We recognise that ministry comes in many different shapes and guises and certainly isn’t confined to the more traditional pastor/preacher type role that might immediately come to mind. As individuals within God’s family, we have different gifts and abilities, different experiences and styles – all of which can be used in ministry and mission.
If you are interested in becoming a Chaplain or a Children’s, Youth and Family Worker, then we work closely with our Baptist Colleges (particularly Y Coleg Gwyn, Bangor and South Wales Baptist College, Cardiff) as well as other acceptable training providers to whom we can direct you according to your specific needs. We want to help you fulfil all that God is calling you to be. We will walk together in the discernment process and look at how best to resource, equip, train and form you to be the best at what God is calling you into.
Exploring a Call to Ministry
Discerning a call to Christian ministry, in whatever sense that may be, can be a daunting and somewhat lonely experience, therefore, as a Baptist family we always try to accompany people along that journey of discovery and prayerful discernment.
If you sense a call to ministry, you should, in the first instance, speak with your Minister. If your Church does not have a Minister speak to one of the Church Officers (e.g. Secretary or Treasurer) and/or another deacon. Ask them to pray with you about your sense of call. Work with them honestly and openly so as to identify your specific gifts and abilities and thus better understand to what the Lord might is calling you.
Testing the Call
The fellowship of believers in the Acts of the Apostles Chapter 9 discerned that the Spirit was setting aside Paul and Barnabus for a specific kind of ministry. Baptists hold this biblical example of ‘collective discernment’ as a key component in helping any individual discern God’s call upon their lives.
Having shared your sense of call with your Minister or one of the Church Officers (Secretary or Treasurer) and/or another deacon, it will be important first to ‘test’ that sense of call within the church fellowship to which you belong.
Prior to commencing any training or formation for Ministry all candidates are required to have been in membership of a Baptist Church for at least 2 years. This period will have given you and the church fellowship an opportunity to get to know each other, and, hopefully, will already be discerning something of the call of God upon your life.
As this sense of call is shared more widely in the fellowship, you should seek (in consultation with either the Minister or where there is not a Minister, an Officer of the Church or a deacon), specific opportunities to further “test’ this sense of call. For example, you could look for opportunities to preach within the Church, lead Bible Studies, get involved in specific mission initiatives, lead a home group, join the deaconate. These are just some of the ways in which the fellowship will be able to join you in prayerfully discerning and testing whether God is calling you – and if so, to what kind of ministry. If you don’t particularly feel gifted, have experience in or enjoy working with children and young people you probably aren’t being called to children’s and youth ministry!
Once the fellowship has had the opportunity (along with the Church leadership) to journey with you in testing this call, the members will need to formally commend you as one in whom they discern the Spirit of God is working and calling.
Having had the commendation of your local Church family, it is important to now begin testing this call further afield. In the first instance it would be good to speak with your local Association Superintendent. She/he usually has a wide range of experience in Christian Ministry and will be able to talk through some of the things you need to prayerfully consider as you move forward. If you are sensing a call to a pastor/teacher ministry, they will be able to facilitate an opportunity for you to preach in at least 3 other local Baptist Union of Wales Association Churches ( a requirement of the process) or to engage in other appropriate tasks according to the type of ministry to which you’re sensing a call. Once these conditions have been met, the Superintendent will arrange a formal interview for you with the local Association Ministerial Recommendation Committee.
Upon completion of your interview with the Association Ministerial Recommendation Committee and provided they are able to commend you, you will then (through the Association Superintendent) contact the Baptist Union of Wales Ministry Coordinator who will arrange for you to have a formal meeting with a sub-committee of the Baptist Union of Wales Ministry Board. If you are successful in satisfying the sub-committee that there is indeed evidence of a ‘call’ upon your life, consideration can be given, in consultation with the Ministry Coordinator, to what kind of ministry you are being called to along with the appropriate training.
If you are sensing a call to be a Baptist Minister, then we can work with you in applying to one of our Baptist Colleges (particularly Y Coleg Gwyn, Bangor and South Wales Baptist College, Cardiff) for appropriate ministerial training and formation.
If you are sensing a call to bi-vocational or “Lay Ministry” it may be best to enroll on something akin to the Pathways course offered by South Wales Baptist College in Cardiff.
Pathways is a flexible and practical course of learning usually held on one Saturday a month. It’s a great way to deepen your understanding of faith and practice and to develop skills in ministry and mission, whatever your previous experience or educational qualifications. One of the great things about Pathways is that it recognises the wealth of experience which you bring and values the interaction of all participants in exploring key issues and fresh perspectives.
To find out more about Pathways simply follow this link: http://www.swbc.org.uk/learn-with-us/pathways/