FAQ: Ministry

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Q What are the different kinds of ordination and ministry in the Methodist Church?
A: While all Christians are called through baptism to share in Christ’s ministry of love and service, some people are called by God to be ordained, and set apart for the ministry of Word and Sacraments, that is, baptism and holy communion.
-- The People Called Methodist, p 49

The current Book of Discipline recognises three types of Ministry: 1) Local Ministry; 2) The Diaconal Ministry; and 3) The Itinerant Ministry.

  • Local Preachers: “A local preacher is a lay member of The Methodist Church who has been granted a licence to preach according to the Discipine of the Church (Discipline 503).
  • Diaconal Ministry: “Diaconal ministers are called to specialised ministries of service, justice, and love for persons. Diaconal ministers focus their service through a variety of ministries, such as, administration, education, evangelism, music, health, and community development” (Discipline 514). They are ordained but do not itinerate. “The diaconal minister’s relationship to the Annual Conference of The Methodist Church shall be conferred by ordination (Discipline 519).
  • Itinerant Ministry: “Ordained itinerant ministers are called to specialised ministries of Word, Sacrament and Order. Through these distinctive functions such ministers devote themselves wholly to the work of the Church and to the upbuilding of the general ministry” (Discipline 529). “The itinerant ministry is the system of The Methodist Church by which ministers are appointed by the presidents to fields of labour” (Discipline 536).

There are two levels of ordination within the itinerant ministry: Deacons and Elders”
“A deacon is a local preacher who has progressed sufficiently in preparation for the ministry to be received by an Annual Conference as member on trial and has been ordained deacon in accordance with the Order and Discipline of The Methodist Church by the laying on of hands of a Bishop.
An elder is a deacon who has complete his formal preparation for the ministry of Word and Sacraments and has been ordained elder in accordance with the Order and Discipline of The Methodist Church by the laying on of hands of a Bishop and of elders” (Discipline 537).

Bishops are elected for a term and consecrated. “The bishop shall be elected from among the eligible elders of The Methodist Church in Singapore at the General Conference” (Discipline 571). “The Bishop shall be consecrated at the session of the General Conference at which the election takes place, or at an adjourned session thereof, or at a time and placed designated by the Conference” (Discipline 576).