Methodism has been engaged in a consultation process regarding its training for ministry across the whole denomination. I've been engaged in lots of different conversations over the course of the autumn but decided that I wanted to put together my own response. I have decided to publish that response publically rather than just send it in to an email address and a committee. I wanted my views in the public arena not least because I offer an alternative reading to the Liverpool Minutes, to the Isaiah passage which refers to the fruitful field and also to the concept of the Ministry of the Whole People of God in the World.
For those who don't want to read the whole report, I argue that a better strategy to equip the whole people of God for ministry and mission within contemporary society would be to establish four or five local hubs across Methodism rather than accept the vision of one central hub. These hubs should focus specifically on resourcing the whole of the Methodist Church in the region and do ministerial training as a secondary activity. My argument is that we will only develop the Church as a learning community if we intentionally foster the informal learning structures which are already actively at work within the local church.
My recommendations are:
- Recommendation 1: Empower Methodism at the grass roots to spread Scriptural Holiness throughout the Land
- Recommendation 2: Encourage the informal learning structures of the local church.
- Recommendation 3: Develop a co-ordinated but Connexionally-distributed team of skilled, theological educators.
- Recommendation 4: Do not establish the central hub.
- Recommendation 5: Create a Connexional Learning Network
Here is the full response:
Please remember that it is a personal response and does not relate to my role at WSC or to my role as Faith and Order Secretary of the Methodist Church. I am a Methodist prebyster called to serve the Church and this calling transcends any office or role in which I am currently stationed.
God bless and Merry Christmas.