In most Protestant churches, a minister is a member of the ordained clergy who leads a congregation; such a person may also be called a pastor, preacher, or elder. In many churches, ministers are required to be seminary trained although some churches allow laymen to preach. Compare with priest. In Catholic churches, not only ordained deacons, priests and bishops, are ministers, but there are also lay ministers, including lectors who read scriptural passages to the congregation, altar servers, and extraordinary ministers of communion.
A minister is a politician who heads a government ministry or department (e.g. education, finance, health, state, war etc...). Senior ministers are members of the cabinet, usually led by a prime minister or president.
The term "minister" comes from a Latin word meaning a "servant" (or first servant). In some countries (such as the US, Britain), such a person is instead known as a secretary or secretary of state.
Until the late 20th Century, ambassadors were also called ministers, ie: "Minister for Cuba" or "Minister for France."
A few ministers:
- 17th Century
- Jean-Baptiste Colbert, French Minister of Finance
- François-Michel le Tellier, French Minister of War
- 20th Century
- Joseph Goebbels, German Minister of Propaganda
- Moshe Dayan, Israeli Minister of Defense
- Sheila Copps, Canadian Minister of Heritage
- 21st Century
- Ali Shamkhani, Iranian Minister of Defense
- Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Iraqi Minister of Information
Lists of ministers