Contrary to popular belief, a minister does not just work on Sunday mornings. Instead, modern ministers have a wide range of responsibilities in the church and community, requiring a diverse skill set. In order to have a successful time behind the pulpit, here are five skills that every minister needs.
1. Strong Theological Background
No matter what faith or denomination, a minister has to be the local authority on issues related to doctrine. People attend religious services expecting their minister to have the answers. This theological foundation will vary depending on the specific church and its affiliations, but it is broader than most people realize. Religious texts not only require literary analysis but historical context. Additionally, ministers need to study Latin, Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic in order to better understand the source materials. It is also important to understand archeology, anthropology and more to attain a full grasp of their faith.
2. Good Speaking Skills
A minister’s job may extend beyond Sunday mornings, but those weekly services are still one of the most important elements of the position. Most churches follow a familiar pattern for their services, which includes a time for preaching. This preaching is designed to communicate a message, providing knowledge, comfort and conviction for those in attendance. However, preaching is about more than the content. Good preaching requires refined oratory skills. Ministers need to know how to organize a speech, using central ideas, supporting details and relevant examples. It is essential to have a good delivery, maintaining eye contact and varying intonations.
3. Meaningful Interpersonal Abilities
On Sunday mornings, a minister is behind the pulpit, but most of the time, the minister needs to be serving the congregation. As leaders in their churches, ministers are required to reach out to new visitors and maintain connections with members. Ministers are often expected to provide counseling, mediate conflicts and serve those in need. This means that ministers must know how to work with people, identifying their needs and successfully supporting them. People may visit a church for a minister’s preaching style, but they will only stick around when the minister has meaningful interpersonal skills.
4. Powerful Organizational Prowess
Most churches offer more than a Sunday sermon. Modern churches are often complicated organizations with multiple service points. On any given Sunday, a church will need countless volunteers and may operate with dozens of staff members. Throughout the week, the church may hold Bible studies, conduct outreach programs and host supplemental worship opportunities. In order for all of this to happen, a minister has to be able to stay organized. These sorts of activities do not just happen without proper planning and execution. It is up to a minister to make sure no details fall through the cracks to keep a church functioning.
5. Exemplary Leadership Qualities
Ultimately, a minister needs to be a leader. While this leadership requires some specific religious training, there are also many leadership skills from secular training that are very applicable for modern ministers. A minister should know how to rally people, offering encouragement and incentives. To this end, ministers need to know how to recruit help and successfully delegate responsibilities. Moreover, ministers should be able to unite people to a common cause. This type of leadership will not only keep the church running smoothly, but it will also provide the support all members need to keep growing in their faith.
Ministry is far more complex than most people understand. However, with these five skills, it is possible for a minister to help their church flourish Sunday mornings and beyond.