Local Preacher FAQs

What is a Methodist local preacher?

Local preachers are those who have been accredited to preach God's word and lead the people of God in worship. Originally, the term local preacher showed the distinction between those who stayed in a local area and those who were "itinerant" and moved around the country.  These "itinerants" later became known as ministers (presbyters).  

How do you become a local preacher?

You need to first discern your own personal call to preach. Then speak to the Superintendent Minister of your circuit, they will ask you about your call to preach.

If successful the Superintendent will then recommend you to the Local Preachers' Meeting. If the Local Preachers Meeting agree, it will recommend you have a 'note to preach' to the Circuit Meeting. When the Circuit Meeting agree you have a 'note to preach' you can them commence your local preaching training.

Is there a way to train as a Local Preacher whilst serving in the Armed Forces?

Yes - there is a training pathway that takes account of the particular demands of life in the armed forces.  You would be attached to a "host circuit" who provide a tutor, with mentoring arranged through the forces' chaplaincy network.  Email us at localpreachers@methodist.org.uk for more information.  A document describing the training process can be found on the Local Preachers' Secretaries page of this website.

How old do you have to be to be a local preacher?

There is no minimum or maximum age limit.

Becoming a local preacher is a divine call; speak to your Superintendent Minister about your call to preach.

Do I need a CRB check to become a local preacher?

It is expected that both during training,and once accredited,Local Preachers and Worship Leaders will be engaged in church services which are for children, or include children and adults who may be vulnerable, (such as services in care homes, or in taking extended communion to the housebound). It is therefore required that:

  • New Worship Leaders should obtain a criminal record check before their training commences
  • New Local Preachers should obtain a criminal record check before their training commences.

To ensure consistency both within the Methodist Church and with the requirement for all Church of England Readers to undertake a DBS check, all local preacher and worship leaders who are on the plan should undertake a criminal record check.

The nature of the check (i.e. with /without a request for barring information) will depend on whether their work will be in GROUP 1 (Regulated Activity) or GROUP 2 (substantial contact.) It is most likely to be in GROUP 2 but will depend on the specific role undertaken by the individual. 

The Practice guidance for DBS checks can be found here (page 26). If you have any queries please contact the Safeguarding team at safeguarding@methodistchurch.org.uk

I am an accredited Methodist local preacher or preacher/reader/lay reader in another denomination from another country, can I preach in the Methodist Church in Britain?

Have you become a member of the Methodist Church?

If yes, your Local Preachers' meeting may recommend you to the Circuit Meeting to be admitted as a Local Preacher.  They will need to:

  • Ensure you are in good standing with your 'sending church';
  • See evidence that you completed their accredited form of training successfully;
  • know of any reason you might have ceased to be a preacher in your 'sending church';
  • Be sure that you will not preach anything at variance with our doctrines
  • Ensure you have completed the safeguarding requirements of the Methodist Church;
  • Ensure you are known to other members of the meeting who can support the application to become a local preacher;
  • Know that you have read A Catechism for the use of the People called Methodists;
  • Have heard a conversation between you and the Superintendent (or their appointed representative)  at the Local Preachers' Meeting, based around the Catechism and your call to preach;

The Local Preachers meeting may choose to grant you 'on trial' status pending the decision of the Circuit Meeting.

For further details see Standing Order 566A

I am an accredited preacher/lay reader in another denomination in Great Britain, can I preach in the Methodist Church in Great Britain?

Standing Order 566 A or B will apply. Speak to the Superintendent Minister of your current circuit for more information.

I belong to another denomination and feel called to preach in the Methodist Church, is this possible?

Standing Order 566 A or B will apply. Speak to the Superintendent Minister of your current circuit for more information.

What is a Local Preachers Meeting?

The Local Preachers Meeting is where all peoples who preach in the circuit meet and discuss the status and progress of all local preachers 'on note/trial' and it is here at this meeting that those decisions are recorded. 

As well as the status and progress of local preachers 'on note/trial' being discussed and reported at this meeting, there is an opportunity for the meeting to have discussion topics. These topics are to be set by the meeting collectively.

The Local Preachers Meeting generally meets once each quarter, and reports to the Circuit Meeting.  Additional meetings for study, discussion, worship and continuing development can be held at any time.

Who are the members of the Local Preachers Meeting?

Standing Order 560 statesthat  ministers, ministerial probationers, student ministers, persons authorised to serve the Church as ministers (under SO 733) [who are, in each case, members of the Circuit Meeting] and accredited local preachers who are members in the circuit. All these members are entitled to vote.

