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Priesthood Office Descriptions PDF Print E-mail

The following priesthood office descriptions were shared at the Central USA Mission Center priesthood retreat on September 19, 2009. They were compiled from various Community of Christ resources.

Bishop | Deacon | Elder | Evangelist | High Priest | Missionary Elder | Priest | Seventy | Teacher

Bishop

As a minister of generosity the bishop shares the peace of Jesus Christ and promotes communities of justice and peacefulness. The bishop models "Jesus as one who gives and receives Grace" when expressing his or her ministry with individuals and families, in community and in congregations.

Bishops are world church ministers who share in congregations, mission centers, and the World Church by bridging cultures and people through a broader understanding of stewardship and economic diversity. As leaders and mentors, bishops support and train Aaronic ministers through developing temporal ministries. Bishops stand for peace and justice and to act as advocates for local and global economic justice. Bishops foster spiritual growth and wholeness in the church through an understanding of generosity and the stewardship response of time, talent, and financial resources. Bishops encourage, teach, and guide the church in the principles of generosity and Disciples' Generous Response.

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Deacon

As a minister of presence the deacon shares the peace of Jesus Christ and promotes communities of justice and peacefulness. The deacon models "Jesus as Comforter" when expressing his or her ministry of service nurturing individuals and families in the community and congregation.

As a minister of Jesus Christ, the deacon seeks out the needs of the poor, the sick, the helpless, and the unloved to provide assistance through the stewardship response of time, talent, and financial resources. The deacon is sensitive to the spiritual, physical, and temporal needs of individuals and families of the congregation. They welcome all who come to church and provide a comforting environment for worship and fellowship. A deacon values the variety of form and style for worship and assists in preparing the people for worship. Through the ministries of preparation, the sacraments of the church can enrich the spiritual life of the body. A deacon organizes and responds to the needs of the congregation as they model the ministry of Jesus through caring and sharing with individuals and families of the church. A deacon provides ministry as a leader and is an exemplary steward who is able to teach others the wise use of agency and accountability.

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Elder

As a minister of mission the elder shares the peace of Jesus Christ and promotes communities of justice and peacefulness. The elder models "Jesus as Servant" when expressing his or her ministry with individuals and families, in community and in congregations.

The ministry of the elder is to bring people to Christ. Elders bring meaning and hope into the lives of people through the acts of preaching, teaching, presiding, leading, serving, and officiating of the sacraments. Through the sacraments, the church offers its members and friends a way of understanding and sharing in a deeper spiritual reality. Elders are servant ministers who preside or serve in congregations in direct and tangible ways. Elders serve as teachers and guides working alongside other disciples to grasp an understanding of the specific activities of ministry and the larger mission of the church. Thus, when disciples clean the church, teach a class, or serve food to the homeless these concrete acts contribute to the whole mission and vision of Gods Peaceable Kingdom on earth. Elders help other disciples to understand these connections as they proclaim Jesus Christ and promote communities of joy, hope, love, and peace. An elder is a living expression of Christ's peace in the communities where they live, work, and worship.

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Evangelist

As a minister of blessing the evangelist shares the peace of Jesus Christ and promotes communities of justice and peacefulness. The evangelist models "Jesus as Companion" when expressing his or her ministry with individuals in community and in congregations.

Evangelists are servant ministers of spiritual vigor, having deep faith in God, serving with unreserved consecration and love for people. Evangelists nurture individuals and communities in their spiritual growth, equipping each one for their unique service. Evangelists seek to build up the body in unity of faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, so others may become mature to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Evangelists officiate in all sacraments of the church including the evangelist's blessing. The evangelist blessing is a sacred rite of the church that can help people to recognize the divine nature of God that lives within them. Through response to this divine presence, the evangelist blessing can nurture and assure people of their identity and eternal worth before God. Evangelists serve the body as spiritual companion, apostolic witness, teacher/learner, and a pastoral presence. The evangelist shares the journey of spiritual development with others and strives to develop within themselves and others an authentic relationship with God and a deep sense of God's Spirit in all of life.

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High Priest

As a minister of vision the high priest shares the peace of Jesus Christ and promotes communities of justice and peacefulness. The high priest models "Jesus as mentor" when expressing his or her ministry with individuals and families, in community and in congregations.

