The Methodist Church Structure
In very simple terms:
- The term we use for our clergy (those people have taken holy orders and become ordained) is Minister or presbyter.
- Our churches across the country are overseen but The Connexion, our presiding body in this country.
- Then each larger part of the country is separated into Districts, with a District Chair in place to direct and advise.
- Each District is then separated into Circuits; an area where a group of churches come under one banner. A Superintendent Minister is in charge of these.
As well as a Superintendent Minister in charge of a Circuit, they can be assisted by a second Minister within the circuit. Some Circuits are blessed enough to have Supernumeries living locally – these are retired ministers that still choose to serve as preachers and work in the circuit.
Within each circuit, as well as the ministers, there is a staff team made up of lay workers (this means someone who works for the church but is not a formal member of the clergy).
As well as the staff team, there is the Circuit Leadership Team, comprised of members from each of the churches in the circuit. The Methodist Church is very clear in wanting its members to have a voice in the running of their churches and therefore there are council meetings and member meetings which allow for everyone to have a vote on matters that concern them.
Each individual congregation also has pastoral leaders and stewards who oversee and care for the members in small groups to ensure that everyone is supported.
When it comes to leading worship, as well as the Ministers in a circuit, there are also local preachers and worship leaders. These are members of the circuit who are not ordained but have felt the calling from God to lead worship. They each undergo a full training course to help them and guide them to become preachers. This is open to anyone who feels that God has called them to do so.
The idea of lay preachers (everyday members of our congregation) being able to lead worship and help in this way comes directly from the actions of John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, who gave responsibility to everyday folk to share the good news of God’s love in everyday spaces, for everyone.