Ordained in 1970, Paul is an experienced minister who has a real ‘heart’ for ministry. He enjoys reflecting on the practice of ministry – as also serving as a ministry consultant. Over the years Paul has written widely on ministry matters and has taught all over the world on a wide range of topics related to Christian ministry
Paul remains an accredited Baptist Minister of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, but is now part of the Chelmsford Cathedral community. He regularly speaks at the Cathedral’s Sunday morning seminar-style ‘Breakfast with the Bible’, and also leads a ‘fellowship group’. Paul continues to preach in churches of various denominations, although he is happy just to be part of the Sunday 9.30 Parish Eucharist at the Cathedral.
Paul co-founded a bi-monthly lunchtime for retired Baptist ministers in Mid- and South Essex, and takes the lead in presenting topics for discussion.
Since 2005 Paul has been a member of the Rotary Club of Chelmsford Rivermead, and was the 2016-2017 club president. In June 2018 he was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. With its aim of ‘service above self’, Paul sees his Rotary involvement as an expression of Christian ministry.
As Senior Minister of Central Baptist Church, Chelmsford (1993-2014) he transformed a traditional declining city-centre church into a strong vibrant, growing fellowship; at the time he left there were 399 committed members, together with a much larger church community.
As Principal of Spurgeon’s College, London (1986-1993) he doubled the student enrolment, increased the faculty by one-third, and developed new patterns of ministerial training
As Pastor of Altrincham Baptist Church, Cheshire (1973-1986) he enabled a small declining church to develop into a strong virile church, quadrupled in size (from 83 to 300+ members).
As a BMS Missionary in Congo/Zaire (1990-1992) he taught Greek and New Testament in the Protestant Theological Faculty of the National University.
Prior to going up to Cambridge Paul served as a ‘Time for God’ worker with the German Baptists (1962-63), helping with Baptist youth work in Southern Germany.
Interests Beyond Ministry
In Who’s Who? Paul lists as his interests cooking, travel and parties! His grandchildren are also another major interest!
He is married to Caroline, a past President of the Coroners Society of England and Wales 2018-2019. They have four grown-up children: Jonathan, who is an associate professor in Latin American studies at University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, and is married to Fiona, a technical writer – they have one child, David, together with Sophie and Theo; Timothy, is based at University College London, where he is an associate professor for European Thought and Culture , and is married to Charlotte, a lawyer – they have two children, Felix and Clara; Susannah, is a senior social worker, and is married to Rob, an artist – they have two children, Jemima and Raphael; and Benjamin, a freelance journalist, is married to Kathryn, who is deputy head of English at the British School in Cairo – they have one child, Agatha.
Paul is a patron of the Society of Mary and Martha, a retreat centre based at Sheldon, near Exeter, which specialises in supporting ministers experiencing stress, crisis, burnt-out or break-down. He is a patron of the J’s Young Adults Hospice and also a company member of the Havens Hospices based in Essex. He is on the Council of Reference for the British arm of the Haggai Institute, which trains Christian leaders for the developing world.
In January 2019 he became Chairman of the Cambridge Society of Essex, an alumni group which meets for lectures, lunches, and other social activities.
He seeks to keep fit by engaging in a good deal of walking in the early morning.
Paul continues to be a prolific author.
Since retiring from stipendiary ministry he has written a definitive guide to ministry entitled Living Out the Call (Feed-a-Read 2015; revised in 2016 and available through Amazon both electronically and as soft-backs). It consists of four volumes:
- Living to God’s Glory (on Amazon, also available as a PDF);
- Leading God’s Church (on Amazon, also available as a PDF);
- Reaching God’s World (on Amazon, also available as a PDF);
- Serving God’s Church (on Amazon, also available as a PDF).
According to Derek Tidball, a former Principal of the London College of Theology:
This is the most comprehensive practical introduction to ministry currently available.
He has written his autobiography, This is my story: a story of life, faith, and ministry (Wipf & Stock, Eugene, Oregon 2018). In the words of the cover blurb:
This is a book for pastors – and for any Christian – who want the “inside story” of the pains and triumphs of a Christian leader.
He has updated two popular pastoral resources. The first is Happy Ever After? A workbook for couples preparing for marriage (College of Baptist Ministers, Chelmsford 2017). Biblically-based and solidly practical, it covers everything from money to matrimonial disagreement, from coming to terms with the past to sharing jobs in the house. The second, A Loved One Dies: help in the first few weeks (College of Baptist Ministers, Chelmsford 2017), gives down-to earth advice on how to arrange the funeral service, and the many other practical matters that arise after a death. It also provides clear thoughts on the Christian understanding of death to help the bereaved discover hope where at first there is only sadness.
Following his 2017 survey of the reading habits of British ministers – the first survey of its kind in the UK, he published a major 8000-word article, ‘Ministers’ Reading Habits’, Baptist Quarterly 49 (January 2018). The full analysis together with further reflections is found on this website.
He has written three books on ministerial retirement.
- Retirement Matters for Ministers: A report into how into how Baptist ministers experience retirement (College of Baptist Ministers, Chelmsford 2018), is based on a research project and explores issues such as the transition to retirement; housing and finance; health; friendships; family; and ministry in retirement.
- Entering New Territory: Why are retired Baptist ministers moving to Anglican churches? (College of Baptist Ministers, Chelmsford 2019) is based on a second research project and explores the underlying theological issues.
