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What kind of ministers do we need for the next 20 years? How do we prepare them for this ministry?

A small, task-focussed group is now exploring issues around ministerial formation for the Baptist Union, as part of a wider review of selection for ministry, continuing professional development and funding. Anyone with an interest is invited to make a submission through a survey

What kind of ministers do we need for the next 20 years?  How do we prepare them for this ministry?

Most Baptist Christians will have a direct interest in these questions. 

Members of local churches benefit week by week from the ministry of those who are now, or who are in training to be, accredited Baptist ministers.  From your experience, what kind of training and preparation for ministry has helped to make your church’s minister really effective?  What changes to ministerial ‘formation’ might make them even more so?

Ministers in training
Those who are in training in our Baptist colleges will have a very keen interest in how the calling to which they are responding may evolve, as we take the timeless gospel to a rapidly changing society.  How do you think your preparation for ministry might be fine-tuned? 

Ministers in pastoral charge of churches know first-hand the strengths and weaknesses of the ‘formation’ they have received.  Colleagues who have retired from stipended ministry may have much wisdom to share about what has proved valuable in their experience. Finally, pioneers, church planters, those in rural ministry, those in urban settings, evangelists, youth pastors and chaplains may all have additional insights to share from their specific viewpoints.

The model of the full-time professional minister, devoting their whole life to ministry, is still the standard in Baptist life but for how long and at what cost? It may be that over the next two decades we will see more examples of bi-vocational ministry – dividing time between leading teams of gifted volunteers in church-based ministry while holding down a part-time job in the community. This is one approach seen in other parts of the world.  How might we prepare people for this kind of, very different, pattern of ministry?

What are we forming ministers for?  Should we be training ‘jobbing pastors’ or potential theologians?  How can we equip ministers to be pioneers and to have a greater mission-focus?

A small, task-focussed group is now exploring issues around ministerial formation for the Baptist Union, as part of a wider review of selection for ministry, continuing professional development and funding. 

This will take you to a very short (7 question) survey, with an opportunity to jot down some of your ideas and comments arising from the questions asked above.  Right now we are not seeking lengthy answers, so the space to make your comments is limited.  Members of the working group will be trying to identify trends and patterns from the responses we receive.  In some cases, we may then invite people to develop their thinking into a more detailed submission.

We would be delighted if as many Baptists as possible – church members, students and ministers – took a few minutes to complete the survey.  The survey will close at 8pm on Monday 27 January 2014

Our recommendations will be submitted to Ministries Department in April 2014.  Thank you in advance for your willingness to contribute your insights to this key aspect of our Baptist life.

The survey is now closed

The Revd Ivan King

Baptist Times, 20/12/2013
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