Deployment Strategy

United Reformed Church East Midlands Synod

Deployment Discussion Paper For Local Church
Consultation

April 2009 - scanned

At the March 2009 Synod meeting the Pastoral
Group's proposals on the Deployment of ministers were referred to
local churches. Please respond to the Synod office with your comments
by 24th August.

What is the problem?

The issue is not just about the number
of ministers of Word and Sacraments retiring over the next five
years; though about 25% are due to do so. It is also about the
decline in membership and the large number of congregations we still
have with smaller and ageing membership.

We have to consider what options we
have open to us. Do we keep on adding more congregations to a
minister's workload? Do we encourage churches to close? Do we ask
some churches not to have a share of a minister for a while? If we
reject these options then we have to create a different way of making
the most of our ministers alongside our Church Related Community
Workers (CRCWs), Lay Preachers, Local Church Leaders, elders and
members. We value our ministers; respect their sense of vocation and
their call to local churches. We think the way forward is through
recruitment of a variety of ministries within a team serving
associations of churches. These proposals for ministry deployment are
based on the work already done through Challenge to the Church - a
report presented to General Assembly by Ministries Committee (see
http://www.urc.org.ukjwhat we do/general assembly/)

What are we aiming to achieve?

  • To operate a transparent.
    understandable and fair deployment system

  • To develop ministry teams within
    Associations of Churches.
    The teams could include Stipendiary
    and Non-Stipendiary Ministers of Word & Sacraments, Church
    Related Community Workers, Local Church Leaders, local leaders,
    youth workers, family workers, Lay Preachers etc. [At present there
    are six Non-Stipendiary ministers and four recognised Local Church
    Leaders.] Associations of Churches agree to share resources of
    ministry and support one another in their local mission plans. They
    do not have to do everything together

  • To keep within the deployment
    Quota:!: 5% in terms of actual ministers in post. Please note that
    Special Category Ministers and up to two CRCWs posts are not counted
    in deployment quotas. [The quota of full time stipendiary ministers
    for East Midlands Synod by the end of 2006 it was 42, by the end of
    2009 is 37, by the end of 2013 it should be 33.] To encourage
    further ecumenical partnerships wherever possible

What might be our objectives?

  • To have Special Category Ministry
    Posts up to the equivalent of four full time posts. These posts
    allow us to place ministry resources into developing situations to
    grow new churches. We already have 3.7 posts To have three CRCW
    posts. CRCWs bring expertise in helping churches

relate to their local communities. We
presently have two posts

  • To continue to have a full time
    Synod Training & Development Officer Post. The TDO with the
    Training Team helps local churches, members, elders, worship leaders
    and ministers be equipped for engagement in mission

  • To have a Crossways Director post
    (presently 75% scoped). Crossways is a synod project with one of its
    core aims to help small and rural churches to engage in mission

  • To have Synod Mission Enablers
    across the synod amounting to the equivalent of 1.5 Ministry posts
    (6x25%). A Mission Enabler is someone who can work with a local
    church or group of churches to plan mission strategies. We presently
    have one such post and two others approved

  • To have Synod Pastoral Consultants
    across the Synod equivalent to 50% Ministry post (5X10%). Pastoral
    Consultants work with the Moderator and others to care for ministers
    and congregations and to help pastorates with ministry. We presently
    have four such posts

  • To develop better communication
    between Pastoral Consultants and Mission Enablers who will work
    together as the need arises

  • To meet the costs of ministry
    deployed within the Synod through M&Mcontributions. At present we do not
    meet the full cost of the ministersdeployed within the Synod so we depend
    on the generosity of others.

  • To encourage more people to
    respond to the call to become ministers To seek more
    Non-Stipendiary ministers and Lay Preachers

  • To encourage every congregation
    to have one or more local leaders, always working within a ministry
    team. A local leader could be a minister, a lay preacher, or someone
    else identified by the local church recognised by the Synod, and
    will work with the elders meeting. Each should have clear
    responsibilities expressed in a role description and serve for three
    years and may be re-appointed after a review. Amongst those whom we
    might consider inviting to be local leaders are Church Secretaries,
    or accredited Lay Preachers, or those authorised to preside at the
    sacrament. Support and training for local leaders may be necessary
    but it is not expected that this will be a full TLS course

  • To maintain and develop our
    present ecumenical involvement andsharing of ministers in Local
    Ecumenical Partnerships (LEPs)

A suggested formula for scoping

Within the policy of ministry teams
serving Associations of Churches we propose to use a formula for
scoping which reflects membership, number of congregations within a
pastorate and mission potential. Geographical considerations will
also be taken into account.

For a pastorate to have one full time
minister of Word and Sacraments the following numbers apply.

Single church Pastorate minimum number of members

150

Two churches minimum number of members

120

Three churches minimum number of members

95

Four churches minimum number of members

80

Five or more churches minimum number of members

70

If a pastorate has less than the
required members then a part-time ministry post can be created. For
example a single congregation pastorate with 75 members would have a
half-time minister. If a multi-church pastorate has more than the
minimum number of members then more than one full-time minister can
be deployed, e.g. a four congregation pastorate with 160 members
would have two full-time ministers.

Mission potential factor can be a
weighting of 25%. So a pastorate could have extra seoping or reduced
scoping+/- 25%. Criteria for assessing mission potential will
include: a clear mission plan, evidence of growing membership, new
leadership (e.g. elders), new projects to relate to groups in the
community, recently developed buildings, and new housing developments
in the area.

The Consultation Process

Local churches through elders and
church meetings are asked to consider this paper and send their
responses to the Synod office by 24th August 2009 for consideration
by the Pastoral Group at the September meeting. A proposal will be
brought to the November Synod meeting for further discussion. All
churches will need to engage with this process whether or not their
minister is moving. The assistance of Mission Enablers and Pastoral
Consultants helping local churches prepare their pastorate profiles
and local mission plans will be vital for this process.