Ministry

Ministry means service.

Jim and Martin together are responsible for overseeing and supporting the development of those forms of ministry that are accredited by our Union, working closely with the Board of Ministry.

This also involves pastoral care of our accredited ministers and pastors, supported by Regional Pastors working across Scotland, mostly a group of retired ministers who serve without payment. In addition, assistance is given by Jim and Martin to congregations in reviewing ministry requirements suited to their specific, mission challenges. Martin has special responsibility for facilitating a programme of continuing development for our ministers, working closely with educational providers, towards equipping ministers able to lead and serve churches into the 21st century.

The Board of Ministry is a group of men and women appointed from Baptist churches across Scotland whose primary task is to discern if God is calling people to serve as accredited ministers.

It is our belief that a call to ministry is a call to servant leadership in the life and mission of God’s people. Such a call usually begins with a sense of God’s leading by the individual concerned – but that is not all there is to it. Disciples of Jesus belong in community and it is important that a person’s local congregation recognises that call also. Typically they will do this through their knowledge of the character, gifts and potential they see in him or her.

When a person is commended by their local church for ministry, the Board of Ministry acts on behalf of our family of Baptist churches to explore with them whether they are called and equipped to become accredited ministers.

The Board meets three times a year, in January, May and August. Candidates for accredited ministry complete a detailed application process and are then invited to meet members of the Board for a whole day. During this time, in an atmosphere of prayer and openness, the Board members will seek to get to know the candidate through questioning, presentation, Bible study and group exercises.      In this way the Board seeks to discern if  a person is called to accredited ministry. If the response is positive, a person may be required to undertake further training in particular areas, depending on the experience and qualifications they already possess.

Once a person has been accepted by the Board and has been called to ministry in a local church, or another recognised ministry such as chaplaincy or pioneering ministry, they begin the three-year period of pre-accredited ministry. During this time they receive a high level of support from a mentor and from the National Team, through the provision of conferences, retreats and annual supervision.

On successful completion of the pre-accredited period the Board commend ministers to the Baptist churches as fully-accredited and this is celebrated at our annual Baptist Assembly in an act of recognition and the awarding of a certificate of accreditation.

The vast majority of ministers in Scottish Baptist churches are accredited by the Baptist Union. Accreditation does not confer status on someone but it is the way our network of churches  recognises that a person is genuinely called, properly equipped and effectively supported for ministry. This is important for the well-being of both churches and ministers and vital therefore for the fruitful development of God’s mission through local congregations across the country.

To be accredited for ministry a person will:

  • Demonstrate a clear call from God to servant leadership, confirmed by their local church and discerned by the Board of Ministry (a representative group of trusted church members from many different churches)
  • Have completed appropriate training to equip them spiritually, intellectually and practically to be a missional and pastoral leader in a local church
  • Be prepared to undertake a three year ‘pre-accredited’ programme when their development in the early years of ministry is regularly supported and carefully assessed
  • Agree to the Ministry Covenant and Ethical Code for Scottish Baptist Ministry, which includes a commitment to fellowship with colleagues in ministry and to continuing ministerial development.
Why Continuing Ministry Development?

To be a disciple of Jesus is to be a learner and all accredited ministers commit themselves to lifelong learning, growth and development in their walk with God and in their understanding and practice of ministry. Our aim is that all accredited ministers will regularly echo the grateful words of the Psalmist who says,

‘You have broadened my understanding’ (Psalm 119.32),

and out of that richer understanding will serve Christ and his church more fruitfully.

In the Ministry Agreement all accredited ministers make this commitment: ‘Throughout the years of active ministry, to engage in continuing ministry development’ (Ministry Agreement, point 6).

How CMD works for Baptist Ministers

There are six key aspects of CMD which every minister needs to engage with:

Reading. The discipline of reading widely is essential for ministers, to deepen our understanding of scripture and open our horizons to a wide understanding God’s world.

Conferences or training courses. The Baptist Union provides a number of ministry workshops each year but there are a wide range of courses available throughout Scotland and the UK which are relevant to the practice of ministry. We each select what will be beneficial to us in our context and stage of ministry.

Spiritual development. Attending to our own souls is a vital aspect of continuing ministry development. Spiritual development might include, for example, devotional Bible study, a daily office, retreats, journaling, reflective writing, seasons of fasting or focused prayer.

