One of John Wesley’s most striking innovations was to institute an order of lay preachers, both men and women, within the Methodist Church.
Today, seven out of ten Methodist services (apart from the Eucharist) are led by local preachers (LPs) who are thoroughly trained and tested before being fully accredited to a circuit. About forty members of churches in the Nottingham Trent Valley Circuit are active local preachers. They come from very different backgrounds and have widely varied experiences of the world to offer to the church. We currently have five preachers in training (“on trial”). Candidates for ordination as presbyters must be recognised local preachers.
Local preachers meet every quarter with presbyters under the chairmanship of the Superintendent minister, and are glad to receive and discuss comments and suggestions about the leading of worship.
Each year the second Sunday in October is celebrated as Local Preachers’ Sunday in the circuit. On that day, services are normally led by LPs and there is an appeal for support for the Leaders of Worship and Local Preachers’ Trust [LWPT], a charity whose main function is to support retired local preachers.