Local preachers and worship leaders 

Liz Little 

Every Sunday, across the 12 circuits in our district, trained local preachers and worship leaders are leading services, helping to ensure that in almost every case, all our congregations can be confident that worship will be provided by those called to lead. They may also be found during the week leading worship in care homes, at Messy Church and in a variety of other settings. The latest statistics show that we have 211 active local preachers, with 36 in training, and 192 worship leaders with 10 in training. 

Local preachers lead services across their own circuit, and sometimes in other circuits. They are trained using a mixture of practical work alongside experienced preachers and a course, Worship: Leading and Preaching which provides background knowledge. 

Trained local preachers are required to update their knowledge via Continuing Local Preacher Development, which may be via small groups, the local preacher and worship leader meeting or special events.

Click this link for more information about local preaching.

Worship leaders work predominantly in their home church; they may be involved in every part of a service apart from preaching. The use of worship leaders varies widely; some will take responsibility for a whole act of worship, others work alongside preachers and may assist in different elements of the service. Worship leaders now train alongside new local preachers, following just the first half of the Worship: Leading and Preaching course.

Click this link for more information about worship leading

The Worship: Leading and Preaching course contains a great deal of wonderful material and is available online to registered students. Much of the course is studied individually, but there are opportunities to meet together in small groups or on short residential courses, particularly at Cliff College in Derbyshire.

Most of the material on the course, apart from the wider reading, is also freely available to anybody who is interested in developing their knowledge of theology or of worship; just use the password guestaccess

Click this link for access to the course

For more information, or to ask a question, please contact:

Liz Little, District Local Preachers’ Secretary
tel: 01234 347966

or Geoff Best, District Tutor      
tel: 07702 816219

Below is the annual report about Local Preachers and Worship leaders, presented to Spring Synod 2019.

The statistics for this year show a small but significant reduction in numbers across the board and this has an impact on our ability to continue to provide good quality worship in all our churches each Sunday. Some Local Preachers regularly take two services on one Sunday and some circuits are relying more heavily on Local Arrangements. The reasons are varied; not all Local Preachers are able to offer as many dates as would have been the norm some years ago and health problems for presbyters plus an overall shortage of presbyters has led to increasing demands upon Local Preachers. 
These issues also mean that many churches are making more demands upon their Worship Leaders, who are an invaluable resource across the District. A reduction in the numbers of people coming forward to train for this role is therefore a concern. Some are deterred by the demands of the Worship: Leading and Preaching course and some circuits are pursuing the new option of preparing a “lighter” version. However, many of those who have completed the Worship Leader half of the course will testify to the many benefits of the training, especially if they are regularly being asked to lead a whole act of worship. It is important to strike a balance between making excessive demands on people but at the same time ensuring that we effectively support and train all those who are called to lead God’s people in worship. 
This training needs to be on-going and across the District; there are exciting and creative approaches to providing continuing development. Two circuits run a regular Worship Academy, whilst others offer occasional study days or small groups. The topics covered range from Bible study to Godly Play, Christian Mindfulness to Café Church, and some cover practical issues like voice projection. 
On a personal note, I welcome the appointment of Geoff Best as District Tutor, a post which has not been filled for many years. Between us, we can offer support to circuits in a variety of ways.