Traditionally, religious leaders have been educated in a wide variety of ways, from seminaries to apprenticeships to on-the-job training. But formal ministerial education in a conventional university or college setting is a fairly recent phenomenon, and many religious organizations still do not have official educational requirements. For many churches – particularly in the Protestant tradition, and American Evangelical churches – a sincere call to ministry is enough to start a career in the ministry.
Despite the faith in a sincere call, though, in the 21st century, American churches have become much more sophisticated organizations than they were in the past, and it’s becoming more and more common to expect a pastor to have a college degree. That means at least a bachelor’s degree, and often a master’s. To start a career in the ministry, many young people are recognizing their call as a call to preparation, with a bachelor’s degree in ministry, theology, biblical studies, or religion as their first step. For those prospective ministry students, Bachelor’s Degree Center has ranked the 25 Best Bachelor of Ministry Degree Programs.
Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Biblical Studies Degree Programs
When it comes to ranking programs in ministry, biblical studies, and religion, Bachelor’s Degree Center editors cast a wide net, searching out accredited programs from respected institutions of all kinds – Christian colleges, public universities, Catholic institutions, and many more. From there, we ranked programs according to five criteria:
- Tuition Rate
- Graduation Rate
- Employment Rate
- Alumni Salary
- Student Reviews
Data for these was drawn from College Scorecard, IPEDS, and Niche. With these many perspectives, BDC readers can trust that the programs featured will make a difference in their ministry career.
1. Georgetown College (of Georgetown University)
Georgetown College offers a BA in Theology degree program from the Department of Theology & Religious Studies, giving students the option to choose from several concentrations. The concentrations for this biblical studies degree program include Religion & Politics, Christian Theology, Religious Studies, Biblical Studies, and Ethics. In lieu of a final examination, students finish the program with a concluding seminar. Georgetown College offers its theology students an opportunity to study abroad.
Georgetown College was established in 1789 and is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. The parent institution of Georgetown College is Georgetown University. Georgetown College’s urban campus is home to more than 3,200 students. Georgetown College holds the distinction of being the largest undergraduate and oldest school at Georgetown University.
What We Like: The Department of Theology & Religious Studies at Georgetown College offers a renowned signature theology course based on the lectures of John Murray, SJ entitled the Problem with God.
Degree: BA in Theology (4 concentrations)
2. College of William and Mary
The College of William and Mary’s BA in Religious Studies degree program prepares students for rewarding careers in the areas of business, international service, law, government, medicine or the ministry. Coursework for this Bachelor of Ministry degree program includes both western and eastern religious philosophies. Degree graduates explore the many research methods that dominate theological research studies.
The College of William and Mary was established in 1693. Several US presidents graduated from W&M — Thomas Jefferson, John Tyler, and James Monroe. The College of William and Mary was created by a written decree from the British Monarchs — King William III and Queen Mary II. Other than Harvard University, the College of William and Mary is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States.
What We Like: Ethics is at the center of William and Mary; in fact, the College of William and Mary was the first school to create and enforce a student honor code.
Degree: BA in Religious Studies
3. University of California, Santa Barbara
The University of California, Santa Barbara’s (UCSB) Religious Studies division, considered the finest of the University of California System, offers UCSB’s BA in Religious Studies degree program that offers students many concentrations from which to choose — Christianity, Judaism, the Mediterranean/European traditions, Buddhism, and Asian Traditions. UCSB’s Biblical Studies degree program requires the completion of 48 total credit units — of which 44 credit units are upper-division classes. Students enter the workforce prepared to integrate the principles of religion with history, literature, science, and politics.
The University of California –Santa Barbara was established in 1891. UC Santa Barbara is the third-oldest member school of the University of California System. UCSB is a public university organized into five schools/colleges. UCSB is considered one of the public ivy institutions of higher learning in the country.
What We Like: Religious Studies degree candidates may study abroad in 35 different countries, at more than 140 institutions of higher education.
Degree: BA in Religious Studies
4. Case Western Reserve University
The Department of Religious Studies offers Case Western Reserve University’s BA in Religious Studies interdisciplinary degree program. CWRU’s Biblical Studies degree program explores religion through science, social science, and humanities, which prepares students for careers in journalism, medicine, law, engineering, and social work. This Bachelor of Ministry degree program requires the completion of 30 credit hours within the chosen concentration of Honors Research II or Interpreting Religion: Approaches & Current Issue.
