Article 16 — Task of ministers
The task of ministers is to faithfully lead in prayer, preach the Word and administer the sacraments. They shall watch over their fellow office-bearers and over the congregation. Together with the elders they shall exercise church discipline and see to it that everything is done decently and in good order.
In this revised version of the Church Order the word “office” has been substituted by “task”. This means that the element of someone having been appointed by a higher authority, e.g. the civil government – has been lost. On the other hand, in previous articles wherein the word “office” was used it was sufficiently emphasized that one is appointed to the office of the minister of the Word by being called by Christ through His congregation.
The contents of this article are an elaboration on what we confess in our Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 30:
There should be ministers or pastors to preach the Word of God and to administer the sacraments.
Six different elements are summed up:
1. he must faithfully lead in prayer;
2. he must faithfully preach the Word;
3. he must faithfully administer the sacraments;
4. he shall watch over his fellow office-bearers and over the congregation;
5. together with the elders he shall exercise church discipline;
6. together with the elders he shall ensure that everything is done decently and in good order, which sentence is again referring to 1 Corinthians 14: 40, the Scriptural basis of our Church Order.
It may be remarkable that catechism and visiting the sick, etcetera, are not mentioned, but perhaps consideration could be given to this to be included in the second element, that of the preaching of God’s Word.
A further exposition of the task of the ministers is given in the Form for the Ordination of Ministers of God’s Word.