Like the church itself, Baptist Ministry is changing. Perhaps God is calling you?
If you grew up in a Baptist church you might recall that the typical minister would be someone particularly gifted in preaching and pastoral care. Indeed, if Baptists had any sacrament to speak of then you might name it as preaching! Of course, the reasons for that are obvious, we live with the substantial legacy of people like Rev. Charles Spurgeon (the great 19th Century ‘Prince of Preachers’) who regularly preached to thousands of people. Not only that but, as an evangelical tradition, we are naturally people of the Book and see preaching and teaching as an important tradition.
However, in an era where less and less people understand the gospel and are even less likely to walk into a ‘traditional church service’, London Baptists recognises that the leadership of our churches requires a different range of skills to that of Charles Spurgeon’s era. Putting it another way, Spurgeon never had to register as a charity or engage with a multi-faith society!
A few years ago, the Baptist Union commissioned a report called ‘Ignite’. It is this report which now informs a broadening of those whom we are seeking to accredit as people called to minister amongst us.
Nowadays, it is not necessarily how good a communicator you might be ‘from the front’ (important though spoken communication is) or whether or not you are ‘good with people’ (although pastors should probably have that attribute!) but, rather, we are looking for new colleagues with the following ‘Marks of Ministry’:
Mature as a disciple of Christ
- Deepening relationship with Christ and clear love for God
- Rooted in scripture
- Practising spiritual disciplines
- Living an authentic life
- Continuing sense of call to Baptist ministry
- A resilient faith which copes with the reality of ministry
- Clear self-identity; reflective and open to constructive criticism
Accountable to others
- Intentional accountability to develop as a disciple of Christ and as a Baptist minister
- Engaging in peer support, watching over and walking with one another
- Committed to continuing ministerial development and training
- Accountable to the local church
- Accountable to and supportive of the wider Baptist family
- Providing oversight and accountability for others
Relational in approach to leadership
- Good level of self-awareness and personal understanding
- Collaborative approach
- Inspirer, encourager and enabler of others
- Good interpersonal skills
- Ability to bring about transition and change
- Team builder
- Valuing and responding appropriately to diversity and difference
- Working with others beyond the local church
- Resident theologian or “God thinker’
- Drawing others into an awareness of God’s presence
- Committed to engaging in the mission of God in a post-Christian context
- Building/maintaining authentic and diverse communities of faith
- Ability to read context to see opportunities, challenges and potential
- Willing to take risks and move beyond the familiar where necessary
- Holy discontent with the status quo, leading to action
- Heart for justice and a prophetic voice
- Representing the church in wider society
Servant-hearted and sacrificial
- Modelling Christ-like godly leadership
- Generous spirit
- Exhibiting grace in trying situations
Having the Marks of Ministry could mean you are a pioneer or an evangelist. A youth worker or a children’s minister. It could mean you are called to a preaching ministry – in the traditional sense – or that you believe Messy Church is something more relevant to your community.
Maybe you’re thinking and praying about this matter? If so, perhaps exploring a call to ministry is for you!