Case Western Reserve University was technically established in 1826; however, the school’s full university status was not reached until 1967, when two universities joined forces — Connecticut Western Reserve and Case IT. The first American to win a Science Nobel Prize — Albert A Michelson — conducted an experiment that later acted as evidence in support of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. US News recognizes Case Western Reserve University among the top 40 top national universities in the nation.
What We Like: Case Western’s Reisacher Summer Fellowship provides students with $3000 in funding for research.
Degree: BA in Religious Studies
5. University of Rochester
The University of Rochester’s BA in Religion degree program, from the Department of Religion & Classics, allows theology students to explore the world’s diverse and unique religions. UR’s Bachelor of Biblical Studies degree program’s coursework includes the Old Testament, the New Testament, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. BA in Religion degree candidates must also complete a senior seminar, tutorial, and senior thesis project. In addition, students are encouraged to consider studying abroad as they earn their baccalaureate degree.
The University of Rochester was established in 1850. UR’s 600-acre campus is home to more than 11,000 students. The University of Rochester employs the most workers of any employer in the Rochester area. The Eastman School of Music holds the distinction as the #1 music school in the nation. The School of Music’s Sibley Library holds the largest academic library of music in Northern America.
What We Like: Religion majors can add a minor in Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, and Latin.
Degree: BA in Religion
6. Augustana College
Augustana College offers a BA in Religion from the Department of Religion, Philosophy, & Classics. Augustana College’s Bachelor of Biblical Studies offers students the opportunity of selecting from two areas of concentration — the Religion major or the Religion/Philosophy major. The curriculum offered through Augustana College’s religious studies baccalaureate program is organized as follows — Tradition & Culture, Contemporary Religious Issues, and the Text & Context of religious texts and writings.
Augustana College was established in 1860 and is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. The school’s 100+-acre campus sits alongside the Mississippi River and is home to more than 2,499 students. Students and staff attend international programs, available on all seven continents. Augustana College was founded to assert the heritage and identity of Swedish Americans.
What We Like: Augustana College’s Biblical Studies degree program expands each student’s moral responsibility by exploring inquiries regarding the meaning of life.
Degree: BA in Religion
7. University of Dayton
The University of Dayton offers a BA in Religious Studies that allows students to delve deeply into the Roman Catholic Religion by integrating/comparing the principles other world religions. UD’s Biblical Studies degree program offers students five academic tracks — the General Track, the Catholic School track, the Ministry Track, the Graduate School Prep track, and the World Religions track. Due to the international nature of a biblical studies degree, degree candidates are required to complete a language requirement.
The University of Dayton was founded in 1850 and is affiliated with the Marianist (The Society of Mary) Roman Catholic Church. The school’s 375+-acre campus crosses both sides of the Miami River in Dayton, OH and is home to more than 10,000 students. Dayton’s Chapel of the Immaculate Conception is a historic church that has been a center of life in Dayton since 1869.
What We Like: The University of Dayton is recognized as the first school to offer an undergraduate degree in Human Rights.
Degree: BA in Religious Studies
8. Grinnell College
Grinnell College’s Department of Religious Studies offers a BA in Religious Studies that requires students to complete 32 credit units to graduate. The school’s biblical studies degree includes classes in Western Religions, Asian Religions, plus the two seminar requirements of Advanced Topics in Religious Studies and the Study of Religion-Theory & Methodology. Grinnell College evaluates transfer credit options based on a case-by-case basis.
Grinnell College was established in 1846 and is best known for its arduous academic requirements and a dedicated tradition to social justice. Grinnell College’s 100+-acre campus is home to several buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places and more than 1,700 students. US News recognizes Grinnell College among the top liberal arts institutions of higher learning in the country.
What We Like: Grinnell students are encouraged to follow their own interest in research, partnered with a faculty mentor.
Degree: BA in Religious Studies
9. University of St. Thomas
The University of St. Thomas’ College of Arts & Sciences offers a Bachelor of Arts degree program with a concentration in Catholic Studies or a concentration in Theology. St. Thomas’ Theology baccalaureate degree offers students the opportunity to select from two majors, Ministry, and General Theology. The Catholic Studies program provides students an in-depth look into how the Catholic tradition impacts history, politics, art, science, literature in many cultures.
