Public Ministry Of Word And Sacrament In The Church

In Baptism, God sets everyone free to live lives of love and service. All are called to love God and love neighbor. Christians call the many and various ways in which people carry out this work, baptismal vocation.

Some people are called to vocations in the church. They are called to serve the church as pastors, bishops, deacons and deaconesses. These people are set apart in some way for these roles of servant-leadership — a type of baptismal vocation.


Pastors are set apart for the ministry of proclaiming God’s living Word of love, and for the administration of the Sacraments — the means of knowing God’s love. Bishops are set aside to oversee the work of the church. Deacons and deaconesses are set apart to serve those in need in many and various ways.

All these people are entrusted by the church to love God’s people even as God loves. In this way, persons set apart for ministry make a public commitment to be faithful to God’s love in community, to be faith to the Gospel. 


Ministry of any sort is public. It begins in public, takes place in public and ends in public. Persons exercising public ministry — ordained or otherwise — at once serve the community and are supported by the community. As such, particularly with regard to the public ministry of Word and Sacrament, it is the assembled community, presided at by the Bishop, which speaks for the whole people of God — the church — in receiving a person as a messenger of Jesus Christ sent to serve God’s people with the Gospel of hope and salvation.