Thursday, 23 April 2009

Local Preachers Continuing Development

Following on from my previous post, more from the district meeting I attended the other evening.
During the course of the meeting we were talking about Positive Promotion of Ministry (PPM)and that marvellous topic that makes many preachers eyes glaze over came up - those readers who know about these things will know immediately (and may have glazed over) that I am referring to CLPD (Continuing Local Preacher Development). It did seem that five of the people present who were either ministers or local preachers were broadly of the same opinion that this was an area where very little happened. One of the local preachers present said that he felt that for many of our longer serving local preachers they felt there was no need for this type of thing and that they were doing things well. I am fairly certain that if we were to do a straw poll in any circuit the result might be different to what any of us believe.Perhaps the name itself is part of the problem.
I said that I firmly believe that every one of our local preachers should be assessed once a year in the same way that our preachers in training are assessed and given that ADR (Annual Development Review) may well become the norm for ministers there may be a bigger case for introducing this type of process.
We had during the meeting discussed back to church Sunday which is in September and one of the people said perhaps we should have regular back to church Sunday's but only on 'special' Sunday's when there was a good chance that anyone coming for the first time might be in with a reasonable chance of attending a good service.
We also discussed briefly the 'retirement' of local preachers and this is another area where I suspect we find it quite difficult to suggest to a preacher it might be time they 'retired' and it may be an annual assessment could make that process a little easier. From a personal point of view I have someone who will tell me very clearly to stop if she thinks I have lost it.
I have to say I liked the idea that was floated a few years ago of having a 'Preacher Emeritus' status for those preachers who were no longer able to take services and had effectively retired but unfortunately it did not prove to be a popular idea with preachers themselves.
There was some mention of how preachers meetings have changed over the years and some talk of how you would often get two well respected preachers who would often be almost up to fighting in the preachers meeting where they disagreed on a point or on the development of a fellow preacher in training. Perhaps we were more passionate in the past or perhaps this is a reflection of how society in general often is - no commitment or passion for anything.
Maybe readers have some thoughts or opinions or then again maybe not!!


PamBG said...

Can you imagine, in secular society, that a person whose job it was to teach adults would argue that they didn't need any further development?

I wonder what people who say stuff like this are thinking?

Do they think that the 'development' is all about 'preaching technique'? Where - perhaps - you might argue that someone with a really fine 'technique' didn't need a lot of extra development? (Although I suspect that really good speakers are probably refining their 'technique' constantly.)

Can people really be saying that they don't need any more advancement in their prayer life, in their familiarity with the bible, in their reflection on theology? I certainly hope not. I wonder what the theology is behind 'My relationship with God doesn't need to go anywhere'?'

Methodist Preacher said...

One of the sadest things is seeing preachers who just don't develop. They through the whole accreditation process and I think "just imagine how good they will be when they speak from the heart rather than read their notes" and ten years later they still read, head down, in a monotone, their notes! I feel like getting into the pulpit and tearing them up!

Having said that I realise that my own preaching is getting into a bit of a groove. The same basic message, the same hymns. I really enjoy it when I go on retreat or something and feel that I have something new to say.

We have to learn to keep developing and I think we do need some system of feedback - so long as it doesn't get so bureaucratic!