Accountability. It is important to meet with at least one person who has the experience and wisdom to help us learn in and through our ministry experience. Such a person might be a ministry mentor, a pastoral supervisor or a spiritual director.  Some ministers will meet in a huddle led by an experienced colleague and this will be their space for accountability and reflective learning.

Fellowship with other ministers. No one knows how to be a Baptist minister in Scotland better than those of us who are fulfilling this ministry week by week and year by year. Therefore it is vital to be present in contexts where we can learn from one another and share our experience and wisdom with one another. This typically takes place in local ministers’ fellowship groups and in our annual Scottish Baptist Ministers’ Conference and the Accreditation+ Conference.

Review of ministry. A structured review of our ministry, involving other members of our church or the community we serve in our ministry role, enables us to learn from the experience and insights of the people we work most closely with. They will be able to celebrate our strengths and help us recognise areas for development. It is helpful for a review to have a structure that involves a number of different voices. We have devised a 360 Degree Review Tool for Baptist ministers which you can access here.  Many ministers benefit from an annual review of their ministry but we recommend that all ministers do this at least every three years.

Recording and Reviewing CMD

Every minister keeps a record of their CMD throughout the year

On a simple A4 summary sheet (which can be downloaded here) we record the CMD we have undertaken during each year in the six different categories listed above. This enables us to keep track of our development and reflect on our progress.

In November each minister meets with a colleague of their choice to review their CMD, exploring their key areas of learning and development and how they might focus their CMD in the coming year. That colleague then informs the Ministry Development Co-ordinator that the review has taken place (not giving details of the content of the review).

This approach provides a flexible framework for CMD which all ministers can access and use for their personal growth.  It is not a top-down process but is based on mutual accountability. By asking reviewers to confirm to the Ministry Development Co-ordinator that a review has taken place we ensure the system is working well and can offer appropriate support where necessary.

Considering Baptist Ministry?

The Board of Ministry is a group of men and women appointed from Baptist churches across Scotland whose primary task is to discern if God is calling people to serve as accredited ministers.

It is our belief that a call to ministry is a call to servant leadership in the life and mission of God’s people. Such a call usually begins with a sense of God’s leading by the individual concerned – but that is not all there is to it. Disciples of Jesus belong in community and it is important that a person’s local congregation recognises that call also. Typically they will do this through their knowledge of the character, gifts and potential they see in him or her.

When a person is commended by their local church for ministry, the Board of Ministry acts on behalf of our family of Baptist churches to explore with them whether they are called and equipped to become accredited ministers.

The Board meets three times a year, in January, May and August. Candidates for accredited ministry complete a detailed application process and are then invited to meet members of the Board for a whole day. During this time, in an atmosphere of prayer and openness, the Board members will seek to get to know the candidate through questioning, presentation, Bible study and group exercises.      In this way the Board seeks to discern if  a person is called to accredited ministry. If the response is positive, a person may be required to undertake further training in particular areas, depending on the experience and qualifications they already possess.

Once a person has been accepted by the Board and has been called to ministry in a local church, or another recognised ministry such as chaplaincy or pioneering ministry, they begin the three-year period of pre-accredited ministry. During this time they receive a high level of support from a mentor and from the National Team, through the provision of conferences, retreats and annual supervision.

On successful completion of the pre-accredited period the Board commend ministers to the Baptist churches as fully-accredited and this is celebrated at our annual Baptist Assembly in an act of recognition and the awarding of a certificate of accreditation.

Accredited Ministry

The vast majority of ministers in Scottish Baptist churches are accredited by the Baptist Union. Accreditation does not confer status on someone but it is the way our network of churches  recognises that a person is genuinely called, properly equipped and effectively supported for ministry. This is important for the well-being of both churches and ministers and vital therefore for the fruitful development of God’s mission through local congregations across the country.

To be accredited for ministry a person will:

  • Demonstrate a clear call from God to servant leadership, confirmed by their local church and discerned by the Board of Ministry (a representative group of trusted church members from many different churches)
  • Have completed appropriate training to equip them spiritually, intellectually and practically to be a missional and pastoral leader in a local church
  • Be prepared to undertake a three year ‘pre-accredited’ programme when their development in the early years of ministry is regularly supported and carefully assessed
  • Agree to the Ministry Covenant and Ethical Code for Scottish Baptist Ministry, which includes a commitment to fellowship with colleagues in ministry and to continuing ministerial development.
Continuing Ministry Development
Why Continuing Ministry Development?

