Ministry Today UK to close
A cross-denominational organisation run by ministers for ministers is to call time after almost a quarter of a century
Ministry Today UK (MTUK) began in 1994 following concern about the number of ministers leaving ministry. It has served ministers through an annual conference and well-regarded journal published three times a year. It also offered consultations to groups of ministers and local churches.
Its closure from April 2018 is related to the stepping down of founder, Baptist minister the Revd Dr Paul Beasley-Murray. Paul had served as its chairman and the journal’s general and review editor but decided to step down from the leadership after retiring from full-time stipendiary ministry.
Although I still am involved in preaching and teaching, the fact is that I am no longer running a church – and so no longer experiencing the stresses and strains of ministry today. I believe that a strength of MTUK is that it has been an organisation run by working ministers for working ministers, and so I gave notice to the Board that another chairman was necessary.
Unfortunately, the search to find a new chairman was unsuccessful. Although a partnership was explored with one or two theological colleges, it was felt that such a partnership would ‘change the character of Ministry Today UK as a body run by working ministers for working ministers.’
The board made its decision to close in the summer.
‘Inevitably I feel somewhat sad about this outcome,’ Paul wrote in the editorial of the latest issue of the journal. ‘It is not easy to give up on an organisation which one founded.’
However, in reality, ‘there is much to celebrate,’ he continued.
‘MTUK has occupied a very special place in the life of many ministers – there has been no other British cross-denominational organisation focussed on the practice of ministry. Over the years I certainly have been blessed by the insights of others from traditions not my own,’ Paul continued.
There have been 72 issues of the journal, featuring 520 articles on a wide-ranging array of topics.
What’s more, the MTUK board has decided to leave a permanent legacy by republishing all these articles in eight hard-backed volumes. Sets will be deposited in all six British copyright libraries. There are also available to buy.
The board is particularly keen that working ministers will be able to afford to buy the legacy volumes. Until the end of November they are available for just £48 (plus £10 p&p).
‘What a bargain for this wide-ranging collection of articles on almost aspect of the practice of ministry!’ wrote Paul.
‘Even with the closure of Ministry Today UK, the journal will continue to bless ministers for a good number of years to come.’
MTUK was originally called the Richard Baxter Institute for Ministry, after the great 16th century pastor of Kidderminster.
One of his quotes featured on the back of the early issues of the journal.
“All churches either rise or fall as the ministry doth rise or fall – not in riches or worldly grandeur, but in knowledge, zeal and ability for their work”.
Or in other words, said Paul “The key to the health and growth of the churches is its leaders”.
‘I dare to think that the many ministers who have read our journal and attended our conferences have been the healthier for it.’
To order the legacy volume Ministry Today UK 1994-2018:
UK residents are encouraged to pay by bank transfer £58 (£48 + £10 postage and packing) before the end of November 2017. Sort code 30-00-05 (Lloyds TSB: Park Row Leeds Branch); account number 02979946 (account name: Ministry Today UK). At the same time confirm your name and address by email to Treasurer: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, cheques can be made out to Ministry Today UK and sent to Rev William Ruddle Northgate House, Northgate, Pinchbeck, Spalding, Lincs PE11 1SQ.
People living outside the UK can also order the set of legacy volumes at this special pre-publication price, but clearly the postage will be higher – they need to contact William Ruddle to find out the cost of postage.