High priests are world church ministers who stand in the breach between what is and what is yet to be. They are ministers of Christ who stand for peace and justice, bridge cultures and people, and foster spiritual growth and wholeness. As bridging ministers, high priests honor the past and envision the future. They keep the vision of God's peaceable kingdom before the people as they communicate the church's identity, message, mission, and beliefs. High priests communicate the profound difference that tithing makes in the life of individuals, communities, and the world. High priests use their skills and talents to improve leadership effectiveness and build support systems for congregations and communities. High priests officiate in the sacraments of the church and are to be spiritually sensitive as they preach, teach, counsel, and offer comfort as ministers of Jesus Christ.

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Missionary Elder

As a minister of mission the elder shares the peace of Jesus Christ and promotes communities of justice and peacefulness. The missionary elder models "Jesus as Witness" when expressing his or her ministry with families, in community and in congregations.

The focus of a ministry for missionary elder is to proclaim a vibrant witness of Jesus Christ within the church and throughout the community. Missionary elders work alongside the seventy to create opportunities of invitation through witnessing support groups and ministry designed to grow disciples. Missionary elders are to be leaders within the body of the church who encourage congregations to incorporate missionary elements in their use of building, pulpit ministry, sacraments, youth ministry, and community outreach. A missionary elder has a personal testimony of Jesus Christ and a passion for leading others into relationship with Christ and membership in the Community of Christ. Missionary elders engage in all the duties of an elder with a special focus on the outreach need of the congregation. This focus includes, but is not limited to, serving as a congregational missionary coordinator, conducting home missionary meetings, and training and mentoring others in missionary ministries.

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Priest

As a minister of presence the priest shares the peace of Jesus Christ and promotes communities of justice and peacefulness. The priest models "Jesus as Friend" when expressing his or her ministry with families, in community and in congregations.

The Priest shares God's gift of unconditional love with individuals and families affirming the value of each ones life as a beloved child of God. The Priest interacts with families, traditional or nontraditional, to support their spiritual growth and discipleship response through prayer, knowledge of scripture, and through nurturing relationships. They extend the hand of reconciliation to those with broken hearts and spirits and help in finding pathways for healing. In congregations, the Priest, shares the ministry of Jesus Christ seeking to bring peace and wholeness into every life. The Priest officiates in baptism, the Lord's Supper, marriage, and ordination of other members of the Aaronic priesthood. Priests encourage and promote participation in congregational life. They visit homes and spend time with members and friends. They preach and teach and proclaim Jesus Christ as they lead others in the ministry of caring and shepherding. Priests advocate for members and families in the community through their involvement in the workplace, schools, civic organization, and social agencies. Priests are knowledgeable and informed about community services that may help those in need.

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Seventy

As a minister of witness the seventy shares the peace of Jesus Christ and promotes communities of justice and peacefulness. The seventy models "Jesus as one who proclaims the gospel" when expressing his or her ministry with individuals and families, in community and in congregations.

The seventy preach the gospel and are to be an especial witness in the world. Seventy develop strategies and organize resources to implement the missionary task of the church. The seventy are World Church ministers who work closely with the field apostle and mission center leadership. They are to travel continually as they endeavor to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in the world. According to instruction found in Section 163 of the Doctrine and Covenants, "The seventy are to be the forerunners of Christ's peace, preparing the way for apostolic witness to be more readily received." They work closely with the Council of Twelve Apostles to "accelerate the work of sharing the gospel" and in "implementing wholistic evangelistic ministries."

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Teacher

As a minister of presence the teacher shares the peace of Jesus Christ and promotes communities of justice and peacefulness. The teacher models "Jesus as Peacemaker" when expressing his or her ministry of reconciliation with individuals and families in the community and congregation.

A teacher is a minister who endeavors to develop a healing, redeeming, and prayerful environment. They are sensitive to the needs of the congregation and encourage participation and inclusion of all in sharing the blessings of community. A teacher upholds the worth of all people through respect and compassion for each ones life journey. A teacher helps individuals build positive self-images and self-esteem. Peacemaking and conflict resolution are a primary focus of a teacher's ministry. They promote awareness for peace and justice issues in the church as well as local communities and global concerns. The teacher fosters positive communication and helps people to build relationships based on love, respect, and acceptance. A teacher is instrumental in promoting an environment that is ready to listen and slow to criticize.

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