“Ministry In the Methodist Church” Report Summary and Offer of two discussion sessions in early January 2020
Is God calling you?
Have you ever thought about the shape of Ministry in the Methodist Church?
Particularly as the world changes so rapidly around us and our opportunities for ministry are increasingly outside of our church buildings.
Quickly I must say that I am not checking whether God is calling you to ordained ministry, although of course he may be!
We are each called to respond to God’s calling in many diverse ways. That calling may ask us to respond either inside or outside the walls of our churches and in its’ widest sense this call may be described as “Ministry”.
A lengthy and far reaching piece of work was commissioned by the Methodist Conference in 2014 to address “The theology and nature of lay and ordained ministry in the Methodist Church.” This resulted in the report to the 2018 Conference a link to which can be found at the bottom of this article.
This is a very thorough piece of work and as a resulting report is 56 pages long.
To draw what I think is the essence of the report into a short paragraph is difficult but my summary would be.
There is a desire for a much wider emphasis on the vocation of the whole people of God.
That our calling must be recognised as including ministry where we are and in a multitude of different ways.
The report also charges those who are ordained to enable this breadth of ministry to happen.
As the report says “We are together called and set apart. Within each portion of the people of God some are further set apart within the body (usually through ordination) to enable the Church to fulfil its calling, but all participate in the ministry of the Church.”
The report highlighted the need for more opportunities in local churches, Circuits and Districts to talk about Ministry and to celebrate the many and varies responses to God’s love and grace.
In particular, it highlighted that although the Methodist Church has agreed that the ministry of the whole people of God in the world is the “primary and normative” ministry of the Church, those people who are called to ministry outside the walls of the church – those who exercise ministry every day in offices, homes, hospitals, shops and schools – often feel overlooked and under-resourced by the Church.
There is a significant gap between what we say about ministry and the priorities that our actions, as a Church, seem to suggest. The report and the resources being produced to support it aim to help us, together, to begin to bridge that gap.
We are currently in a period of formal consultation around the draft Statement on Ministry in the Methodist Church to which Districts, Circuits and Local Churches are invited to respond. Comments can be sent to the Secretary of the Faith and Order Committee (email@example.com) by 1 February 2020.
Although we have not had time to arrange a suitable discussion forum yet, I do think it would be helpful to have such an opportunity and would propose that I will hold two sessions in the second week of January 2020 to start this exploration. That will both allow some feedback to the Connexion if we have any but will also be helpful to us as a Circuit as we plan for the future.
If you would be interested in attending such a discussion could you please let me know so that I can gauge whether this is worth pursuing.
Thanks very much.