A word to churches and pastors
9:38 wants to serve the local church. We partner with well over 200 churches across a range of churchmanships, right across England and Wales, urban and rural, small and large, but all united in the glorious gospel of Christ crucified, in a deep concern for our lost nation and in a keen desire to see many more gospel workers raised up to serve and shepherd and plant more churches.
We would love to encourage churches in their task of seeking out and nurturing the next generation of gospel workers. A few ways that might happen is through conferences, connecting, coaching and conversation.
There are six annual regional day conferences (typically a Saturday), organised by steering groups of local churches:
- For undergraduate students – conferences in the South West, North West, Midlands and South East of England.
- For workers – conferences in the North and South of England for those in their 20s and 30s but also for postgraduate students and those facing retirement.
The idea of these day conferences is not to push people into full-time gospel ministry. It will not be right for everyone and many may do better to glorify God in other ways. Neither do these conferences try to take the place of the local church’s efforts to be looking for and encouraging those with potential for gospel ministry. Rather, the 9:38 conferences are designed to be part of the on-going conversation at the local church level. They are resources that the local church can use – pointing someone towards a conference where they will hear, from a different voice, a clear presentation of the nature of gospel ministry and have an opportunity, outside their normal context, to ‘step back’ and consider – and then the person comes back to the local church to continue the conversation.
The other conference we run is the national 9:38 Ministry Trainee Conference – a two-night residential conference in January. Many of the trainees attending will be involved in local Bible training schemes (one or two days a week). What this offers that’s distinct is:
- a refreshing time away for a ministry trainee in a different context;
- excellent Bible teaching on big picture issues from a range of different voices;
- teaching tightly focused on the experience of being a ministry trainee;
- the chance to 'take stock' and continue to consider longer term possibilities;
- the great encouragement of being with a large group of people who share similar ministry experiences.
We’d love to encourage you to attend and send. If you haven’t been to one of these conferences why not come along and check out whether it would be useful to those you’re working with? If you think it would be helpful then please make the most of the resource and send students, workers and ministry trainees to an appropriate conference and feel free to come with them.
Another way that 9:38 seeks to serve the church is by connecting churches keen to host a ministry trainee with those looking to be a ministry trainee. This website hosts a vacancies search engine which allows potential apprentices to find churches offering placements. We also run a Facebook page and Twitter account where we promote these opportunities for a small fee to cover our administration. If you are interested in advertising your church placement with us please fill in the form or get in touch for more details.
We don’t have all the answers when it comes to setting up and running trainees schemes but we do have access to some expertise, guidance and case studies of churches that have worked through the issues involved. If your church would like advice on these matters please get in touch and we would love to chat, visit and link you up with others.
We also produce resources to help churches with training and raising the profile of gospel ministry. Blog and audio resources are free to share and we have produced two booklets – one encouraging pastors in their work of passing on the baton of gospel ministry and the other is a very balanced and biblical guide for those weighing up the possibility of gospel ministry.
Some articles that may be of particular interest to church leaders:
- Raising up the next generation (Mark O'Donoghue)
- Raising up godly leaders (Mark Dever)
- Why bring students on a 9:38 conference? (Joe Standerwick)
- What is a "Ministry Trainee"? (9:38)
- Are there ways the conferences could be more accessible? In the past few years 9:38 has ‘gone regional’ and we are considering new conferences in regions not currently well served.
- Are there ways that the content of the conferences could be sharper or more culturally sensitive – so they really connect and serve your training ministry?
- Are there ways we could better support you in raising up workers for the harvest field?
We’d love to have those conversations and serve better. Please get in touch with us with your thoughts on any or all of the questions above.