The University of St. Thomas is a private institution of higher learning that was established in 1885. St. Thomas was initially established as a Catholic Seminary and the school remains affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. St. Thomas is the largest private, nonprofit institution of higher education in the state of Minnesota.
What We Like: St. Thomas’ Catholic Studies biblical studies degree is recognized as the largest and the oldest Catholic Studies degree program across the globe.
Degree: BA in Catholic Studies or Theology
10. Martin Luther College
Martin Luther College offers three biblical studies degree programs. These include the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in the Pre-Seminary program, the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Theological Studies program, and the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Staff Ministry degree program. Coursework includes Biblical Interpretation, the Practice of Ministry, Biblical History, Leadership Training, Retention of Congregation Members, and Caring & Counseling, among others.
Martin Luther College was established in 1995 when Dr. Martin Luther College merged with the Northwestern College in Wisconsin. The school is affiliated with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. The school’s rural campus is situated above the Minnesota River and home to nearly 900 students. Highlight — The school’s original Main Building (fashioned in a Gothic Revival style) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
What We Like: Martin Luther College offers a generous transfer credit policy of up to 30 eligible credit hours
Degree: BA Pre-Seminary, BS Staff Ministry, BS Theological Studies
11. Rhodes College
Rhodes College’s Department of Religious Studies offers a Bachelor’s in Religious Studies degree program that allows biblical studies degree candidates to explore the religious beliefs and traditions from across the globe, in relation to one another. Program coursework is updated routinely to reflect the world’s challenges. It includes classes in Southeast Asia religions, Healthcare’s Racial Disparities, BlackLivesMatter, the Holocaust and European Film, Art & Literature.
Rhodes College was established in 1848 in the heart of Memphis. The school’s unique and beautiful urban campus is home to more than 2,000 students. The average class size at Rhodes College is fourteen students; with a faculty/student ratio of 10:1. Forbes recognizes Rhodes College among the top twenty southern colleges. Princeton Review recognizes Rhodes College’s campus among the most beautiful school campus in the country.
What We Like: Rhodes College’s internships are available nearby in organizations dedicated to providing social, religious and health care services to Nashville’s residents.
Degree: Bachelors in Religious Studies
12. Illinois Wesleyan University
Illinois Wesleyan University offers a BA in Religion that explores religion through the cultural fabric of art, politics, human thought, and literature. Coursework includes a historical perspective of religions, textual studies, and philosophy. Through completed coursework, students gain an understanding as to why it is so challenging to define the concept of religion. Illinois Wesleyan University’s internships deliver a unique opportunity for students to experience a hands-on/academic occurrence.
Illinois Wesleyan University was established in 1850 and offers undergraduate degrees exclusively. The school’s suburban campus is home to nearly 1,900 students studying for bachelor’s degrees in fine arts, liberal arts, business, and nursing, among others. Illinois Wesleyan University is recognized among the best value institutions of higher education in the country. Nearly 90% of students attending Illinois Wesleyan University receive some form of financial assistance.
What We Like: IWU graduates have gone on to some of the most prestigious graduate programs in the world, including the University of Chicago and Oxford University.
Degree: BA in Religion
13. Valparaiso University
Valparaiso University’s Department of Theology offers a BA in Theology & Ministry for students who wish to work serving the families (and individuals) of Christian congregations across the world. Degree candidates are encouraged to participate in theology-related activities sponsored by the Center for Church Vocations. Coursework required to earn Valparaiso University’s biblical studies degree includes 40 theology credits units.
Valparaiso University is a private institution of higher education that was established in 1859. The school is affiliated with the Lutheran Church. The school’s 350-acre suburban campus is home to nearly 4,500 students studying from six schools/colleges. Students graduate prepared for rewarding careers as a Christian Education Director, a Social Worker, a Journalist, a Librarian in a Religious Library, an Overseas Outreach Worker.
What We Like: Valparaiso University is home to the 2nd largest academic chapel in the world.
Degree: BA in Theology and Ministry
14. Messiah College
Obtaining a Biblical studies degree from Messiah College offers the opportunity to focus on helping others and reaching out to those in need. Messiah College offers two programs for students who want to study ministry or Christianity. Messiah’s BA in Biblical and Religious Studies focuses on interpreting the Bible and Biblical text while developing useful leadership skills. The BA in Christian Ministry allows students to focus on a specific area of pastoral work. Students can learn to be a youth minister, a congregational minister, or take the difficult road of cross-cultural ministries to perform missions.
