Why continuing ministry development (CMD)?
To be a disciple of Jesus is to be a learner and all accredited ministers commit themselves to lifelong learning, growth and development in their walk with God and in their understanding and practice of ministry. Our aim is that all accredited ministers will regularly echo the grateful words of the Psalmist who says,
‘You have broadened my understanding’ (Psalm 119.32),
and out of that richer understanding will serve Christ and his church more fruitfully.
In the Ministry Agreement all accredited ministers make this commitment: ‘Throughout the years of active ministry, to engage in continuing ministry development’ (Ministry Agreement, point 6).
How CMD Works For Baptist Ministers
There are six key aspects of CMD which every minister needs to engage with.
- Spiritual development
- Conferences or training courses
- Fellowship with other ministers
- Review of ministry
Attending to our own souls is a vital aspect of continuing ministry development. Spiritual development might include, for example, devotional Bible study, a daily office, retreats, journaling, reflective writing, seasons of fasting or focused prayer, reviewing our discipleship habits.
The discipline of reading widely is essential for ministers, to deepen our understanding of scripture and open our horizons to a wide understanding God’s world.
The Baptist Union provides a number of ministry workshops each year but there are a wide range of courses available throughout Scotland and the UK which are relevant to the practice of ministry. We each select what will be beneficial to us in our context and stage of ministry.
It is important to meet with at least one person who has the experience and wisdom to help us learn in and through our ministry experience. Such a person might be a ministry mentor, a peer mentor, a pastoral supervisor, a spiritual director or a soul friend. Some ministers meet find accountability in a huddle led by an experienced colleague.
No one knows how to be a Baptist minister in Scotland better than those of us who are fulfilling this ministry week by week and year by year. Therefore it is vital to be present in contexts where we can learn from one another and share our experience and wisdom with one another. This typically takes place in local ministers’ fellowship groups and in our annual Scottish Baptist Ministers’ Conference and the Accreditation+ Conference.
A structured review of our ministry, involving other members of our church or the community we serve in our ministry role, enables us to learn from the experience and insights of the people we work most closely with. They will be able to celebrate our strengths and help us recognise areas for development. It is helpful for a review to have a structure that involves a number of different voices. We have devised a 360 Degree Review Tool for Baptist ministers which you can access below. Many ministers benefit from an annual review of their ministry but we recommend that all ministers do this at least every three years.
Recording And Reviewing CMD
Every minister keeps a record of their CMD throughout the year.
On a simple A4 summary sheet (which can be downloaded below) we record the CMD we have undertaken during each year in the six different categories listed above. This enables us to keep track of our development and reflect on our progress.
In November each minister meets with a colleague of their choice to review their CMD, exploring their key areas of learning and development and how they might focus their CMD in the coming year. That colleague then informs the CMD Lead that the review has taken place (not giving details of the content of the review).
This approach provides a flexible framework for CMD which all ministers can access and use for their personal growth. It is not a top-down process but is based on mutual accountability. By asking reviewers to confirm to the CMD Lead that a review has taken place we ensure the system is working well and can offer appropriate support where necessary.