Minister vs Pastor: Difference and Comparison

A church is a spiritual place for Christians. In the New Testament, a building is never described as a church; it is called an Ecclesia, a Greek word called the called-out ones. In other words, the Bible identifies people who trust Jesus for salvation as a community or believers.

In other words, it is a Christian house of worship where religious activities occur.

A minister and a pastor play an essential role in a church, as without them, the words of God cannot be, or won’t be, passed on to the people, the believers. Both the minister and pastor are considered to be the heralds of the world who lead people in their spiritual way.

They are the preachers and act as an intermediator and perform spiritual or religious activities.

Key Takeaways

  1. A minister is a term used to refer to an individual who provides religious services and works in various settings. In contrast, a pastor refers to someone who leads a Christian congregation.
  2. Ministers have a broader scope of duties, including counseling, teaching, or social work, while pastors focus primarily on leading their congregations.
  3. “Minister” is used in a non-denominational context, while “pastor” is associated with specific Christian denominations such as Baptist, Methodist, or Presbyterian.

Minister vs Pastor

Minister is a person that carries out religious functions such as teaching, coordinating church activities, preaching, and carrying out ministerial sacraments. Pastor is the title given to the religious head of a church and is in charge of counseling the members of the religious gathering.

Minister vs Pastor


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonMinisterPastor
MeaningA Minister is a person who performs religious functions such as teaching.A pastor is the religious head of a single church.
Roles and responsibilitiesThe minister has to coordinate church activities such as administration, teaching, preaching, religious sacraments, etc.The pastor has to advise and counsel the members and citizens, preach, teach, do sermons, etc.
MarriageThe rule regarding priests, ministers, and pastors getting married depends upon the denominations.Like the Minister, the question of marriage depends upon the denomination or church like Roman Catholic; priests are not allowed to get married.
TitlesA Minister can also be addressed as a pastor, father, or reverend.Like a Minister, a pastor can also be addressed as a father, pastor, or reverend.
Eligibility/ QualificationsA person who aspires to become a Minister must have a sense of calling; the other qualification depends upon the denomination. Such as, some require mandatory attendance in tertiary education.The qualification depends upon the denomination, as some denominations prefer a person with either bachelor’s or master’s degree.


What is Minister?

A minister is a person authorized by a church or any other religious organization to perform religious activities such as preaching, teaching the words of God, and sacrament services like marriage, holy order, baptism, etc. He is referred to as an ordained priest and can also perform the duties of a pastor, priest, teacher, prophet, healer, bishop (primary clerk), and various other roles.

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They are known as the servants of God and shepherds of the flock of sheep; here, sheep refers to the people, the believers, or the community. Minister is a watchman who oversees the people and feeds them the words of God, as expected by the will of God.

Ministers help to

  1. coordinate the working the volunteers and church community
  2. perform marriage rituals
  3. funeral
  4. community services
  5. confirming young people as members of the church
  6. preach
  7. teach
  8. engage himself in the welfare of the society
  9. pray and encourage others to do the same
  10. to walk on the path of the lord
  11. assist in general services of the church, teach the spiritual
  12. refer people for community welfare
  13. provide leadership to the parish
  14. supervise the prayer
  15. research and study religion
  16. plan and coordinate the church services for public
  17. Offer prayers to those who are interested in becoming the members
  18. attain salvation
  19. assist in any administrational service

In other words, they are leaders of the church.


What is Pastor?

A pastor is the oldest person who steps up to perform the duties of a religious head. As described in the Bible, 1 Peter 5, a pastor is the shepherd who leads the flock of sheep and serves as an example or role model to those he does.

A pastor is expected to teach the things related to a sound doctrine by rightly dividing the word of truth. It is his explicit duty to interpret the word of God rightly.

A pastor is a Bible teacher, preacher, and, most importantly, a theologian. A theologian is a person who is an expert in theology, such as Historical Theology, Practical Theology, Systematic Theology, and Exegetical theology.

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A pastor has to be a natural theologian, as he is responsible for preaching God’s words to the populace. He has spiritual authority over a group of people.

He advises and counsels community people; he is an ordained priest.


Main Differences Between Minister and Pastor

  1. A minister is not expected to do the duties of a pastor. However, a pastor is expected to be aware of the roles and responsibilities of a minister.
  2. The minister’s and pastor’s question of marriage depends upon the denomination they serve.
  3. A minister has a large pool of applicants as youth can also aspire to become a minister in a church, whereas, on the other hand, a pastor is the oldest person who functions as a religious head.
  4. Unlike a pastor, a minister is found commonly in Protestant churches.
  5. A person can be a minister without being a pastor. However, on the contrary, a pastor has to be a minister as well.
Difference Between Minister and Pastor


Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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