Getting the best for Local Preachers

The Methodist Church is carrying out a major review of trainingand support for local preachers throughout Great Britain.

This week, questionnaires and discussion documents have been sentto all circuit local preachers' secretaries and circuitsuperintendents inviting them to facilitate a review of continuingdevelopment programmes for Britain's 10,000 local preachers.

Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, General Secretary of the Methodist Church,said; "Local preachers are essential to the life and ministry ofthe Church. As a team, we are committed to listening to localpreachers about their needs and concerns so that we can offer thembetter support and training, helping them to live out their callingto the full."

The first phase of the consultation will ask local preachers aboutwhat kind of continuing development programmes they would find mosthelpful. Each local preachers' meeting has been asked to encourageall local preachers present to complete a questionnaire aboutexisting and future continuing development provision. Each meetingis also being asked to discuss what the major challenges are forlocal preachers today and how they can best be supported in theirministry. Documentation to support the consultation is availableonline at www.methodist.org.uk/lpconsultation.

Speaking of the Church's duty to nurture and uphold the ministry oflocal preachers, Revd Dr Mark Wakelin, Secretary for InternalRelationships, said; "Sitting in a pew I want the person leading toknow that they are not simply there to fill a plan appointment, butbecause God has called them, that the Church recognises this andhad tried to equip and support that call. I have been most helpedwhen a preacher exudes a sense of their worth and value as God'smessenger."

A second consultation phase in spring 2010 will specificallyconsider Faith and Worship, the local preachers' trainingcourse.