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What Are the Job Duties for Ministers?

Learn about the various job duties of ministers. Get information on the education needed to enter this career field and explore job outlook and salary information for clergy members.

Overview of Minister Job Duties

Ministers wear many hats, including those of a manager, a leader, a caregiver and an educator. Ministers, sometimes called pastors, serve different Protestant denominations, and they usually hold at least a Master of Divinity or a Master of Arts in Ministerial Studies. Successful ministers have a deep understanding of theology and a keen ability to work with the public.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Entry-level Education Bachelor's degree or higher
On-the-job Training Moderate on-the-job training
Median Salary (2018) $48,990 (for all clergy)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 8% growth (for all clergy)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Ministers and Knowledge

In Master or Doctor of Divinity programs and Master of Arts in Ministerial Studies programs, ministers engage in intensive theological study as a supplement to their ministerial studies. They study the Bible, classical languages and religious and social history so they can effectively provide religious education to their congregations through sermons, religious rites and religious education programs. These theological studies also help them interpret scripture in response to modern social and moral challenges.

Ministers and Communication

Communicating effectively and relating theology to the public is at the heart of a minister's job duties. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), clergy members typically perform religious services and share their religious beliefs through writing, teaching or lectures. They perform sermons and religious rites like weddings, and they also instruct converts. Ministers holding Doctor of Divinity degrees may choose to teach in religious or secular universities, and those holding Master of Ministerial Studies degrees may choose to work as youth ministers or missionaries.

Ministers and Care

In addition to educating others about religion, ministers also care for their congregations and for the needy. Ministers may visit places like prisons and homeless shelters to perform religious services. They also take care of their congregations by visiting members who are ill and providing support in times of bereavement. Ministers serve as moral leaders and advisers for their congregations as well.

Ministers and Leadership

Ministers run an institution that is often the center of community life. They must be able to lead their congregations to achieve religious goals like helping the needy through community service activities. Ministers also serve as the administrators for their churches and participate in national religious organizations.