Messiah College stands out for its focus on providing specific skills based on the goals of students. When students are called to engage in missions abroad or within a community, they have an opportunity to learn ways to handle different cultures and situations. The concentration on cross-cultural ministries as well as the more traditional studies available in the school allows students to focus on their goals and plans for the future.
What We Like: Ministry students benefit from Messiah’s Fitness for Ministry program, which provides support including mentorship, church experience, and even resume and portfolio help.
Degree: BA in Biblical and Religious Studies or Christian Ministry
15. Sewanee: The University of the South
When you are looking for a bachelor of Biblical studies that fits your plans for your career, a BA in Religious Studies from Sewanee: The University of the South may offer the training and skills you need for your goals. The degree program focuses on exploring the questions that surround religion and the impact of religion on history, culture, and values. The degree program also encourages students to explore sacred texts and the philosophies behind religions by taking a cross-cultural approach to the learning environment.
Sewanee: The University of the South differs from other programs by focusing on comparative studies. It does not limit students to Christian beliefs and it recognizes that religion plays a role in culture, societal norms, and the history of a region. That recognition allows students to compare sacred texts and literature with a well-rounded view of different religious beliefs. The university also encourages students to engage in extracurricular activities and independent research as part of their degree program.
What We Like: Sewanee’s Religious Studies program is deeply interdisciplinary, incorporating fields as diverse as archeology, sociology, and media studies.
Degree: BA in Religious Studies
16. Hamline University
Hamline University offers a BA in Religion that focuses on building connections and examining the way religion impacts self-understanding, culture, and history. Students focus on exploring their own religious beliefs as well as the beliefs of others on campus and around the world. The goal of the degree program is helping students recognize the impact of religion on different cultures and understand the way beliefs may shape human behavior.
Hamline University stands apart from other programs by offering unique examinations on the significance of religion on literature, history, and contemporary society. It does not study religion through the lens of ministry; rather, it studies religion as it applies to different communities and groups. That recognition that religion shapes behavior and culture teaches students the respect they need to interact with others. The degree prepares students to work in their church or to move forward with more advanced education in a variety of fields and industries.
What We Like: Hamline’s religion is rooted in the ecumenical values of the Methodist Church.
Degree: BA in Religion
17. Northwestern College
A Biblical Studies degree from Northwestern College prepares students to take an active role in their church. It also helps students advance in their studies by helping them get into programs for seminary studies. The BA in Biblical and Theological Studies provides a firm foundation in the practice of ministry and the study of Biblical texts. It also strengthens a student’s knowledge of the scripture to prepare for the challenges of working in ministry or engaging in church-related activities.
Northwestern College offers co-curricular activities that allow students to prepare for their ministry work. The co-curricular activities range from acting as a youth pastor and leading worship in the school’s chapel to going on short-term mission trips around the United States or abroad. The experience helps students determine their long-term goals and prepares them for the challenges of ministry work.
What We Like: Northwestern College focuses on experiential learning by helping students obtain internships as a worship assistant or a youth leader.
Degree: BA in Biblical and Theological Studies
18. Mississippi College
The Christian Studies and Philosophy program at Mississippi College teaches students the philosophy behind Christian living and provides a strong foundation in Biblical studies. The degree program takes a hands-on approach to the learning process and encourages students to actively participate in activities that build leadership skills and help out in local communities. The degree program focuses on effective communication skills and critical thinking to prepare students for the challenges of working in a modern environment.
Mississippi College takes a hands-on approach to the learning process. Students in the Christian Studies and Philosophy program are expected to serve churches and engage in activities that build up leadership skills. A student may take on a paid position with a church, engage in mission trips that require traveling to a different location, or work in summer camps and programs through the church. You may also be asked to participate in charity organizations and activities while studying at the college.
What We Like: Mississippi College’s Institute for Christian Leadership gives students and faculty alike the chance to develop their leadership skills through a variety of activities.
Degree: Christian Studies and Philosophy
19. Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary offers three biblical studies degree programs for students who want to obtain a bachelor of ministry degree. Students can obtain a BA in Biblical Studies, Christian Ministries, or Theology. The different programs focus on specific areas of Christian study and help students evaluate their goals before starting their degree. Students who want to work as a pastor or take on leadership roles in the church may find the Christian Ministries degree to fit their goals. The Biblical Studies degree focuses on evaluating and analyzing Biblical texts and is ideal when you want to focus on research-related fields. Theology evaluates the impact of religion on history and society.