To be a disciple of Jesus is to be a learner and all accredited ministers commit themselves to lifelong learning, growth and development in their walk with God and in their understanding and practice of ministry. Our aim is that all accredited ministers will regularly echo the grateful words of the Psalmist who says,

‘You have broadened my understanding’ (Psalm 119.32),

and out of that richer understanding will serve Christ and his church more fruitfully.

In the Ministry Agreement all accredited ministers make this commitment: ‘Throughout the years of active ministry, to engage in continuing ministry development’ (Ministry Agreement, point 6).

How CMD works for Baptist Ministers

There are six key aspects of CMD which every minister needs to engage with:

Reading. The discipline of reading widely is essential for ministers, to deepen our understanding of scripture and open our horizons to a wide understanding God’s world.

Conferences or training courses. The Baptist Union provides a number of ministry workshops each year but there are a wide range of courses available throughout Scotland and the UK which are relevant to the practice of ministry. We each select what will be beneficial to us in our context and stage of ministry.

Spiritual development. Attending to our own souls is a vital aspect of continuing ministry development. Spiritual development might include, for example, devotional Bible study, a daily office, retreats, journaling, reflective writing, seasons of fasting or focused prayer.

Accountability. It is important to meet with at least one person who has the experience and wisdom to help us learn in and through our ministry experience. Such a person might be a ministry mentor, a pastoral supervisor or a spiritual director.  Some ministers will meet in a huddle led by an experienced colleague and this will be their space for accountability and reflective learning.

Fellowship with other ministers. No one knows how to be a Baptist minister in Scotland better than those of us who are fulfilling this ministry week by week and year by year. Therefore it is vital to be present in contexts where we can learn from one another and share our experience and wisdom with one another. This typically takes place in local ministers’ fellowship groups and in our annual Scottish Baptist Ministers’ Conference and the Accreditation+ Conference.

Review of ministry. A structured review of our ministry, involving other members of our church or the community we serve in our ministry role, enables us to learn from the experience and insights of the people we work most closely with. They will be able to celebrate our strengths and help us recognise areas for development. It is helpful for a review to have a structure that involves a number of different voices. We have devised a 360 Degree Review Tool for Baptist ministers which you can access here.  Many ministers benefit from an annual review of their ministry but we recommend that all ministers do this at least every three years.

Recording and Reviewing CMD

Every minister keeps a record of their CMD throughout the year

On a simple A4 summary sheet (which can be downloaded here) we record the CMD we have undertaken during each year in the six different categories listed above. This enables us to keep track of our development and reflect on our progress.

In November each minister meets with a colleague of their choice to review their CMD, exploring their key areas of learning and development and how they might focus their CMD in the coming year. That colleague then informs the Ministry Development Co-ordinator that the review has taken place (not giving details of the content of the review).

This approach provides a flexible framework for CMD which all ministers can access and use for their personal growth.  It is not a top-down process but is based on mutual accountability. By asking reviewers to confirm to the Ministry Development Co-ordinator that a review has taken place we ensure the system is working well and can offer appropriate support where necessary.

The Ministry Handbook

People have all kinds of questions about ministry in Scottish Baptist churches. These may include:

  • What is accredited ministry?
  • How can I prepare for ministry
  • How do we as a local church call and support a minister?
  • What happens at an induction service?
  • What about a PVG Disclosure for a minister?

The Ministry Handbook is the main resource for finding answers to these questions.

If your questions about ministry are not answered in the ministry handbook, feel free to contact Jim Purves (Mission and Ministry Adviser) or Martin Hodson (Ministry Development Coordinator).

Templates and Forms for appointing a Minister

Supporting Ministry

The Baptist Union of Scotland owns two properties that are available for rent primarily by Baptist Ministers, although occasional bookings are taken from people in membership of Baptist churches.

Prospect Cottage is a harbour front cottage on the Moray Coast in a village called Findochty. It sleeps 6 in 3 bedrooms. It is available all year round and is an excellent base for exploring the North East of Scotland.

Colonsay Manse is found on the secluded western island of Colonsay. This remote cottage sleeps 6 in 2 bedrooms. It is primarily available from Easter to October when the ferries operate a summer timetable. Well behaved dogs are welcome in the downstairs of this property.

We also support the Mull church who own a static caravan adjacent to their church building. Enquires to book the Mull caravan should be directed to Rob Jones at Mull Baptist Church and not the Union offices.