What is Christian Ministry? An Introductory Guide

Are you feeling called to serve God and make a difference in the lives of others? Christian ministry might be the path for you. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll answer the question “what is Christian ministry?” as we explore the definition of Christian ministry, provide examples, discuss potential jobs, outline the required training and education for ministry careers, and help you decide whether to pursue a career in Christian ministry.

Defining Christian Ministry

At its core, Christian ministry is the act of serving others and spreading the message of Jesus Christ. It involves living out one’s faith through actions that demonstrate love, compassion, and service to those in need. Christian ministry can take many forms, from leading a congregation to volunteering at a local charity, but the ultimate goal is always to glorify God and share His love with the world.

To be involved in Christian ministry is to be a faithful follower of Jesus. Disciples who are involved in Christian ministry make more disciples as they build relationships, lead by example, teach biblical truth, encourage spiritual disciplines, provide practical guidance, empower others to serve, foster accountability, and multiply disciples.

Christian ministry often involves discipleship, or teaching and training others in biblical and practical theology, whether formally through the study of Scripture, or informally by modeling and example. The goal of discipleship is to create mature believers who can, in turn, disciple others, fulfilling the Great Commission given by Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20.

Examples of Christian Ministry

Christian ministry encompasses a wide range of activities and roles. Some common examples include:

  1. Pastors and church leaders who guide and nurture their congregations
  2. Missionaries who travel to different countries to share the Gospel and serve communities in need
  3. Youth ministers who work with young people to help them grow in their faith
  4. Chaplains who provide spiritual support in hospitals, prisons, and other institutions
  5. Christian counselors who offer guidance and support to individuals and families

Jobs in Christian Ministry

If you feel called to pursue a career in Christian ministry, there are numerous opportunities available. Some popular jobs in this field include:

  1. Pastor or Associate Pastor
  2. Youth Minister
  3. Worship Leader
  4. Missionary
  5. Christian Counselor
  6. Chaplain
  7. Christian Education Director
  8. Outreach Coordinator
  9. Non-profit Organization Director
  10. Christian Writer or Speaker

Required Training and Education

To excel in Christian ministry, it’s essential to have a strong foundation in biblical knowledge and theological understanding. Many positions require a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a related Christian ministry field. Houston Christian University offers some relevant degree programs from the School of Christian Thought that you might want to consider:

  1. Christian Ministry (BA): This program provides a broad overview of Christian ministry, covering topics such as biblical studies, theology, and practical ministry skills.
  2. Biblical Studies (BA): Focused on in-depth study of the Bible, this degree equips students with the knowledge and tools to interpret and apply scripture effectively.
  3. Theological Studies (BA): This program explores the historical, philosophical, and theological foundations of the Christian faith, preparing students for advanced study or ministry roles.
  4. 5-Year BA to MDiv Degree: For those committed to a career in ministry, this accelerated program combines a bachelor’s degree with a Master of Divinity, providing a comprehensive education in just five years.
  5. Master of Divinity (MDiv): Often considered the standard degree for pastoral ministry, the MDiv covers a wide range of topics, from biblical languages to pastoral care and counseling.
  6. Master of Arts in Apologetics (MAA): This advanced degree focuses on defending the Christian faith and engaging in thoughtful dialogue with those who have questions or doubts.
  7. Master of Arts in Christian Leadership (MACL): Designed for those in leadership roles, this program develops the skills necessary to effectively guide and manage Christian organizations.
  8. Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS): This degree provides a comprehensive education in theology, biblical studies, and church history, preparing students for advanced scholarship or ministry positions.
  9. Doctor of Ministry (DMin): This advanced degree is designed for experienced ministers who want to deepen their knowledge and skills in a specific area of ministry, such as preaching, leadership, or counseling.

Deciding Whether to Pursue a Career in Christian Ministry

Deciding whether to pursue a career in Christian ministry is a personal decision that requires careful reflection, prayer, and guidance from God. Here are some factors to consider as you discern your calling:

  • Sense of calling: Do you feel a strong, persistent sense that God is leading you toward Christian ministry? This calling may manifest as a deep desire to serve others, share the Gospel, and make a difference in people’s lives.
  • Spiritual gifts and talents: Consider your unique spiritual gifts, talents, and skills. Do they align with the responsibilities and demands of Christian ministry? Examples might include teaching, leadership, compassion, and the ability to connect with people.
  • Passion for serving: Ministry can be challenging and demanding. It requires a genuine passion for serving God and others, even in difficult circumstances. Reflect on whether you find joy and fulfillment in helping others grow spiritually.
  • Willingness to learn and grow: Effective ministry requires continuous learning and growth. You should be open to developing your biblical knowledge, leadership skills, and emotional intelligence to better serve others.
  • Support from others: Seek input from trusted Christian mentors, friends, and family members who know you well. Do they affirm your gifts and sense of calling? Their support and encouragement can provide valuable confirmation.
  • Opportunities to serve: Look for opportunities to engage in ministry within your local church or community. This hands-on experience can help you discern whether ministry is the right path for you.
  • Educational requirements: Many ministry positions require specific educational qualifications, such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a related field. Consider your willingness and ability to pursue the necessary education and training.
  • Financial considerations: Ministry roles often involve financial sacrifices. Reflect on your willingness to trust God for provision and to live modestly in service to others.

Ultimately, the decision to pursue a career in Christian ministry should be based on a combination of your sense of calling, gifts, passions, and confirmation from others. If you feel strongly led toward ministry, take steps to prepare yourself spiritually, emotionally, and educationally. Trust that God will guide you and equip you for the path He has called you to walk.


Christian ministry is a challenging but rewarding calling that allows you to make a positive impact on the lives of others while serving God. Whether you feel called to be a pastor, missionary, counselor, or another role within the church or the world, there are numerous opportunities to use your gifts and talents to advance the kingdom of God.

By pursuing the necessary education and training at Houston Christian University, you can equip yourself with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively minister to others and share the love of Christ with the world.

Get started on your Christian ministry training by applying to HCU today!