In the mid-1990s three church leaders, Richard Coekin, Ian Garrett and Vaughan Roberts, were particularly concerned that there were not enough people going into full-time gospel ministry. This seemed to be partly because people were getting lost in the process of considering gospel ministry – perhaps thinking of it as a young person but then getting distracted with other conerns and lacking relationships and an environment within which to continue considering the possibility. So they decided to start 9:38, particularly to:
- Provide structured opportunities for students and workers to consider full-time gospel ministry.
- Widen the network of churches which are raising up, sending out and receiving gospel workers and encourage people from a much wider range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds to consider full-time gospel ministry.
- Promote the apprenticeship (ministry trainee) model of raising up gospel workers and encourage churches to be constantly looking hard within themselves for those with the character and potential for gospel ministry.
With the support of David Peterson (the then-Principal of Oak Hill) and David Jackman (the then-Director of the Cornhill Training Course), Richard, Ian and Vaughan went ahead and formed an executive committee, with David going on to serve as Chairman for over ten years.
Over the last 20 years, 9:38 has been used by God:
- Helping a number of churches pioneer apprenticeship (ministry training) schemes, encouraging more churches to set them up, offering advice in doing so and helping recruit for them.
- Hundreds of young men and women have attended 9:38 conferences to consider full-time ministry and to develop a ministry mind-set. These conferences have been a great blessing to many, and a significant step along the way to going into full-time gospel ministry.
- Over the years the apprentice/trainee model has taken off and many evangelical churches across the country of all sizes and denominations now run successful schemes. Recruitment and training has been placed higher up on the agenda at many churches.
Please pray with us that the Lord would continue to raise up and send out workers into his harvest field.