Some 24 years ago Ministry Today UK (then called the Richard Baxter Institute for Ministry) saw the light of day with a view to helping ministers to ‘survive and thrive’ in ministry. However, nothing in life is permanent. Much as I enjoyed chairing Ministry Today UK (MTUK) and serving as the General Editor and Review Editor of the journal, I realised that now that I was retired from stipendiary ministry the time had come for me to step down from leadership. I have always believed that a strength of MTUK is that it has been an organisation run by working ministers for working ministers. We looked for younger leaders to take over, but unfortunately were not successful. As a result, even although the number of subscribers is increasing, MTUK will close as from Easter 2018.
Inevitably I feel somewhat sad about this outcome – for as many of you will know, MTUK was my vision. Yet the reality is that there is much to celebrate. MTUK has occupied a very special place in the life of many ministers – there has been no other British cross-denominational organisation focussed on the practice of ministry.
The other day I made a list of some of the past contributors to the journal, and realised what a distinguished group of authors we have had – with a good number from overseas too. Contributors have included David Atkinson, George Beasley-Murray, Brian Beck, John Bell, Margaret Bowker, Peter Brierley, Colin Buchanan, Terry Calkin, Tony Campolo, Wesley Carr, Edward Carter, Steve Chalke, Keith Clements, Nigel Copsey, David Cormick, Stephen Cottrell, Fred Craddock, Steven Croft, Roland Croucher, Morgan Derham, John Drane, Steve Finnamore, Leslie Francis & Philip Richter, Robin Greenwood, Liz Gulliford, Brian Harris, Brian Haymes, Nicholas Henshall, Steve Ingram, David Jackman, Bob Jackson, Krish Kandiah, Robin Mackintosh, David Male, Tim Marks, Glen Marshall, Ralph Martin, Roy McCloughry, Nick Mercer, Ann Morisy, Roy Oswald, Martyn Percy, Sivakumar Rajagopalan, Jonathan Roberts, Murray Robertson, Alastair Ross, David Shosanya, Matthew Simpkin, John Simpson, Christine Sine, Chris Skilton, Ian Stackhouse, Peter Stevenson, Sue Waldron-Skinner, Derek Tidball, John Truscott, Andrew Walker, Rowan Williams, David Wise, Nigel Wright, and Stephen Wright. Did you spot the five Anglican bishops and one archbishop? Or the seven principals of Baptist colleges?
Topics covered have been amazingly wide-ranging and included: leading a building project; a call to excellence; abuse in the church; adolescence, popular culture and the church; appraisals; all-age worship; the art of preaching; building visions; care for the dying and the living; care for those struggling with terminal illness; blogging; celebrating families; cathedrals and growth; Celtic spirituality; chaplaincy; children and communion; children in the church; Christian grandparenting; chronic illness and the church; church design; church growth; competency; creating a learning community; creating safe community; Damascus or Emmaus; depression; developing a health cell movement; digital faith; dreaming dreams; ending and beginning well; fishing nets or safety nets; forgiveness and faith; disability; finding holy ground in dull terrain; forty days of purpose; funeral of a baby; gathering a harvest of righteousness; funerals are not always celebrations; goal setting; God gave rock’n roll to you; grave inscriptions; growing old; helping large congregations to stop the right; home groups; imagination and fun; immortal longings; inviting a response; is Allah God? Jubilee ethics; keeping sermons fresh; lay ministry; leadership; leadership in the Book of Esther; lessons in leadership failure; liberation theology and the local church; losing a staff member; lost souls – who we do think we are?; loving God and nation; managing is not enough; ministry and revivalism; ministry and technology; ministry burnout; ministry from the margins; ministry in a small community; ministry stages; ministry to survivors of sexual abuse; multi-ethnic worship; pastoral counselling; pastoral visiting; prayer; prayer and midlife ministry; preaching amidst the ruins of Christendom; preaching the messianic prophecies; the preacher as poet; race, class and the Gospel in multi-cultural Britain; real men don’t do church; reforming worship; reliability in ministry; reshaping worship for evangelism in a missionary church; responsibility without authority; retirement; resolving difficulties in the local church; rural evangelism; same gender relationships; seven keys for survival in ministry; spiritual accountability; suburban and urban spirituality; suicide; supervision; surviving the culture of criticism; the care of seniors; the challenge of assimilation; the Christian leader as contemplative; the cultural context of mission; the Gospel-driven church; the long-term pastorate; the Lord’s prayer and terrorism; the male identity crisis in the church; the ministry of little things; the care of the homeless; the violence of language; theological reflection and stress management; time to move on; transition planning; turning leavers into returners; understanding the changing patterns of church attendance; where have all the prophets gone?; why we should not commemorate World War 1; working with asylum seekers; and working with young people.
Why do I mention all this? Because, after the final issue of Ministry Today UK in Spring 2018, we will be re-publishing in May 2018 all 520 articles which have appeared in the journal in eight fully-indexed hard-back volumes. These ‘legacy’ volumes, entitled Ministry Today UK 1994-2018, will be on sale from next summer at £95 per set. However, for those who order by the end of November 2017 there will be a special pre-publication price of just £48 + £10 postage and packing for those living in the UK (for those living outside the UK postage costs will be higher). What a bargain for this wide-ranging collection of articles on almost aspect of the practice of ministry! Although this offer is being made primarily to members of MTUK, we are willing to make the same offer to others too – including those of you who receive my blog.
If you wish to take advantage of this a publishing sensation, please email me, and I will send you details of how to make payment. If you are not a minister or church leader you might want to order the set and then bless your pastor with a great gift!
One final thought: I am proud that MTUK is going to end well by leaving this legacy for future generations of ministers and church leaders. Would that every Christian or church organisation knew how to end well!