A protestant minister is a man or woman in a church that is ordained (authorized or approved to perform as a paid minister) and providing services to a church. Protestant ministers have many responsibilities in the church. Their job is to provide religious education amongst church members. This job may also require them to provide counseling (financial, marriage, religious, health, and other such topics) as well as present a message from God (commonly called a sermon) each week to the congregation of the church.
Ministers’ job responsibilities are varied. They present a message to their church congregation on Sunday mornings (or Saturday depending upon the denomination). They may perform pre-marriage counseling, other counseling services, visits to shut-ins and nursing homes, many ministers oversee other church functions such as committees, building maintenance and other responsibilities which may vary according to the size of the church. Attending or teaching seminars, retreats or training as required.
This portion of the minister’s job frequently requires travel. Ministers frequently visit the sick, they visit those who are shut-ins, they may assist those in their congregations during a difficult time for a loved one.
In addition to the regular Sunday (or Saturday depending upon the denomination) service, ministers also perform weddings, funerals, christenings (also known as a dedication or blessing), communion (also known as Sacrament), nursing home service, baptisms and special services usually on holidays such as Christmas, New Years and Passover.
A minister is generally available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. His or her responsibilities will include evenings and weekends as well as holidays as needed. Additionally, the minister is generally in the office during set hours to be available to the church members and the general public as needed. This job position can be very stressful at times although many find it to be very rewarding as well.
Depending upon the church, a minister may be required to wear a special robe when preaching but not when doing outreach work or when in the office. This requirement will vary according to denomination. If a robe is not required a minister will be expected to dress in formal to casual attire when working. For men, this might mean dress slacks and a button-down shirt with an optional tie, during a service this might be required to be a suit, for women, a nice pantsuit or a dress is required. Some will preach in shorts depending upon how open the church is to such attire.
Educational requirements will vary according to the denomination. For some, all they need is to feel a calling to become a minister, for others, a bachelor’s degree from a theological seminary school will be required. A degree from a theological seminary will take anywhere between 2 and 4 years to acquire depending upon the course in study. Most will take one of the following courses of study:
Master of Divinity
Master of Theology
Master of Religious Studies
Master of Arts in Worship
Master of Arts in Education
Doctorate of Ministry
Doctorate of Philosophy
There are also what many consider to be fake degrees in which a person obtains an ordination through a website that will send the person a certificate of ordination which legally allows the person to become a minister. All a person must do for one of these is to pay a nominal fee and in exchange, they are sent a certificate of ordination. These companies are often quick to take the money and run and this route is not recommended.
Becoming a minister is definitely not for the faint of heart, but for those who feel a true calling to become a minister, for those who are able to deal with the stress of being on call 24 hours per day 7 days per week and available holiday’s and weekends, this career is a rewarding and very fulfilling experience.