A preacher is a person who delivers sermons or homilies on religious topics to an assembly of people. Less common are preachers who preach on the street, or those whose message is not necessarily religious, but who preach components such as a moral or social worldview or philosophy.
Preachers are common throughout most cultures. They can take the form of a Christian minister on a Sunday morning, or an Islamic Imam. A Muslim preacher in general is referred to as a dā‘ī , while one giving sermons on a Friday afternoon is called a khatib .
The sermon or homily has been an important part of Christian services since Early Christianity, and remains prominent in both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. Lay preachers sometimes figure in these traditions of worship, for example the Methodist local preachers, but in general preaching has usually been a function of the clergy. The Dominican Order is officially known as the Order of Preachers (Ordo Praedicatorum in Latin); friars of this order were trained to publicly preach in vernacular languages, and the order was created by Saint Dominic to preach to the Cathars of southern France in the early thirteenth century. The Franciscans are another important preaching order; Travelling preachers, usually friars, were an important feature of late medieval Catholicism.
In most denominations, modern preaching is kept below about 40 minutes, but historic preachers of all denominations could at times speak for well over an hour, sometimes for two or three hours,and use techniques of rhetoric and theatre that are today somewhat out of fashion in mainline churches.
In many churches in the United States, the title "Preacher" is synonymous with "pastor" or "minister", and the church's minister is often referred to simply as "our/the preacher" or by name such as "Preacher Smith". However, among some Chinese churches, preacher (Chinese: 傳道) is different from pastor (Chinese: 牧師). A preacher in the Protestant church is one of the younger clergy, but they are not officially recognised as pastors until they can prove their capability of leading the church.
In certain Christian churches, holy orders are ordained ministries such as bishop, priest, or deacon, and the sacrament or rite by which candidates are ordained to those orders. Churches recognizing these orders include the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglican, Assyrian, Old Catholic, Independent Catholic and some Lutheran churches. Except for Lutherans and some Anglicans, these churches regard ordination as a sacrament. The Anglo-Catholic tradition within Anglicanism identifies more with the Roman Catholic position about the sacramental nature of ordination.
The United Methodist Church (UMC) is a worldwide mainline Protestant denomination based in the United States, and a major part of Methodism. In the 19th century, its main predecessor, the Methodist Episcopal Church, was a leader in evangelicalism. The present denomination was founded in 1968 in Dallas, Texas, by union of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church. The UMC traces its roots back to the revival movement of John and Charles Wesley in England, as well as the Great Awakening in the United States. As such, the church's theological orientation is decidedly Wesleyan. It embraces liturgical, holiness, and evangelical elements.
Clergy are formal leaders within established religions. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's doctrines and practices. Some of the terms used for individual clergy are clergyman, clergywoman, and churchman. Less common terms are churchwoman and clergyperson, while cleric and clerk in holy orders both have a long history but are rarely used.
Presbyterianpolity is a method of church governance typified by the rule of assemblies of presbyters, or elders. Each local church is governed by a body of elected elders usually called the session or consistory, though other terms, such as church board, may apply. Groups of local churches are governed by a higher assembly of elders known as the presbytery or classis; presbyteries can be grouped into a synod, and presbyteries and synods nationwide often join together in a general assembly. Responsibility for conduct of church services is reserved to an ordained minister or pastor known as a teaching elder, or a minister of the word and sacrament.
The Reverend is an honorific style most often placed before the names of Christian clergy and ministers. There are sometimes differences in the way the style is used in different countries and church traditions. The Reverend is correctly called a style but is often and in some dictionaries called a title, form of address or title of respect. The style is also sometimes used by leaders in non-Christian religions, such as Judaism.
A sermon is an oration or lecture by a preacher. Sermons address a scriptural, theological, or moral topic, usually expounding on a type of belief, law, or behavior within both past and present contexts. Elements of the sermon often include exposition, exhortation, and practical application. The act of delivering a sermon is called preaching.
