The Revd Paul Smith gives four talks exploring the theme “The Lamb of God.”
A weekend of Bible exposition, encouraging worship and prayer, great fellowship and wonderful hospitality. Come for the weekend or for a day.
Paul, you’re currently Chair of MET – What’s that been like?
It has been an exciting role working with a very visionary team on the Executive. Several new projects emerged as we led the Connexion through the Prayer of Blessing initiative, supported Biblefresh, launched the Preaching Conferences and have encouraged workers with students and young adults. It has been a privilege to support those in lay and ordained ministry at every level of the Connexion. I have valued the opportunity through conferences and various appointments to travel around the Connexion and meet MET members and share in the exciting things that God is doing. MET is continuing to flourish and play an important role at the heart of Methodism. The role of Chair is demanding but I have once again found God to be faithful in that “Those whom God calls, he equips.”
Why did you apply for this new post?
At ECG 2010, God began to challenge me about being willing to launch out into a wider ministry. Over the following year, I explored this with my District Chair and for several reasons the time was not right. However at ECG 2011, when I was outlining the role at the AGM and welcoming applications, it seemed that God was saying to Karen (my wife) and me that this was the next step for my ministry. After what will be 14 years serving Knutsford Methodist Church, this is a big change. However, I feel that both MET and Karen and I are moving out in faith as we seek to expand the reach of MET and apply MET’s vision to personal discipleship and the mission and ministry of the church.
What challenges and opportunities will the new role offer?
I am looking forward to establishing regional networks whereby MET members can meet for prayer, study and fellowship. This will be a challenge as people are so busy, but where these are becoming established they are proving very fruitful. I already have a number of events (e.g. Synod visits, teaching weekends, LP training days) lined up in the Autumn of 2012. I hope this is an area of my work which will grow as members take up the opportunity to use me in their Districts and circuits.
I have just attended the MET Prayer Conference and was encouraged to see the growth of prayer houses, rooms and networks in the Connexion. I hope to be able to support and encourage this growth, which I have been involved with over many years.
The challenge has always been to have access to our Theological Colleges and training programmes. The Executive also want to encourage Methodist Churches to support students in our Universities. We lose so many to other denominations with relevant biblical teaching and contemporary worship. No doubt more plans will emerge at Executive, which I will seek to develop.
What causes you to rejoice or mourn in the life of the church today?
I rejoice that MET is no longer seen as an external irritant but an internal influence. The number of people participating in Conference, on District and Connexional Committees and at every level of the life of the Church is encouraging. It is great that we are able to commit ourselves to the important Connexional themes of discipleship, “Talking of God” and preacher development and encourage participation in national programmes like Biblefresh, Hope and More than Gold. We must take every opportunity to build up the people of God.
I do mourn that there is a sense that we are planning for decline or even see blogs which discuss the end of Methodism by 2038. Like you, I long for our prayers for renewal and revival to be answered and for the church to grow to engage in mission. I mourn that so many of our young people leave the Methodist Church because they do not feel the worship is relevant or biblical.
What are your hopes for MET and for Methodism?
I think you might already detect the answer. I long for a move of God through this nation, with hundreds of thousands coming to faith. I pray that the Methodist Church will be able to disciple and equip these people to engage in further servant ministry and evangelism. I don’t believe God has finished with Methodism but will answer our heart cry for his presence. MET must continue to pray for this renewal and revival and continue to focus on the centrality of the cross, the authority of scripture and disciples who apply scripture to every aspect of their lives.
MET must continue to pray for this renewal and revival and continue to focus on the centrality of the cross, the authority of scripture and disciples who apply scripture to every aspect of their lives.
“I am a Methodist because…”?
I came to faith and was discipled in a lively and evangelical Methodist Church who loved and cared for me… and still do. I was later called quite specifically to love and serve the people called Methodist.
How do you relax?
I like getting lost in a good book. Karen and I enjoy walking and bird watching. Playing the piano or listening to music continues to bless me. I also love watching sport and I am a Manchester United fan!