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary stands out for their accelerated programs and their focus on providing a customized education for students. Since it offers multiple degree programs, students can focus on a specific area of Christian studies. It also allows students to transfer credits or take accelerated classes to finish up a degree in a short amount of time.
What We Like: Students at MBTS can earn their bachelor’s and Master of Divinity degree in five years.
Degree: BA in Biblical Studies, Christian Ministries, Theology
20. Spring Hill College
Spring Hill College offers a BA in Theology that allows students to focus on studying religions and service within the Christian community. The degree program gives students an in-depth look into Christianity and Christian faith. It also teaches students about other religions and their impact on society, history, and culture. The degree program takes a well-rounded approach to religious study and prepares students for more advanced study or to make an impact in their community.
The way Spring Hill College differs from other programs is the focus on in-depth discussion and evaluation of religion. Students are encouraged to think critically about their beliefs and the beliefs of others. They are asked in-depth questions and encouraged to discuss the topics for a well-rounded approach to their studies. It also recognizes the importance of religion on culture and explores the way religious beliefs impact or change the culture over time.
What We Like: Spring Hill has sent graduates to some of the world’s greatest graduate programs, including Boston College and Fordham University.
Degree: BA in Theology
21. Athens State University
When you are looking for a bachelor of Biblical studies, the BA in Religion from Athens State University may assist with your goals. The degree program gives students the opportunity to explore world religions, theology, ethics in religion, Biblical studies, and culture as it relates to religion. By developing a well-rounded view of religion, students are able to engage with others in a respectful and understanding way. It allows students to explore their own beliefs as well as to understand the way others form their beliefs based on their own experiences and religions.
Athens State University has offered a degree in religion since 1938. The long history of studying religion has allowed the school to recognize the changes to religious studies over time and to prepare students for the challenges they may face in the future. It recognizes that modern society changes rapidly and strives to ensure students are prepared to handle the changes that may arise over time.
What We Like: Athens State’s Religion and Ethics program focuses on an in-depth analysis of ethical systems around the world.
Degree: BA in Religion
22. Lancaster Bible College
Lancaster Bible College offers a BA in Pastoral Ministry and a BA in Biblical Studies. When you want a bachelor of ministry degree or a related degree, the school offers programs to assist with your goals. The Pastoral Ministry degree program focuses on developing leaders who follow the standards set by the Bible. The goal of the program is becoming a shepherd who engages with the members of a church with compassion and firm guidance. The Biblical Studies degree focuses on gaining an in-depth knowledge of Biblical texts and developing the skills to support a leader or to take on a leadership role within the church.
The way Lancaster Bible College stands apart from other programs is its focus on developing a shepherd leader. The college does not treat ministry students or Biblical studies students as a business leader. It focuses on authority as grounded in the Bible and strives to ensure students understand ministry, discipleship, and leadership from a Biblical perspective. It gives students an in-depth knowledge of how to lead with compassion and kindness.
What We Like: LBC’s Four-Plus-One track allows students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in just 5 years.
Degree: BA in Pastoral Ministry or BA in Biblical Studies
23. Webster University
Webster University offers a BA in Religious Studies that prepares students to engage in the modern ministry environment. It recognizes that religion is a complex topic and students will face challenges when engaging in diverse cultures, religions, and backgrounds. The Religious Studies degree program evaluates the socio-historical context of religion as well as the way religion may impact international affairs. It also examines the myths, rituals, arts, and ideas behind religions that may impact cultural practices.
Webster University stands out for its focus on understanding the way religion provides meaning in the lives of individuals and communities. It strives to understand the impact of religion on individuals as well as to study world religions for a complete view of how culture relates to religious expression and beliefs. It takes a cross-cultural view of religion to prepare students to work with diverse communities and groups.
What We Like: Webster takes a global approach to religious studies, including hands-on experiences like Japanese flower arranging.
Degree: BA in Religious Studies
24. Central Methodist University
Central Methodist University offers a BA in Religion and Church Leadership that prepares students to take on a leadership role in ministry. The degree program gives students a strong foundation in traditional college studies and then moves into topics related to Biblical studies and religious studies. It also focuses on developing leadership skills that allow students to take on the challenges of working as a minister within their church. Students are able to study the history of Christianity, World Cultures, and Biblical literature for an in-depth understanding of religion.
