The important roles of the Amish Church are fulfilled by Bishops, Deacons and Ministers. The leadership is non conventional and primarily congregational. It lacks the hierarchical structure extensively that is found in most religious bodies. A Bishop, a couple of ministers and a deacon leads the congregation and each one of them plays a pivotal role in the holy life of the Amish Church.
He is the head of the church administration in the district and is in charge of fostering discipline, ordaining the new ministers and baptizing. He is responsible for maintaining peace and decorum in the church and regulates if any change is required for progress.
Therefore being the spiritual leader of the church district he is basically the overseer. But he does not do things arbitrarily. His role is generally to decide which actions to be put to vote and not. Since the religious welfare of the state depends upon the Bishop he has this tendency to not accept change erratically and restricts technology to a great extent.
Most of the preaching services of the church are done by the Bishop. The church community when required seeks forgiveness from the Bishop. Apart from baptizing Amish youth and ordaining new ministers he also performs marriage ceremonies in the church.
The Amish Minister
Better known as the preacher the minister’s job is to assist the Bishop in all his duties and is mainly responsible for preaching in the church on Sundays. Typically each of the districts has two or three ordained ministers who hold a very coveted post and are highly respected. This is mainly because they deliver the sermons on Sundays and interact directly with the general people. Sometimes ministers from neighbouring districts also come to visit and then there is a visiting preacher on that Sunday.
These ministers are therefore typically seen as role models. Most of the time when new changes are adopted in the church; the ministry is the last ones to accept the latest innovation. May be this was to enable them to uphold the traditional values.
The Amish Deacon
The deacons have to perform a lot duties ranging from collection of alms for the poor and needy to assisting the Bishop in many issues relating to discipline and even publishing the couples who are to be married soon.
Infact a deacon’s job is said to be the most thankless in the Church. He does not preach in the church but does all the physical labour like begging for the needy and brainwashing the general public to stay away from the latest technology. Though he does not preach but does read scripture. He also handles all wedding announcements. He also at times plays the role of an interlocutor for getting approvals from both sides.
Responsibilities of the Amish Ministry
They are responsible to a great extent about the spiritual welfare of the members of the district. They meet at the Bishop’s and Ministers meetings to discuss technological changes and their impact on the Church. The ministers themselves recognize the emotional and spiritual burdens without any expectation of additional pay or recognition. They consider themselves blessed and carry out their responsibilities relentlessly.