The Connexional framework for Local Lay-Pastors is designed to help Circuits release people for ministry in response to the call of God’s Spirit, local needs and opportunities, and gifts among the people of God.

As roles have developed in recent years, it was apparent that those Circuits who conducted a review of ministry and mission prior to decisions about the sort of roles needed were seeing people thrive. It is not meant to make individuals feel that their job might be at risk and so employers should ensure that reviews are done supportively. Circuits should explore opportunities for people to use their gifts, skills and knowledge to enable all people to flourish in ministry.

Reviews enable Circuits to look at the whole picture, which includes the needs and opportunities of different churches and the gifts and strengths of those already part of ministry in the Circuit. You may find the Reviewing Mission and Ministry Prompts helpful.

Different churches find themselves in different phases of their life, in varying contexts, with their own needs and opportunities – matching people’s gifts and strengths to these is key.

There is opportunity during the review phase to plan to release people from work that is not their particular calling to where God is calling them. Therefore, effective planning of roles enables this releasing to happen, alongside recruiting people that might bring gifts and strengths that respond to needs not met or may not be met in the future.

When Circuits develop how their ministry looks, it is important this is communicated widely. Local churches, congregations and gathered communities need to know how the ministry is shared across the Circuit. Advance planning of how this is done will ensure smooth transition into the new model.

The review may or may not lead to the appointment of Local Lay-Pastors, but it is vital in ensuring the collaborative ministry model is effective.

The review should lead to decisions about how the different ministry roles within the Circuit (including lay, ordained, employed, volunteer) might look, including responsibilities and the work that the different roles will do in the life of the Circuit. This is where creative thinking can lead to the release of people to truly live out their vocation.

The model that arises out of the review should be time-limited and subject to a further review after a specific amount of time. This will relate to the stationing of ministers and budget. Another review should take place after this time and match the changing context of mission and ministry.

While Standing Orders require a review to be conducted before appointing a Local Lay-Pastor, the form this review takes is open and so that Circuit can decide the approach that will work best. The Circuit Meeting must agree the model.

Many Districts have individuals who are appointed to roles with a focus on supporting Circuits and Churches in mission planning, such as District Mission Enablers. It is worth checking if your Distrcit has anyone who can support. The Learning Network and the Evangelism and Growth Team are also available to support mission and ministry reviews and more information can be found at the following links:

Reviewing Mission and Ministry

Mission Planning