Increased demand makes becoming minister easier

Becoming an ordained minister as easy as paying $34.94

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The increase in the popularity of nondenominational churches has brought a growing need for those to serve at the pulpit. The demand for more ministers has caused many to skip Bible school and go straight to preaching.

It has become increasingly easy to become a minister. For only $33,94, Local 10's MJ Acosta became a minister so that she could officiate her sister's wedding.

Although Acosta has no plans to lead a church, there are those that do.

"What are their intensions when they open a church because there are so many needy people and people searching for meaning," said Dr. Elsie Miranda with Barry University, adding that those are the people who are easily exploited.

Those in the academic sector believe education is a must for someone pursing a career in the ministry.

"What kind of a world are we in that people get to practice all sorts of minstrel functions before they ever get training?" said Miranda.

It is because of beliefs like Miranda's that schools like South Florida Bible College stay busy.

"The apostle Paul said that we should study to show ourselves approval," said Dr. Thomas Sharp, a professor at South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary. "When people say that we could do it without knowledge, that's flying in the face of the authority of the scripture."

However, one of the most popular ministers of our time is a college drop out. Pastor Joel Osteen leads the largest church in America. No one can deny his enormous following.

The same goes for Bob Coy, the lead pastor at Calvary Chapel in Fort Lauderdale. He too has never attended Bible College, but that hasn't stopped him from guiding over 30,000 members.

"I miss having had the chance to get into a more studious, more disciplined environment to grow," Coy said.

He said his real world experiences and the power of God inspire his messages.

"You can't earn an anointing. It's either from God and we see the fruit, or you could actually go through four, eight years, get a degree and everyone says you are and you ain't," he explained.

Some religious experts say it's up to the individual to do their own research and determine what type of experience or guidance they need.

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