, but with no experience or maturity and no formal theological training. If the denomination doesn’t have a leader such as we have the pope, bishops, etc., the youngster could easily lead people down the wrong path.

I have seen this happen. The minister wasn’t a teenager, but he was twenty one and the non-denominational church ended up splitting up over the things he was teaching from the pulpit.

When you have ‘Bible alone’ teachings, you run into private interpretations, and with no Magisterium, each person becomes their own authority.

It depends on the denomination, but typically in order to be a Senior Pastor/Minister or be formally ordained in a Mainline denomination (I come from a Mainline Protestant background, so I’ll speak to that and let Evangicals and Fundamentalists speak for themselves) you need to complete a course of study and formation that includes a Master’s degree (often the Master of Divinity or M.Div degree). These graduate studies typically take a few years to complete after having already finished a Bachlore’s degree, so at the youngest most ordained ministers in a Mainline denomination would be in their mid-twenties. Some ministry positions such as being a youth minster, music minister, or even an associate pastor/minister may not require ordination or an advanced degree and therefore younger persons with a bachlore’s degree in theology, the Bible, or even something else could be serving in these type of positions. In Protestant worship services ordination is often not prerequisite to preaching. As has been mentioned, priests and Protestant clergy study at a seminary, not a convent (that’s where religious live).

*The use of the term ordination refers to the Protestant rite of setting a person apart for ministry and endowing the person with denomination/congregation’s authority (and praying for God to endow with authority) to act in the capacity of a minister of word and sacrament (or ordinance) within that denomination and the universal church. This ordination is not recognized as sacramentally valid by the Catholic Church and such persons should not be considered true bishops, priests, or deacons.

It wasn’t historically unheard of for Catholic or Orthodox priests to be ordained young, at least to subdeacon. Some would be ordained but not given the right to hear confession for example, or only to pray the Liturgy, etc. until they were more educated.

As a person who goes to a college with a seminary attached to it, I wouldn’t call it a convent (or monastery) though I’m sure that might have been an older style. The seminarians I know of course have to focus on studying, praying, communal living, and live lives of celibacy while in seminary true, but they also perform ministries or abostolics, just as important as their academic formation. The other funny thing I notice is that the best adjusted seminarians seem to be the ones who, rather than travel in packs of seminarians and barley interact with other students, male or female, the best adjusted ones seem to be the ones who are friends with other students, men and women, and able to follow their vocation to priesthood without having to become completely cut off from the world.

Given how big of a decision it is to discern, it makes sense that a man cannot be ordained until 25 and usually needs 8 or more years of studying and formation (though some orders are longer) it not only prepares them for their ministry, but it allows them to stand with full certainty at ordination having already overcome doubts and second thoughts.

Same here. The few Protestant ministers I know all have advanced degrees.

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