Discover your career path


Serve as a spiritual leader for a church congregation or a specific ministry.

What does a Minister do?

Ministers serve in a leadership role for churches or community organizations. Protestant churches employ ministers to serve as trusted, religious authorities that foster spiritual growth. Community organizations such as universities and hospitals also employ ministers. Some ministers lead congregations in a pastoral capacity and others lead missions or ministries for youth, women, inmates, or married couples. Most ministers are qualified to teach and lead wedding, baptismal, and funeral services. Along with knowledge of biblical scriptures, ministers pull from their personal faith and understanding of God to provide spiritual direction to others.

As a minister, you work in a collaborative manner with other leaders of the church to ensure sound financial and program management of the ministry. You may be able to delegate some responsibilities to a church administrator so you can focus on growing, engaging, and counseling people in your ministry. You represent your congregation and denomination in the community, and you are responsible for guiding your members and the community away from conflict, creating a culture of mutual respect and learning, and maintaining institutional accountability.

If you feel called to ministry, you can take many different routes to fulfill your calling. To start, volunteer leadership roles in your church will help you build rapport, conflict-mediation skills, and communication skills. If you want to be ordained for a very specific purpose, such as performing weddings, you can complete a non-denominational ordination program online. However, if you want to serve a church congregation or a community organization, you may need to complete a four-year program at a seminary school. Some churches require that ministers have a Master of Divinity degree or a doctorate of philosophy or ministry from a recognized seminary. Other denominations and congregations don’t require any special education. In addition to education, you may need to receive a certified ordination in a recognized denomination.