A pastor is the leader of a Christian congregation who also gives advice and counsel to people from the community or congregation. In Protestantism, pastor may be ordained or not while in the Catholic Church and Orthodox Churches, the pastor is always an ordained priest. Pastors are to act like shepherds by caring for the flock, and this care includes teaching. The New Testament typically uses the words “bishops” and “presbyter” to indicate the ordained leadership in early Christianity. Likewise, Peter instructs these particular servants to “act like shepherds” as they “oversee” the flock of God. The words “bishop” and “presbyter” were sometimes used in an interchangeable way, such as in Titus 1:5-6. However, there is ongoing dispute between branches of Christianity over whether there is two ordained classes or three. In traditional Christianity bishops, priests and deacons are recognised who have been ordained with apostolic lineage. In most Protestant denominations, in contrast, bishops are rejected, as well as the doctrine of apostolic succession.
Ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated, that is, set apart and elevated from the laity class to the clergy, who are thus then authorized to perform various religious rites and ceremonies. The process and ceremonies of ordination vary by religion and denomination. One who is in preparation for, or who is undergoing the process of ordination is sometimes called an ordinand. The liturgy used at an ordination is sometimes referred to as an ordination.
A pulpit is a raised stand for preachers in a Christian church. The origin of the word is the Latin pulpitum. The traditional pulpit is raised well above the surrounding floor for audibility and visibility, accessed by steps, with sides coming to about waist height. From the late medieval period onwards, pulpits have often had a canopy known as the sounding board or abat-voix above and sometimes also behind the speaker, normally in wood. Though sometimes highly decorated, this is not purely decorative, but can have a useful acoustic effect in projecting the preacher's voice to the congregation below. Most pulpits have one or more book-stands for the preacher to rest his or her bible, notes or texts upon.
In religious organizations, the laity consists of all members who are not part of the clergy, usually including any non-ordained members of religious institutes, e.g. a nun or lay brother.
A church service is a formalized period of Christian communal worship, often held in a church building. It often but not exclusively occurs on Sunday, or Saturday in the case of those churches practicing seventh-day Sabbatarianism. The church service is the gathering together of Christians to be taught the 'Word of God' and encouraged in their faith. Technically, the "church" in "church service" refers to the gathering of the faithful rather than to the building in which it takes place. In most Christian traditions, services are presided over by clergy wherever possible.
In Christianity, a minister is a person authorized by a church or other religious organization to perform functions such as teaching of beliefs; leading services such as weddings, baptisms or funerals; or otherwise providing spiritual guidance to the community. The term is taken from Latin minister, which itself was derived from minus ("less").
The Geneva gown, also called a pulpit gown, pulpit robe, or preaching robe, is an ecclesiastical garment customarily worn by ordained ministers in the Christian churches that arose out of the historic Protestant Reformation. It is particularly associated with Protestant churches of the Reformed and Methodist tradition.
In Christianity, worship is the act of attributing reverent honour and homage to God. In the New Testament, various words are used to refer to the term worship. One is proskuneo which means to bow down to God or kings.
A clerical collar, clergy collar, Roman collar, is an item of Christian clerical clothing. The collar closes at the back of the neck, presenting a seamless front. The shirt may have the collar built in. The clerical collar is almost always white and was originally made of cotton or linen but is now frequently made of plastic. Sometimes it is attached with a collaret or collarino that covers the white collar almost completely, except for a small white square at the base of the throat, and sometimes with the top edge of the collar exposed to mimic the collar of a cassock. It may simply be a detachable tab of white in the front of the clerical shirt. The clerical shirt is traditionally black, but today is available in a variety of colors depending on the wearer's preference. Once the clerical collar is removed the garment is indistinguishable from any other shirt. When clergy are delivering sermons, they sometimes attach preaching bands to their clerical collar.
A religious is, in the terminology of many Western Christian denominations, such as the Catholic Church, Lutheran Churches, and Anglican Communion, what in common language one would call a "monk" or "nun", as opposed to an ordained "priest". A religious may also be a priest if he has undergone ordination, but in general he is not.
Ecclesiastical polity is the operational and governance structure of a church or of a Christian denomination. It also denotes the ministerial structure of a church and the authority relationships between churches. Polity relates closely to ecclesiology, the study of doctrine and theology relating to church organization.
Youth ministry, also commonly referred to as youth group, is an age-specific religious ministry. Faith groups or other religious organizations carry out youth ministry to involve and engage with young people who attend their places of worship, or who live in their community. Christian youth ministry usually encompasses one or more of the following:
Raniero Cantalamessa is an Italian Catholic priest in the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin and theologian. He has served as the Preacher to the Papal Household since 1980, under Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Christianity: