New role to focus on continuing ministerial development
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Tim Fergusson as Ministerial Development Adviser
Tim joined the Ministries Team earlier this month, having previously been minister of Olton Baptist Church in Solihull.
His role relates to the ongoing development of all our accredited ministers, and marks the next stage of the implementation of the Ignite Report, our Ministries Review which explored how we identify, equip and support the ministers and leaders that we need to inspire Baptist Christians in our shared commission to make Christ known in our contemporary world.
One of the report’s many recommendations was Continuing Ministerial Development (CMD) – an intentional programme that enables all ministers to reflect on their experience and future vision, to ensure they are continuing to grow and develop in their knowledge and skills. Currently this is in place for newly accredited ministers, but stops more formally once a minister achieves accreditation.
In his new, two-year role, Tim is tasked with the implementation of this recommendation.
‘Continuing Ministerial Development is all about ministerial well-being,’ he explains. ‘It encourages ministers to learn and grow, keep them better connected and hopefully guard against burn out.
‘For many this will be nothing new, but for others it will involve a cultural shift, the benefits of which should become apparent as I believe that everyone gains when ministers practice accountability, continue in their personal learning and deepen their spirituality.
‘The dream is that this Continuing Ministerial Development becomes the norm across Baptists Together, not so much because the Ministries Team demand it, but because it becomes an expectation of the covenant relationship between churches and ministers.
‘Churches will expect this of their minister; ministers will expect the time and space from their churches to grow and develop; it will enhance both ministers and churches.’
Tim has first hand experience, having been a Baptist minister for 18 years across two pastorates following training at Regent’s Park College. The first pastorate was Aylestone in Leicester, a church with a long history of engagement with its neighbourhood. He then joined Olton in 2012, where the church learnt to connect with its community not through building-centred events but by giving up its corporate worship on one Sunday each month in order to meet people though a wide range of small groups in parks, cafes, care homes and kitchens. This enabled the whole church to take part in local outreach.
‘Throughout my ministry, it’s been important to me to keep developing myself through learning, retreats, mentoring and connection with the wider Baptist family,’ Tim said. ‘I have also sought to encourage this practice in others.
‘My hope is that CMD never becomes a rigid list of requirements. Rather, I want to signpost ministers to the wide range of differing ways in which we can continue to connect, reflect and grow.’
Ministries Team Leader Andy Hughes said that ongoing development is a key message for ministers and leaders.
‘It’s all too easy as ministers to be too busy to invest in our present, let alone our future, and to rely on our past rather than continuing to grow and develop as exemplary disciples of Christ.
‘I’m therefore delighted to welcome Tim to help implement this important stage of the Ignite Report.’
The Baptist Union of Scotland has already implemented CMD as part of its accreditation of ministers, using a peer-to-peer system, and this will be explored.