Relationship Between Ministry and

          Every 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.

          While Jesus was still with us, he appointed under shepherds and instructed them to carry forward the works that he had begun.

          "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 the perfecting of the saints for the edifying of the body of Christ."-Ephesians 4:12.


          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.)


          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.


          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:


          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 supervision.


          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 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 priesthood.


          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 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 restricted.


          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 teacher.


          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 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.


          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 happiness.

          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 special need.


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.

Back to Chapter 4     Forward to Chapter 6