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Continuing Ministerial Development

02 October 2019

tomatoesAs long as I can remember my father has always grown tomatoes every summer. Big, small, cherry, plum, red, green, yellow. A bountiful harvest each year in the confines of his greenhouse.

A couple of years ago I decided to see if green fingers ran in our family and I gave it a go. For a first go I was pretty impressed with the tomato harvest I reaped. But it was nothing like the bumper crop my father gets year after year.

The following year I decided to get a bit of fatherly advice. “Fertiliser”, was my father’s curt reply. “Yes, as soon as the first sets appear I regularly feed with tomato grow”, I quickly replied. “No”, said my father, “when you’re first mixing your compost put in plenty of fertiliser pellets so they can slowly release their food.” Following that advice over the next three months I was amazed to discover a two or three fold increase on the previous years harvest.

Continuing Ministerial Development is to Ministry what fertiliser is to tomato plants. It can slowly release wisdom and inspiration and new ideas as Ministry unfolds and progresses. We are only a relatively small gathering of churches and this can make ongoing training for leaders within our churches a tad tricky.

However, a new initiative from our Learning and Development Group is seeking to address this. Its director, Dr Walter Riggans, has coordinated six events in various locations throughout England, Wales and Scotland called “Keeping it Fresh”. Whilst attempting to stretch the thinking of those who attend the focus is very much on ministry matters. The subjects covered will range from worship to Christ and culture today. From pioneer ministry to approaching the Bible from a fresh perspective.

At one of the first events Dr Gillian Warson and Rev Suzanne Nockels led two excellent sessions in a most open and engaging way. Those who were present were able to ask questions and share insights in what was a very friendly and good-natured environment. Plenty of excellent resources were shared and the opportunity to delve deeper into particular areas was helpful.

In the confines of a busy ministry – especially thinking of those who hold full-time and part-time jobs alongside ministry – it can be difficult to fit in any training or development. A day is a very precious thing to give away. There are two things which really impress me about these Continuing Ministerial Development events. The first is the attempt to take the day around the country so travelling time is minimised and more energy committed to participation rather than commuting. The second is that relatively small gatherings of 6-10 participants helps your voice to be heard and your questions to be answered.

Every ministry needs to be fed and watered to keep it fresh and relevant and energised. These days – and more planned in the next 12 months – are certainly helping to do that within the Congregational Federation and I would heartily commend them to you.

Keeping it Fresh - Chinley (17/10/19) | Keeping it Fresh - Airdrie, Ebenezer (30/10/19)