COMMITTEE FOR THE MINISTRY
Rev Dr Viv Grice, Chair
The Committee for the Ministry is a standing committee of the Assembly Council, charged with considering and determining matters related to the accreditation and recognition of persons in or applying for pastoral ministry positions in our churches. As part of that function the CfM is supported in its work by two sub-committees: the Divorce Sub-Committee and the Ministry Standards Committee, members for which are recommended to the Assembly Council by the CfM.
In 2020, the Committee for the Ministry consisted of the following:
- Ted Bell
- Tony Calman (Chair June 2017 – July 2020)
- Jenny Casey
- Min Ha Choo
- John Lustre (on leave from the Committee from April 2020)
- Chris McGowan
- Keith Mitchell
- Louise Ramsay
- Lyn Scott
Ex-Officio Non-Voting Members:
- Grae McWhirter
- Stephen Bartlett
Changes in membership In June 2020 Rev. Tony Calman concluded his time on the Committee and as Chair. Rev. Viv Grice was asked to act as Interim Chair of the Committee, commencing this role in July 2020, for a period of twelve months, with his role being reviewed at the end of that period.
Meetings: During 2020 the Committee met on eleven occasions. With the onset of physical distancing required by the COVID-19 pandemic, from May most functions of the Committee were conducted remotely via end-to-end encrypted Zoom technology. Only one meeting was cancelled due to the pandemic, that being in April. A particular challenge with this situation was the conducting of confidential panel interviews with applicants for pastoral accreditation and recognition. This has been one reason for a significant but unavoidable delay in completing interviews of those applying for recognised ministry status. Processing of applications for accreditation were completed however.
Applications for Accredited and Recognised Ministry Status: The Committee is pleased to note that there continues to be a steady stream of applications for both accreditation and recognition of pastoral leaders. During 2020, twelve new applicants for accreditation were interviewed, with ten being accepted and two declined. Sixteen applications were received for pastors to be added to the Recognised Ministers listing.
The names of Rod Benson and Ian Reid were removed from the list of Accredited Ministers in 2020.
Important Reviews of Processes and Procedures
In addition to having to adapt to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, throughout 2020 the Committee has been reviewing and revising the current processes, procedures and documentation for aspects of its work:
- Accreditation Guidelines Review. This work is ongoing, with the goal of completing it in 2021. With our world changing continuously and rapidly, it is important that, while adhering firmly to biblical standards for the Christian ministry, our processes and procedures best enable people to most helpfully and appropriately fulfill their training for that ministry.
- Mandated Subjects for Accreditation.
- Accreditation Processes for Church Planters.
Under current legislation, it is required of the Association that all staff, volunteers, authorised SRE teachers complete a Screening Questionnaire, as is required of all volunteers and staff in local churches. This is part of the Safe Church Health Check.
In regard to this, the Committee was asked by the BA Ministry Leadership Team, (through its Safe Ministry Team) to take carriage of rolling out the questionnaire for our accredited/recognised Pastors who were accepted for ministry prior to the introduction of the Confidential Questionnaire required of all applicants since the late 1990’s. The Committee provided feedback to the Leadership Team in this matter. Following this feedback, the LT decided that all current pastors who had not completed the Confidential Questionnaire would be required to complete the Screening Questionnaire required of all BA workers. This process will take place over the next twelve months.
Thanks and Acknowledgements
The Committee for the Ministry is a very hard-working committee, composed almost totally of volunteers, as are many of the working bodies of our Association. It is supplemented by additional volunteers who serve alongside its members on the interview panels for ministry applicants. The Committee met eleven times in 2020. On interview days those meetings frequently run from 9.00 am. to 5.00 pm. It would be remiss of this report not to note the diligent, skilled and cheerful sacrifice of this group of people, for whom we thank God.
In particular, the Committee would also like to publicly acknowledge the work alongside of the Committee of the following employees of the Association:
- Rev. Jonathon Bradford who oversees the Ministry Standards Unit. He has an onerous workload, carrying out a vital role in an era of increasing necessity to address issues of compliance, a role that makes an indispensable contribution to the work of the Committee in maintaining high ethical, moral and professional standards for pastors in our movement;
- Rev. Jenny Casey, who carries the vital role of Co-ordinator of Pastoral Accreditation and Recognition;
- Ms Ros Allibone, who provides day-to-day secretarial and administrative support for Rev. Casey and the Committee;
- Rev. Grae McWhirter Team Leader of the GEN1K Leadership Development team.