The latest monthly letter from our Minister, Revd David Hookins.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
As we approach Lent the Methodist Church is rolling out compulsory supervision for all ministers. I have recently been on the first of two courses to train superintendent ministers, a course already taken by chairs of district who will be supervising superintendents. This supervision is a reminder that we are called to keep watch over one another. John Wesley described the essence of leadership in the church as, ‘Watching over one another in love’.
Of course this was not original and finds its roots in the New Testament. Paul told the elders of the Church in Ephesus,
‘Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son.’ (Acts 20.28 NRSV)
‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.’ (Colossians 3.16-17 NRSV)
‘Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.’ (James 5.16 NRSV)
John Wesley’s General Rules contains the following instruction to class leaders, ‘To see each person in his class once a week at least; in order to receive what they are willing to give toward the relief of the poor; To inquire how their souls prosper; To advise, reprove, comfort, or exhort, as occasion may require.’
This sense of mutual accountability was at the heart of Wesley’s small groups.
It is perhaps fitting that during Lent we should consider our own accountability. How willing are we to submit to a confidential group of a few people to whom we can confess and share the trials and joys of the Christian life? Are we willing to open ourselves to criticism as well as encouragement?
This period of Lent is a time of self-examination. I know that self-examination is so much more effective when it is shared with someone else, mutual accountability was the heart of the early class meetings, could you find others this Lent with whom you would be accountable?
Your brother in Christ,