Relationship Between Ministry and
minister of the church is a partner with Christ in assisting his fellow men along life's
way. The essence of ministry is beautifully expressed in the following poem:
'Twixt God and brother man I stand;
Each one awaits my outstretched hand.
My Lord hath wealth, all want to free;
My brother only dying need.
If unto each a hand I give,
The one can love, the other live;
And I the joy of both shall know,
For each to each through me shall flow.
If selfish, I my hand refuse,
Then each one shall the other lose;
While I lose both: and my poor heart
Be parched for streams they could impart.
Lord, take my hand and make me e'er
A channel thy great love to share.
-H. H. B.
IS A MINISTER NECESSARY
FOR MY SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING?
While Jesus was still with
us, he appointed under shepherds and instructed them to carry forward the works that he
"Go ye into all the
world and preach the gospel to every creature . . . . He that believeth and is baptized
shall be saved."-Mark 16:14, 15.
He instructed Peter to
"feed my sheep."
FOR WHAT REASON WERE MINISTERS APPOINTED
"For the perfecting of
the saints for the edifying of the body of Christ."-Ephesians 4:12.
WHO ARE THESE OFFICERS
APPOINTED TO CARRY
FORWARD GOD'S WORK?
The following officers of
the church are to be found mentioned in the New Testament, and their duties are more fully
given in the Doctrine and Covenants:
Apostles, prophets, high
priests, seventies, patriarchs, evangelists, bishops, elders, priests, teachers, and
deacons. (Ephesians 4: 11, Doctrine and Covenants 17.)
ARE ALL THE DUTIES OF THESE MINISTERS THE
Each has a different
function to perform for the church. Paul likened the church to the human body, which has
many members all performing some special function, but all to a unity of purpose. Thus the
church of Jesus Christ differs from many churches of today where often one minister, a
pastor, centers all the functions of shepherding the flock.
THERE ARE TWO MAIN ORDERS OF PRIESTHOOD IN
The two main orders of the
priesthood are the Melchisedec and Aaronic. (Doctrine and Covenants 104:1, 2.) The first
includes the high priesthood and the elders, while the second includes the priests,
teachers, and deacons.
THE MELCHISEDEC PRIESTHOOD Comprised of High Priests and Elders.
Those who are ordained to
the office of high priest are in certain cases designated by inspiration to occupy in
certain specific phases of this priesthood. Certain elders also are ordained to specific
missionary duties from the Melchisedec order.
The duties of the high
priesthood of the church concern the spiritual functions of the church and these ministers
hold the responsibility of presiding in the various spheres of need.
The subdivisions of the
high priesthood, with the various functions, are in their order as follows:
THE FIRST PRESIDENCY OF THE CHURCH
Three high priests are
selected according to the revelations of the church to preside over the work and ministry
of the entire church in all the world, both missionary and pastoral. One of the three is
the president of the church, and the other two are his counselors. The president is the
prophet, seer, and revelator to the church.
Twelve high priests are
chosen by inspiration through the president of the church, to administer the work of the
church in all the various fields of labor in all the world. While the work of the First
Presidency is necessarily carried out at headquarters, the Apostles go into the various
mission fields, acting for the Presidency in all matters requiring the supervision and
attention of that quorum. Because the Apostles are acting for the First Presidency in the
entire field of church activity, they receive their instructions from the Presidency. For
further study of this important office, read Doctrine and Covenants 17:8; 123:3, 23;
120:4, 5, 7; 105:6. The distinctive function of this office relates to missionary
Certain high priests as
required are designated to minister as bishops, and are so ordained. Three of this number
are further ordained to be the Presiding Bishopric of the church. These men are concerned
specifically with the teachings and administering of the financial laws and policies of
the church. Bishops are also chosen to labor in large branches, districts, and missions
and in other general spheres of financial supervision. The bishops are the custodians of
all the tithes and related monies. See chapter 8.
PATRIARCHS OR EVANGELISTS
Patriarchs are high priests
ordained in the light of inspiration and their pastoral qualifications, to give ministry
of a spiritual nature, counsel, and blessings, without any responsibility whatsoever for
administrative details of church government. A patriarch is a personal counselor and a
revivalist to the membership and may be appointed to large branches or districts. Further
study of this office can be had by reference to Doctrine and Covenants 104:17; 122:8;
125:4, 6; 107:29; 129:7.
The duties of high priests,
not called to any of the specific duties outlined above, are in the main pastoral. They
also serve on the various high councils of the church. Upon these ministers rest the
responsibilities of presidency in large branches and districts in particular. They should
be chosen by common consent for these responsibilities in preference to other officers,
where no valid reason exists to do otherwise. This is the foundation office of the high
A seventy is a special
minister chosen and ordained from the ranks of the elders, and set apart to give his first
attention to the missionary activity of the church. Those elders whose qualifications and
calling fit them for missionary work receive this ordination and they go into all the
world to preach the gospel. On certain occasions the seventy may be sent on Special
missions deputizing for the Apostles, but unless specially appointed in this way are not
required to act administratively. Seventies are, on occasions, chosen to preside over
branches, etc., where exigencies may exist, but this is an emergency procedure.
