The Methodist Lay Preachers Network was initiated by the Methodist Conference in 2003.
Its purpose is to process business pertaining to Lay Preachers in Methodist and Uniting Churches.
The Network offers support to those in training and
maintains a data-base of Lay Preachers in Methodist and Uniting Churches.
The Network aims to:
a) keep Methodist Lay Preachers in connection with one another;
b) support Lay Preachers to be resourced, mentored, and valued;
c) promote on-going education and accountability;
d) encourage emerging worship leaders to become accredited.
The Network promotes intentional commitment and encourages all Lay Preachers to pay the annual subscription to the New Zealand Lay Preachers Association and read the Lay Preachers magazine "Word and Worship". The Network promotes continuing education for all active Lay Preachers through on-going training and theological reading.
The Network functions mostly by email. It has a small facilitation team and a Network Nucleus comprised of one or two appointed lay preacher representatives from each Synod.
If you have any questions regarding lay preaching in Methodist or Uniting Churches, or would like to receive the occasional Network Notes, contact Viv Whimster.
If you want to know how to become an accredited lay preacher keep reading. Further information can be found on this website under Administration / Information leaflet 153.
If you are considering lay preaching, or want to participate in or lead a group for potential worship leaders,
contact Trinity College Private Bag 28907, Remuera, Auckland 1541 (202 St John's Road, St John's, Auckland) [O] 09 521 2073
Trinity Theological College offers lay preachers courses but there are other ways of gaining the necessary qualifications. Trinity College will make an academic recommendation or decision for candidates individually. In addition to any academic requirement, all candidates must:
- be in good standing with their parish. A prospective candidate is encouraged to speak to his/her presbyter to share the sense of call. The Parish Council/Leaders' Meeting then endorses the suitability of the prospective candidate for this ministry. Opportunities can be given to be involved in worship by reading the Scriptures, leading prayers, taking children's talks or leading devotions. When the Parish agrees that the candidate is ready, the recommendation that s/he is a Lay Preacher in Training is passed on the Synod for approval.
- take a significant lead in at least 10 services.
- lead a service of worship that is evaluated successfully. When the candidate is ready, the Synod Superintendent and the Synod Network Representative arrange for a service to be evaluated by a team of a Presbyter, Lay Preacher and a member of the candidate's own congregation. An evaluation sheet is available to guide the Lay Preacher's preparation and the evaluating team's process. Following the service, the team conducts a short interview with the candidate when the results of the evaluation are passed on, his/her faith journey can be shared, and any further recommendations can be communicated. If successful, the Parish Council/Leaders' Meeting affirms the decision and the result is passed on to the Synod.
Lay Preacher Certificates are issued by the New Zealand Lay Preachers Association on the recommendation of the denomination when the candidate has completed the requirements for accreditation. The cost to the Parish is $25. This includes the first year's subscription to the Lay Preachers magazine Word and Worship. The Synod may present the certificate or arrange for it to be presented in the local parish setting with due ceremony. A certificate application form is available for completion by the Presbyter or Parish to be sent to the NZLPA Registrar (please allow 4 weeks for processing).
The Network promotes high standards in worship leading, accountability, and support for lay preachers. The status of Accredited, Active and Upskilled ("AAU") reflects this commitment. To be registered as currently Accredited, Active and Upskilled the Lay Preacher must have completed the accreditation process (or a recognised course of training through a partner denomination), and each year, taken a major role in no fewer than 3 services and attended no less than 8 hours on-going training. The current status of Lay Preachers is recorded through the Lay Preachers Annual Update Form.
Parishes also play a vital part in supporting Lay Preachers. There are several ways in which this can happen:
- including Lay Preachers regularly on the Parish preaching plan and involving them in different aspects of worship;
- encouraging the recognition of Lay Preachers through using their leadership on Lay Preachers Sunday (2nd Sunday in August, or following July/August Synod to enable Presbyters and Synod reps to focus on Synod business);
- completing the Lay Preachers Update Form for Parishes, which records the names of those in training;
- supporting Lay Preachers financially with a regular book allowance or subscription to Word and Worship; ensuring they are reimbursed for travel if coming from another Parish; directing them to relevant church or community funds for courses or training;
- encouraging those with the relevant skills and gifts to explore the ministry of Lay Preaching and if appropriate, support them through the training process.
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