A person in a Recognised Local Leader role is someone called to be the first point of contact for the Christian community in that place/network. They will be someone who knows (and is committed to) the local context, in good standing with the wider community. They will be able to gather the church members together and release them into their own ministries - they are not expected to do and be everything by themselves.
At the heart of the vision is a desire to ensure an active, long-term sustainable church presence in every community and a foundation of this approach is the development of a network of people in this role.
How does it work?
Someone who holds this role serves their local church or Christian community under the guidance and authority of the Incumbent. They are normally part of a Benefice Ministry Team, working collaboratively alongside others in existing recognised ministries. They serve the members of the church, but also see beyond those who are already members to the wider community and its needs. And they are loyal and committed to the wider benefice as well as to the local community they serve.
Across a newly formed single parish with five churches serving town and villages, the Recognised Local Leader plays an important part of our thinking. Having a person as a key contact in each church / community will give a local focus for worship, pastoral care and activities whilst at the same time connecting us together across the wider ministry team and parish. The Revd Canon Rich Henderson, Beccles.
This model could be applied in different contexts in different ways. For example:
- A Rural Multi-Parish Benefice could have someone in this role for each of its parish churches and fresh expressions of church;
- A Market Town Parish could have someone in this role for each of its village churches, as well as for a congregation which meets in a local school;
- A Town Church could have people in this role for different congregations, as well as for its church plants and fresh expressions of church;
- A Dispersed Community or Network could have someone in this role too: for example, a Police Chaplain enabling regular workplace gatherings for worship and witness could be recognised and commissioned in a Local Ministry Role.
One of my churches has had a small traditional congregation for many years. The challenge for me as an incumbent has been how I can support and encourage them with so many other churches to oversee as well. I asked my 2nd year curate to take on a Recognised Local Leader for the church which she has been doing for the last six months. Her appointment immediately lifted the spirits of the PCC, and a few new people started to come to worship and engage with the life of the church. On Easter Sunday, under her leadership, the congregation took a pot of flowers to people in the village who had even a vague connection with the church – the response was really positive. A working party in the churchyard recently included many from the local community who do not generally come to church. There seems to be real progress with one person leading the church. The Revd Canon Susan Loxton, Sandcroft Benefice.
What do they do?
The person in this role oversees a local church or congregation, supporting the life of the people of God through enabling and releasing others in worship and prayer, mission and community engagement, witness and evangelism, pastoral care and teaching, and nurture and discipleship. Although the role is specific to each context, there are some core expectations which apply to all. The person commissioned to this role will be:
- A member of the local church, committed to its worshipping life
- A person of prayer, seeking to discern God’s will for that place with others
- A person of faith, who wants to see the church community grow and flourish
- A people person, acting as a contact point for the members of the church, and also in good standing with the wider community
- A disciple maker, seeking to offer different pathways for people of all ages to grow up in their faith
- A person of discernment, committed to drawing out the gifts of all the baptised members of the church
- A positive leader, able to draw people together to bring in the Kingdom of God.
Who can take up this role?
This role can be held by:
- A member of a church congregation with an existing connection to the wider community who could build stronger relationships with the church
- A licenced lay minister such as a Reader or Elder wanting to focus on community engagement
- A retired priest with a heart for supporting and engaging with local communities
- An ordained minister (stipendiary or self-supporting) whose ministry as deacon/priest is primarily focused on a local Christian Community.
The role will be typically held for five years.
Please download this leaflet for further information:
Recognised Local Leader | PDF
What support is there in this role?
When considering whether taking on this role may be for you, how might you be supported?
- Your vocation and calling to this role will be tested and affirmed by the wider church as well as recognised by your local church/congregation
- Your local church will pray for you and welcome your ministry
- You will be provided with tailored training and on-going support
- You will be part of a learning community of others with a similar calling, giving you a chance to reflect and learn as you develop the role.
How can I apply for this role?
The appointment of a person to this role is discerned jointly by the local church/congregation, the Incumbent and the Diocese. These are the steps you would need to take to explore this further:
- Talk to your incumbent about this opportunity
- Contact The Revd Phil Dykes in the Mission and Ministry team to discuss what it might mean where you are
- Develop a role description with your incumbent which details what you would be expected to do (and not expected to do)
- Present your application and role description to the PCC who will then need to formally approve and minute your selection
- Obtain a DBS check against your role description
- Ensure your safeguarding training is up to date
Once licensed you will be supported in developing a Ministry Training Plan to continue in life-long learning. This will help you identify develop reflective practice and engage with peers as well as receiving coaching and taught modules.
PCC guide | PDF
Role Agreement | DOC
Application form for RLL | DOC
Bob Jackson explores role of Local Ministry in depth (he uses the term ‘Focal Ministry’), looking at the options, benefits and good practice involved in making it work in practice. Buying reference: Leading One Church at a Time,
For more information
If you would like to discuss anything about this role, please email Helen Prior-Townsend Mission Project Officer, or phone: 07394568406