The way Central Methodist University stands out from other programs is its focus on a well-rounded educational experience. The degree program allows students to focus on their goals to work in service to the church without giving up on the valuable skills they need to engage in modern discussions and activities. By developing skills that apply to different situations, students develop critical thinking skills that help with their long-term goals.
What We Like: Central Methodist’s Guiding Vision is rooted in Community, Communication, and Curiosity.
Degree: BA in Religion and Church Leadership
25. Clarks Summit University
When you are looking for a degree in ministry, then the BS in Pastoral Ministries from Clarks Summit University is a good option for your plans. The degree program offers a focused study into the Bible and Biblical literature. Students learn the original Greek to fully understand the Bible and to recognize the role of grammar and word-usage for context and meaning.
Clarks Summit University differs from other programs by providing students with an in-depth study of Biblical scripture and leadership. The degree program helps students by offering hands-on experience in ministry through internships and volunteer work, as well as mentorship programs. That focus on developing leadership skills through hands-on experience combined with in-depth study of the Bible prepares students for their role as a leader in the church.
What We Like: All Clarks Summit students earn a double major, combining Biblical Studies with a second major.
Degree: BS in Pastoral Ministries
Do I Need a Degree to Become a Pastor?
Have you considered how to become a minister? Have you seriously considered if becoming a pastor without a degree is possible? Have you said aloud — I want to become a Pastor?
The good news is that very few religious traditions or denominations mandate that pastoral candidates possess a college degree as a prerequisite to being ordained. However, it is important to understand that a religious studies degree holder would likely be preferred to someone without a pastor education degree.
Additionally, it is generally expected that an individual applying for a position of leadership in a religious organization or house of worship — like a head pastor — holds a baccalaureate degree, at a minimum.
Becoming a pastor without a degree is especially a great idea to obtain an entry-level position. In fact, many religious leaders learn how to become a minister with on the job training as they earn their religious studies degree through a part-time pastor education. Those who say to themselves — I want to become a pastor — can choose to start with or without a religious studies degree, but the advantages of a degree are real.
What Kind of Degree Should I Get to Go Into Ministry?
Most individuals seeking to devote their career to the world of religion and the ministry, generally look inside themselves to discover which facet of the ministry would benefit most from their talent or the area in which the student finds themselves drawn to.
Generally, the types of ministry degrees at the baccalaureate level fall into one of two categories — A Bachelor Arts (BA) degree, and a Bachelor of Theology (Th.B.).
A degree to become a pastor is available as follows:
Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies
Bachelor of Arts in Ministry
Bachelor of Arts in Religion
Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies
Bachelor of Arts in Theology,
Bachelor of Arts in Youth Missions
When researching the available types of ministry degrees or your preferred degree to become a pastor, remember to research if the school offering the specific program has received the appropriate accreditation because certain career choices, like teaching, require an accredited program.
A Bachelor of Arts degree is generally completed in four years. The curriculum includes the school’s core curriculum plus the major’s coursework. A Bachelor of Theology differs from the BA program in that it is completed in five years. The ‘Th.B.’ Degree coursework also includes the study of Hebrew and Greek.
What Do Ministers Do?
What does a minister do? Have you ever considered the difference between a reverend vs pastor and a minister vs pastor?
The reality is when considering the differences between a reverend vs pastor, and a minister vs pastor, the difference in the titles depend on upon the religious traditions they represent. For example, the term minister is used in the religious traditions of Baptist, Presbyterian, and Reformed Churches (and others) for their spiritual leaders and members of the clergy.
Conversely, the term priest is used for the Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox Christian affiliations. Ministers may also be known as a father, a chaplain, a bishop, or a preacher.
A minister is authorized by a religious organization to perform ministerial duties in the service to God and the congregation. These include:
- Comforting Church parishioners at their home or on Church grounds
- Conducting religious formalities like a marriage ceremony, a funeral service, among other
- Leading worships and prayer
- Managing the business and personnel of a religious organization. Business experience is valuable for this part of their official ministerial duties.
- Participating in Youth Missions and Training Workshops
- Representing the Church to the public and to the Church’s elders and organizational members