Inviting the appropriate ministers, overseeing finance and supporting local churches as they tackle the challenges of being church in the 21st century are top of the agenda for the circuit steward. However, worshipping God is the central pursuit of the Methodist Church so the starting point for all circuit stewards is their relationship with God and other Christians; meeting together for worship and friendship to sustain their service to the church and people of the circuit.

As well as regular practical challenges circuit stewards are also commissioned to take on strategic leadership decisions. Because the role gives a panoramic view of the circuit, stewards are able to help co-ordinate the development of evangelism and mission within local churches in their area.

Circuit stewards have to strike the right balance between the practical and spiritual responsibilities of their role and, because the role carries increased responsibility, it may be a good idea for potential stewards to scale back other commitments in the local church.

Along with ministers, probationers and other circuit stewards, stewards form a leadership team. This means they take responsibility for the spiritual direction and wellbeing of the churches in their circuit.


Some of the circuit stewards' duties

Not every steward will do all of these things, but the team of circuit stewards will share in these responsibilities working to individual strengths and gifts.

  • exercising a general pastoral care for the circuit staff and their families
  • meeting as a leadership team at least twice a year, before the Circuit Meeting
  • keeping yourselves informed of the activities of each local church
  • being aware of district and connexional policies affecting the circuit and its churches
  • being sensitive to the needs of the circuit, and its officers and staff
  • informing yourselves of developing movements in Methodism and the wider Church
  • being alert to, and taking advice on, the legal consequences of this office and its responsibilities, eg lay employment, finance, property
  • developing a vision and plan for mission within the circuit, ensuring appropriate consultation.
  • invite ministers to serve in the circuit and give a warm welcome to new ministers and their families when they move to the circuit.
  • collaborate with other circuit stewards as treasurers of the Circuit Fund. Among other things this fund pays the stipends for presbyters, deacons and probationers.
  • look after the houses in which ministers live while they serve in a circuit. 
  • plan induction courses for new presbyters, deacons and pastoral workers, covering issues such as 
    • information about the community
    • the ethos of the local church 
    • what resources are available for collaborative ministry between the circuit staff and for ecumenical work 
    • what resources are available for collaborative work with local community 
    • holidays, days off and places for retreat 
    • how pastoral support may be offered in the future