Important jobs are best done alongside colleagues.
For my first two months I have led all of the services and preached all of the sermons at St Luke’s (with the exception of Pulpit Swap Sunday). It has been helpful for me to learn St Luke’s foibles quickly. It has probably helped regulars to get to know me a bit more quickly. But I am pleased that the ministry of the Word is being shared a little in the coming months.
Not only will guest clergy like Rick Gates help out when I am away. But most encouragingly, there are three people within our congregations testing a calling with us.
Tim Fryer has been a church member for quite a few years, and a churchwarden for several. He has led a Housegroup for a while and in January led a 10am service and preached at an 8.30 in order to help us discern a call to train as a Reader.
Yvonne Janvier moved into Holmes Chapel last year and joined our church in November after an active up-front leadership role in her previous church. She has joined the choir, become a sacristan, and been a regular at each of our three weekly congregations. Having attended a Diocese of Chester day in January on the options for licensed ministry, Yvonne was encouraged to consider Reader ministry. We have started to discern a call through her assistant leadership of the Christianity Explored group and intercessions plus preaching at the midweek Communion service.
If the PCC supports their applications, Tim and Yvonne will be interviewed in the late Spring by the Diocesan Team in charge of Readers’ ministry. If successful they will start two years’ training in September, which will include a placement at a contrasting CofE church not too far away. We have appreciated the valuable contribution of Reader ministry in the past and it would be great to have good Readers sharing in leading services, small groups, and preaching God’s word in the future.
In addition the diocese has referred to us a potential ordinand in the early stages of preparation for a National Selection Panel. Lee Hardy (together with his wife Liz) has been with us since December having moved nearby and decided that St Luke’s is God’s place for them. From January Lee has been on placement with us, testing his suitability for ordination in the CofE. I am pleased to be his placement supervisor as well as to welcome them as two of the several new members we have been glad to receive in the last few weeks.
It is the season for building a team of those with the gifts and character to share the ministry of God’s word.
Jesus had a unique ministry, but he also trained others to share the work of spreading the Word and taking authority in spiritual/pastoral matters. He put a lot of time and effort into training the 12 apostles. They became effective teachers and evangelists and church planters. The twelve apostles appointed seven deacons in Acts 6, in order that the ministry of the Word would multiply again. This is a healthy Biblical pattern.
Multiplication of good ministries helps the church to grow. This is particularly true of good ministries of the Word. So may the Lord give us good growth in fruitful ministries.
It is not just me who could benefit from team mates in the Lord’s work. There will be several other ministries in St Luke’s which would benefit from newcomers added to make a great team.
Please help us forward and pray for our progress.
Yours in Christ
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash