Exploring this Job
The first step in exploring this career is to speak with your own minister about it. He or she can tell you more, help you discern your own calling, and put you in touch with other people and resources. It also makes sense to become as involved with your church as possible: teaching Sunday School, attending weekly services and Bible study, helping at congregational events. You might also want to volunteer with the sick or the elderly, particularly in institutions affiliated with your church.
Protestant ministers are the spiritual leaders of their congregations. Their primary responsibility is leading their congregations in worship and preparing for those worship services. Some Protestant denominations or congregations within a denomination have a traditional order of service. Others require that the minister adapt the service to the specific needs of the congregation. Most Protestant services include Bible readings, hymn singing, prayers, and a sermon written and delivered by the minister.
Protestant clergy also administer specific church rites, such as baptism, Holy Communion, and confirmation. They conduct weddings and funerals. Ministers advise couples concerning the vows and responsibilities of marriage. They may also act as marriage counselors for couples who are having marital difficulties. They visit the sick and comfort the bereaved.
Protestant ministers usually play an important part in the religious education of their congregations. They supervise Sunday School and similar Bible study programs and usually teach confirmation and adult education courses. The extent of their involvement in religious education programs and other church activities is often determined by the size of their congregations. In small churches, ministers may know most of the members personally and take an active role in everything that goes on. In larger churches, ministers may have to devote more time to administrative duties and delegate some of their other responsibilities.
Some ministers teach in seminaries and other schools. Others write for publications and give speeches within the Protestant community and to those in the community at large. A growing number of ministers are employed only part time and may serve more than one congregation or have a secular part-time job.
In 2020, technology became an important tool for Protestant ministers. The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak made it impossible for many U.S. churches to hold in-person worship services because of public health concerns. While most larger churches already streamed their services online or enabled parishioners to download and watch videos, many smaller churches had not yet adopted this model. The pandemic made it necessary for ministers to take advantage of technology to stay connected with their congregations.