7.9.1 The priestly ministries

The ministries from the Bishop to the Priest are summarised by the term "priestly ministries". Through the Apostle these ministers have received the commission and authority to dispense Holy Baptism with water, proclaim the forgiveness of sins, and consecrate and dispense Holy Communion.

The high demands on the priestly ministers are derived from Malachi 2: 7: "For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts."

The tasks of the priestly ministries also include conducting divine services, performing acts of blessing and funerals, proclaiming God's word, and providing pastoral care to the members of the congregation.

Bishop

The word "Bishop" (Greek: episkopos) means "overseer". The Bishop is the direct co-worker of the Apostle. In oneness with the Apostle, he instructs and cares for the ministers, and takes charge of special tasks in pastoral care.

District Elder [4]

As a rule, a District Elder is the rector of a district and thus responsible for several congregations in both a spiritual and organisational respect. He ensures that the gospel is proclaimed in its purity in the congregations. He also sees to it that the necessary ministerial gifts are available in the congregations. He adopts guests into the congregation and leads preparatory discussions with those who are to receive the sacrament of Holy Sealing. The District Elder provides pastoral care to the congregational rectors and their families.

District Evangelist

The District Evangelist works at the side of the District Elder and supports him in the fulfilment of his tasks.

Shepherd

The special focus of this ministry is to care for and preserve the congregation. The Shepherd also performs leadership tasks. As a rule, he is also appointed as the congregation's rector.

Evangelist

The special accent of the Evangelist ministry (Greek: euangelistes = "messenger of joy") lies in the clear, understandable proclamation of the word. As a rule the Evangelist also performs leadership tasks.

Priest

The Priest proclaims the word of God and cares for the souls within the congregation. This includes being close to the members, visiting them regularly, reinforcing their faith, and promoting their knowledge. The Priest stands by them, comforts them, and prays with them. He makes regular visits to the sick and celebrates Holy Communion with them. He also pursues those whose ties with the congregation are waning. In many congregations Priests also take on the function of rector.

[4] In earlier times there was also the ministry of Community Elder.

See also