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Exploring Ministry Careers

November 30, 2017

Man in shirt and tie praying with hands over bible.

A follower of Christ can give glory to God and serve Him in virtually any career choice. Of course, there are a number of ministry careers that make a more direct connection. Careers in ministry as well as careers in education, counseling and other fields focus on supporting the kingdom of God.

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ…

Ephesians 4:11-12 (NKJV)

Types of Careers in Ministry


Clergy members are responsible for shepherding the flock of God as overseers until the Chief Shepherd returns (1 Peter 5:4). Pastors, preachers and related titles assume a number of important functions within the church, including: spiritual leadership of the church; care and counseling; performing weddings, baptisms and funerals; and other managerial and leadership responsibilities.

Clergy members earn a mean annual wage of $49,450, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).


Ministry directors serve in leadership roles at churches. Often, they oversee a certain ministry at the church. For instance, common titles include director of worship or director of children’s ministry. These individuals have direct leadership responsibilities that are linked to the spiritual development of people at a church.

Religious activities and education directors earn a mean annual wage of $44,840, according to the BLS.



Christian missionaries make disciples and followers of Christ. They follow the Great Commission, Christ’s command to: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mathew 28:19-20).

Missionaries share the Gospel with others, build communities and churches, lead Bible studies and proclaim the truth of Christ in many other ways. Missions can occur internationally or domestically; some even in a missionary’s own community. While the location and specific ministries that missionaries may engage in can change, the focus is still the same.

The BLS does not track employment data for missionaries.

Other Ministry Careers


Church administration positions guide and direct the critical functions that help churches meet their long-term goals. These positions can look considerably different from church to church. A small church may only have one church administrator who is responsible for certain programs and ministries. But at a larger church, individuals may be in charge of specific areas, such as finance, communications or HR.

The BLS does not track employment data for church administration positions.


Christian counseling integrates religious and spiritual aspects that are absent from traditional psychotherapy and other approaches. For issues like anxiety, stress, depression and trauma, Christian counselors maintain a psychological understanding of mental illness but draw upon a Christian understanding of grace and sin. Christian counselors typically work in Christian mental health clinics but are fully trained to work in secular environments. A faith-based online master’s degree in mental health counseling can lead to work in Christian and secular counseling environments.

Mental health counselors earn a mean annual wage of $46,050, according to the BLS.


Teachers who work in faith-based schools educate students while integrating biblical principles into curricula. Education in these environments incorporates spiritual development and a focus on truth in Christ.

In private schools, elementary teachers earn a median annual wage of $44,550, and secondary teachers earn a median wage of $51,810, according to the BLS.

Answering the Call to Serve

Grace College offers flexible programs for individuals looking to serve Christ in their careers. The online master’s in ministry studies can lead to positions in a number of ministry areas and includes three available concentrations: camp administration, women’s leadership studies and counseling. An online nonprofit management degree is ideal for administrative and director positions in and outside of church environments.

All programs at Grace integrate biblical concepts and prepare graduates for a life of serving Christ.