This office differs from
the seventy in that it is designed for those who do not travel in all the world. The
specific acts of personal ministry are set forth in this office, and the duties here
stated may be performed by elders or the high priesthood. The office of an elder is an
appendage to the high priesthood and therefore assists in many of the duties of that
priesthood. It is within the calling of all elders and higher officers to baptize,
confirm, ordain, administer the sacrament, teach, preach, expound, exhort, watch over the
church and confirm by the laying on of hands, and take the lead of all meetings. From this
we see that it is expedient that the eldership shall have direct contact with the everyday
lives of the members of the church. We can thus visualize an elder as a pastor of a branch
where there is no high priest in a position to preside. Elders may labor as missionaries
but unless called and ordained are not seventies. (Doctrine and Covenants 104: 41; 17: 8.)
THE AARONIC PRIESTHOOD
The following officers are
members of the second or Aaronic priesthood.
Priests like the elders and
high priests described above are standing ministers to the church. That is, they are,
first, local ministers. While the foregoing officers have been designated Melchisedec
ministry, priests, teachers, and deacons are members of the second or Aaronic ministry. A
priest's duty is to preach, teach, expound, exhort, baptize, and administer the sacrament,
and visit the home of each member of the branch. He visits the homes with the express duty
of teaching the members their duties and should he so regarded and received. Within the
scope of his calling, he may assist the elders where necessary. The special emphasis made
upon the visiting of the members in their homes has made this the particular feature of
his work. A priest may be called upon to travel, if willing, and do the work of a
missionary, but because of the limitations of his Aaronic priesthood, which does not
entitle him to lay on hands for confirmation, his functioning as a missionary is
This title does not refer
to the teachers appointed to classwork in the local church school, but is a specific
calling of a spiritual nature. It is the duty of those ordained to the office of teacher
to watch over the church, to be with and strengthen the church, and particularly is the
teacher so to minister that encroachment of sin among the membership is avoided. He is to
see that proper relationships of saintliness are maintained. He is enjoined to be watchful
against certain sins amongst the members which are named as lying, backbiting, and gossip.
His constructive duty is to see that members attend regularly at the house of worship, and
he keeps a record to that end. It is his duty to teach specifically in the field of human
relationships, and his ministry in this respect should be looked for and accepted by the
membership. A teacher does not baptize or lay on hands. His duties make him a preacher and
The work of the deacon is
an important one in the work of the branch. He is to work when required as an assistant to
the teacher in matters of adjustment of personal difficulties, but his first and
particular duties are concerned with the physical comforts and appointments of the local
church buildings. He holds the keys of such houses of worship, and it is his duty, in
association with the pastor and membership of the branch, to supervise the care and
cleaning of such buildings. The deacon is the usual custodian of church funds in the
local. He has the responsibility of providing ushering and orderly conduct at all
gatherings of the membership. He may engage in the teaching ministry of the church but
does not administer the ordinances.
THE PASTORAL MINISTRY
WHO IS THE PRINCIPAL MINISTER OF THE
The pastor is the president
of the local branch and is the chief administrative officer and executive, being
responsible to the church and the branch for all the work of the branch. The branch of the
church, like a branch of a tree, is but a section of the whole. The pastor administers the
affairs of the branch in harmony with the laws of the church. The work of shepherding the
flock is shared by him with all the standing ministers of the branch, and he is
responsible for the direction of these officers in their work.
WHAT SPECIAL SERVICE MAY BE OBTAINED FROM
THESE PASTORAL MINISTERS?
One may receive help from
the pastor and all the men who share in his pastoral care. On many occasions and in many
ways a member should feel free to consult them at all times on matters affecting life's
One may receive ministry in
one's own home, for the function of meeting with the flock in the circle of the home is
one of the responsibilities they share and will be glad to perform. Members should invite
and expect this home contact so that the pastor may know your home and personal needs and
so that you will know him sufficiently to understand him and receive his help in times of
THE PASTOR WILL BE GLAD TO BRING ASSISTANCE
TO YOU AT THE FOLLOWING TIMES:
In Time of Trouble.
When you need to share a
burden of distress, he will be glad to be a sympathetic friend.
In Times of Joy.
When you have achieved
success, when you have a happy anniversary, when you have friends in to share joy, he will
gladly make one of you.
In Times of Bereavement.
When death enters your home
circle, he can help you nearer your Comforter, and he will be glad to render practical
assistance. He unobtrusively will assist you through your ordeal,
In Times of Ill-Health.
He will pray for you when
sickness comes and seek counsel with you from God for wisdom and strength. He will be able
to suggest some practical steps to recovery and help you meet domestic and other
emergencies caused by such circumstances.
In Times of Perplexity.
When you are making
important decisions, he will be glad to share with you to the degree that you desire. He
will not pry but will bring his special training to bear for your help. You can talk it
out with him.
In Times of Choosing a Vocation.
Today's pastor is becoming
increasingly capable of assisting youth, and any skill he has developed in the sphere of
vocational guidance will be at your service. He will know where you can get the best help.
At the Time of Your Marriage.
He will be glad to assist
you at your wedding, but he will be especially glad to help you approach this vital
sacrament wisely. The pastor is becoming increasingly capable of counseling in the sphere
of home relationships. He will appreciate the opportunity to help.
At Times of Wrongdoing.
Because he, too, is
following Christ as best he can, he will not chide you. He will respect confidence. He
will help you lay your burden at Jesus' feet and show you the way as a father would.
These privileges of helpful
ministry for God are shared in part by all the local ministry, who co-operatively
constitute a pastorate working under the direction of the one elected by the people to
serve as pastor or branch president.
In all these phases and a
number of others, the pastoral ministry is available to members for comfort, advice, and
encouragement. The minister may not know the answer to the particular problem, but he can
assist you to find what you most need. He is not a number of specialists rolled into one,
but the quaified pastor knows who best can help you.
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