- Making the Most of Retirement (Bible Reading Fellowship, Abingdon 2020) was written for ministers of all denominations and is the first such book for ministers written from a distinctively British perspective.
His two latest books are:
- Fifty Lessons in Ministry: Reflections on Fifty Years of Ministry (Darton, Longman & Todd, London 2020) written to coincide with his 50th anniversary of ordination
- There is Hope! Preaching at Funerals will be published by IVP and surprisingly is the first British guide to preaching at funerals.
He has edited two major books:
- Ministry Today UK: UK 1994-2018, (College of Baptist Ministers, Chelmsford 2018) is a ‘cornucopia of pastoral wisdom’, whose eight volumes contain all 520 articles of the former journal of MTUK.
- A College of Peers: The College of Baptist Ministers 2013-2021 (College of Baptist Ministers, Chelmsford 2021) is a story of a group of a group of ministers with a passion for ministry and should be of interest to all who are concerned for the wellbeing of ministry in Baptist churches.
- Together with Terry Calkin he has written a series short books on leadership for pastors in the developing world: viz. The Passionate Leader: The Four Foundations of Leadership, The Visionary Leader, The Leader with Character, and The Gifted Leader.
Other writings currently in print are:
- Happy Ever After? A Guide to the Marriage Adventure (Baptist Union 1996; Revised 2003 as Happy Ever After? A workbook for couples preparing for marriage. Revised and updated 2017 and republished by the College of Baptist Ministers.)
- Power For God’s Sake? Power and Abuse in the Local Church (Originally published by Paternoster 1998; but since republished in 2005 by Wipf & Stock, Eugene, Oregon, USA)
- The Message Of The Resurrection: The Bible Speaks For Today (IVP 2000. Also published in the USA and translated into Burmese, Chinese, Romanian, Korean and Turkish);
- Joy to the World: Preaching at Christmas (IVP 2005 – also available in a special OM edition in India, Nepal, Oman, Qatar, UAE, Bahrein & Kuwait)
- Transform Your Church! 50 very practical steps (IVP 2005)
- A Loved One Dies: Help in The First Few Days (Baptist Union 2005; Revised 2016; Revised and republished by the College of Baptist Ministers, 2017.).
Other writings currently available electronically:
- Building for the Future: A Guide to those considering entering a Building Project (privately printed, Central Baptist Church, Chelmsford 2003; 2nd edition 2004; electronic edition PB-M Books 2020)
- Radical Believers: The Baptist Way of being the Church (Baptist Union 1992, and translated into Czech, German, & Norwegian; 2nd edition 2006; electronic 3rd edition PB-M Books 2020)
- Radical Disciples: A Course for New Christians (Baptist Union 1996; 2nd edition 2005; electronic 3rd edition PB-M Books 2020)
- Radical Leaders: A Guide for Elders and Deacons in Baptist Churches (Baptist Union 1997; 2nd edition 2005; electronic 3rd edition PB-M books 2020)
- Baptism, Belonging and Breaking Bread: Preparing for Baptism (Baptist Union 2010; electronic 2nd edition PB-M Books 2020).
- Leading Teams in Larger Churches (2010): teal.org.uk
- A Retreat Lectionary (Society of Mary & Martha 2012; electronic edition PB-M Books 2020)
Books no longer in print
Turning the Tide: An Assessment of Baptist Church Growth in England (Bible Society, 1980) co-authored with Alan Wilkinson; Pastors under Pressure (Kingsway 1989); Dynamic Leadership (Monarch 1990; translated into Swedish); Faith & Festivity: A Guide For Worship Leaders (Monarch 1991); ; A Call To Excellence: An Essential Guide To Christian Leadership (Hodder & Stoughton 1995); ; and Fearless for Truth: A Personal Portrait of the Life of George Beasley-Murray (Paternoster 2002) He edited Mission To the World (Baptist Historical Society, 1991); Anyone For Ordination? (Monarch 1993); and along with others co-edited Prayers For All Peoples (Oncken 1993).
With over 445 articles to his credit, he has written for a variety of publications, for the most part reflecting on the practice of ministry. For further details see paulbeasleymurray.com/articles.
Since the autumn of 2011 Paul has been publishing a weekly ‘blog’ which has a world-wide following: viz Church Matters. As at the end of 2020 he had written 475 ‘posts’
Paul read Modern Languages (German & French: Part 1 of the Tripos) & Theology (Parts 2 & 3 of the Tripos) at Jesus College, Cambridge (1963-1967). He then trained for the Baptist ministry, first at the Northern Baptist College, Manchester (1967-1969) and then at the International Baptist Theological Seminary, Rüschlikon-Zurich in Switzerland. In 1970 he was awarded a PhD in New Testament studies (The Lordship of Christ over the World in the Corpus Paulinum) from Manchester University, having spent the final year of his doctoral studies at Zurich University. As a member of the Society of New Testament Studies, Paul retains his interest in New Testament studies.
|Born:||14 March 1944 in London (Ilford)|
|Baptised:||17 November 1957 in Zurich (Salemskapelle, Zurich)|
|Married:||26 August 1967 in Wrexham (The Old Meeting)|
|Ordained:||10 October 1970 in London (Holmesdale Road Baptist Church, South Norwood)|