The Ministry of the Elder

Elders lead and serve the entire church in the ministries of Word, Sacrament, Order, and Service. The elder has primary responsibility for Word, the apostolic task of communicating the faith and proclaiming God’s Word. This includes primary responsibility for the preaching and teaching ministry, although preaching in the United Methodist tradition also includes the lay minister, the local pastor, and the associate member. The elder is responsible for administering the sacraments and ordering the ministry of the church. Most elders serve as pastors in charge of local congregations. However, elders may be appointed to extension ministries (¶343), and serve in a variety of settings. Bishops and district superintendents are chosen from among ordained elders, because the ordering of ministry and administering the Discipline are the elders’ responsibilities.