The term religious worker is a very broad term that covers a broad group of people. Some of the major religious workers include pastors, priest, wiccans and missionaries. They work in the Christian faith or as followers of a non-Christian doctrine. The lay people of the world religions make up the largest group of religious workers. This is a largely volunteer group that works or serves as a part of their worship. The Christians claim to teach how to follow truth and righteousness whereas some of the non-Christians claim to teach how to serve the dark powers of the spiritual world.
Religious workers are made up of elected, appointed and called ministers of their particular faith system. The Catholic Pope is the most well known elected religious figure in the world. Most if not all faith systems have appointed officials that serve their congregations. This includes some self-appointed religious workers. Many religious workers feel called to their work by a higher power that enlightens and empowers them to serve. Religious workers may serve for specified terms or they may have a lifetime appointment. Depending on the faith system, there may be procedures to remove some religious workers from their duties.
Religious workers have varied duties based on their particular faith system. They may serve as the head of a body like a priest or a pastor or they may serve in far away lands as missionaries. Religious workers in some faith systems may serve by following the teachings of a faith system passed down through many generations. But in some faith systems, religious workers serve as they feel led by the god that they serve.
While some religious workers serve local congregations others may serve in far away lands. These missionaries leave their homes and everything familiar to go minister to people groups far and near. They hope to draw converts to their faith and to indoctrinate or disciple them in the faith.
One major difference between religious workers is that some are paid for their labor while others volunteer their time and effort. Ministry work is very lucrative for some religious workers that get salaries and benefits commensurate with those of CEO's of large companies. But the vast majority of paid religious workers make a below average salary. In some underdeveloped nations, a religious worker may even get paid in chickens or goats in place of a monetary currency.
There are written records of religious workers from the beginning of mankind. Religious leaders can be people of great influence and have inspired men to war (Osama Bin Laden) and to peace (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.). But it may very well be the religious worker that has the frequent face-to-face contact with the common man that has the greatest impact on the day-to-day life of the common man.