Worship leaders and local preachers 'on note/trial' are encouraged to attend the Local Preachers Meeting but they can not vote.

How often must I attend the Local Preachers meeting?

It is important for all local preachers, including those On Note and On Trial to attend this meeting.

Local preacher tutors/secretaries, ministers, deacons and any other persons authorised to serve (under SO 733) as ministers should attend this meeting to support the local preachers 'on note/trial'.

Who can be the Local Preacher Meeting Secretary?

It must be a member of the Local Preachers Meeting. The duty of taking minutes may be delegated by the Secretary.

When should Long Service Certificates be presented?

Certificates should be requested for the following years of service: 25, 40, 50, 60, 70 and 80. The circuit Local Preachers' Secretary should make the request using the LPWL Return Form.

Deacons: Preaching, Proclamation and their status on the plan

Are Deacons also Local Preachers?

The 2019 Methodist Conference adopted the report The Theology and Ecclesiology Underpinning the Diaconate and the Methodist Diaconal Order.  Resolution 25/5 states: The Conference affirms that preaching is part of the ministry of deacons and directs that from 1st September 2020  (a)    Deacons shall no longer be listed as Local Preachers on the Plan; (b) The list of ministers on the plan will follow in the order listed in SO 785(4)(b); (c)    All deacons will be members of the Local Preachers’ Meeting

This resolution leads to some further reflection around candidating, training and the probation period of Deacons from The Ministries Committee, Law and Polity and the diaconal Convocation all of whom will report to the 2021 Conference.

I’m a Deacon who feels called to preach, but feel the need for some specific training to prepare me.  What is available and what should I do? 

The Conference has declared that preaching is part of the ministry of all deacons.  The Ministries Team are working with the Warden of the Order about specific training options.  Information will be shared with all deacons by December 2020.

I am a Deacon who is currently training as a LP under the oversight of the LP Meeting and enjoying the study and formation in fellowship.  Do I have to stop and give up being eventually recognised as a LP?

The Conference has clarified that the Office of a Local Preacher is a lay office.  Therefore as an ordained minister you are part of the Preachers’ meeting by means of your ordination, however, you cannot be a Local Preacher.

I attended the preaching classes at Queens but didn’t participate to the full as I didn’t believe then it was part of my role as a Deacon.  Now I feel I need a refresher – is it OK to join in with my local WLP Explore group as continuing development, and do I need a Note to Preach to join in?

From September 2020 The Conference recognises your calling to preach as a virtue of your ordination.  The Church encourage life-long learning throughout ministry.  You are welcome to join in the local Explore sessions or you can consult with the Warden of the Order as to what might be offered as bespoke training for deacons who are preaching regularly.

I’m a Deacon who has never felt preaching to be part of my call, but my circuit are now expecting me to take regular appointments as a preacher.  What are my rights and responsibilities?  Do I have to be part of the LP Meeting?

The Conference has confirmed that preaching (often in the form of proclaimation) is part of the ministry of deacons.  Depending on the type of appointment you are in this may not mean regular preaching at traditional acts of worship but it does expect that you will proclaim the good news in words and action.  You are expected to be a fully participating member of the Local Preachers’ Meeting as part of your leadership role in the circuit.

We have a Deacon who is listed on the Circuit Plan as a Deacon, and regularly leads midweek worship.  Should he be listed as the preacher for these services on the plan?

Yes.

Where Standing Orders say that a presbyter or LP should take charge of all public services, is it OK now for a Deacon to assume that role?

Yes – the Superintendent will need to consult with the Deacon first.

When a Deacon takes responsibility for leading a service when no LP or presbyter is available, should that service be listed as an LA, or is the Deacon then the preacher, even if s/he doesn’t preach?

The Deacon’s name should be published on the plan as the preacher leading the specific act of worship.

We have a Deacon joining us in September who is On Trial as a Local Preacher.  Is it correct that Deacons are no longer listed with the local preachers, but are listed on the front of the plan with the presbyters?

From September 2020 all Deacons will be full members of the Local Preachers meeting and any On Trial Status will be removed (under the direction of The Conference).  Those Deacons needing further training should wait for the information to be sent to them in the autumn of 2020 then consult with the Warden of the Diaconal Order.

Can our deacon preside at Holy Communion?

No. The Conference has affirmed that it is not appropriate for deacons to have an authorisation to preside at Holy Communion.

I have been a deacon for many years, I lead worship regularly but was never admitted as a local preacher – what should I do now?

The Conference has affirmed your call to preach.  To discuss your ministerial development in preaching please speak to the Warden of the Diaconal Order or local colleagues.


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