Local Ministry

Recognising that far-reaching changes were taking place in Church and society, the Diocese of Hereford adopted Local Ministry as part of its strategy for the future.

This means recognising that 'the ministry of the local church' involves everyone, not just the Vicar. Many lay people already work hard for the church in practical ways, but often not all the gifts for pastoral ministry, leading worship and strategic thinking are being used.

The Local Ministry Scheme is a way of putting the strategy into effect. The Diocese has worked out a process which has now been tried and tested in a variety of places.

What is a Local Ministry Development Group (LMDG)?

An LMDG is made up of the Incumbent plus various others - usually a specially formed group based on nominations by the congregation.


  • acts as a focus and a catalyst for mission and ministry in the local church;
  • is not meant to do all the work but rather to foster the ministries of all God's people as together they share in God's mission.
Why form a Local Ministry Development Group (LMDG)?

An LMDG is useful because it provides:

  • a way of taking forward ideas which otherwise might remain on the shelf;
  • a range of complimentary gifts, rather than the strengths (and weaknesses) of individuals on their own;
  • a coordinating point for the benefice's mission; an expression of the ownership of the Church's future by all God's people; a way of realising people's gifts, within and beyond the LMDG.
Three marks of local ministry

Local Ministry can be spotted by looking out for the following marks:

  • local communities of faith discerning God's call to mission over the years ahead and obeying that call;
  • all Christians being enabled to realise their gifts as they share in discipleship and ministry;
  • lay people and clergy sharing leadership as local churches take responsibility for being signs of God's Kingdom.
The Vacancy Consultation

This is a process offered to all Parishes/groups of Parishes at the point when the Incumbency becomes vacant. It precedes the writing of the Benefice Profile/Statement of Needs. The Vacancy Consultation sets the scene for the Benefice Profile and contributes towards it.

The Diocese offers two Facilitators to enable the people of the Parish /group of Parishes to have a series of conversations about the needs of the local community/ies, what should be the hallmarks of a local Church and what God might be calling the local Church to be in the next five years.

The Facilitators do not offer their solutions - they listen and record what the people of the area are saying to one another. At the end of the session, the Facilitators write a report of all that has been recorded and offer it to the Parish/group of Parishes. The process of the Vacancy Consultation takes about three hours.

We have found that it is best done on a Saturday morning or after a Group Service on a Sunday (when it fits well around a "Bring and Share Lunch"). The report of the session is usually offered to the Churchwardens of the Parish/group of Parishes within ten working days of the Consultation. The process is administered from the Local Ministry Office in Ludlow.

Induction Process

The Diocese offers an Induction for those Clergy new to the Diocese or in their first position of responsibility. It is envisaged that this Induction will take place immediately preceding, or following, Licensing. It will take the form of a conversation with an experienced minister in a multi-Parish Benefice.

It might include experiencing a typical Sunday, to acquaint new-comers to the complexities of the Diocese associated with worship in large, sparsely-populated areas. In addition, new incumbents are offered a Mentor for their first six months.