Local Preacher's Licence (LPL)
Lay-leadership has always been central in the historic Methodist understanding of ministry. The concern to encourage more lay people to take the LPL is in continuity with this central belief of Methodism and the New Testament doctrine of the “Priesthood of all Believers”.
Historically lay leadership did not arise out of a vacuum. Wesley required his potential lay-preachers to study 4 hours each day for 4 years before he commissioned them. Similarly, for lay-leadership to be effective today, it needs to be nurtured by proper training programs. Hence the LPL, which emphasizes Bible knowledge, theological content, practical skills and spiritual growth.
1. The Main Points
A letter from your LCEC (Local Church Executive Committee) endorsing your application for a LPL. If you are merely auditing this is not necessary.
All candidates must pass a one hour written Old Testament and New Testament Test, either before or during the course of his/her studies. This is a prerequisite fro the OT and NT modules. Exemption can be given to those who have completed the Disciple Class (a certificate of completion must be produced.)
To qualify for the LPL, a candidate must complete 8 study modules (6 compulsory units plus 2 elective units). Each unit will consist of:
- Attendance of a taught 12-hour study program over a Study Weekend (Saturday and Sunday).
- Readming 2 prescribed books. The candidate will submit a statement to the effect that he has completed the reading of the 2 books. The statement must be counter-signed by the pastor.
- One written assignment around 1,500 to 2,000 words will be required.
About the present revised
Many people desiring to exercise leadership within the church have already received varying amounts of training in their background. The requirement of the LPL is not meant to deny that any previous training received is invalid. However, because the background training has not been uniform, what is sought in the LPL is some basic degree of standardization of the training received before someone is commissioned as a local preacher in TRAC.
The difficulty is to strike the right balance in our training program. Some say that the previous LPL program was too bookish. However, without proper study there can be no proper grasp of the basic meaning of the Bible, Christian doctrine, etc. Others felt that perhaps too much written work was required. The revised format has taken into consideration these comments. More practical elements have been incorporated into the course. A wider range of subjects are offered and candidates are allowed to have some choice in the elective units.
The question of assessment will always be a tricky one. But some form of assessment is necessary. Otherwise the whole process will end up very wishy-washy! The revised format now requires a minimum of one written assignment plus prescribed readings (written book reports are no longer required).
There will be four Study Weekends offered each year held in a comon center in STM. Regional Study Weekends can also be conducted provided there is a minimum number of 15 participants. Churches can contact the LPL Registrar to inform about the arrangements.
A person can complete all the LPL requirements over a 2 year period if he/she desires or over a longer period of time. Because the modules are offered in cycles, a person can come into the program at any point of time.
Final qualification for the LPL will be subjected to the requirements of the Discipline, especially Para 311 and 312.
2. Further Note
The side benefit of this approach is that this program becomes the core of an integrated program of training for TRAC. On top of being the LPL course, it can then be used as follows:
- Those wishing to renew their LPL will be required to read two recommended books and submit the two book reports OR attend one module per year and submit the required written assignment.
- People who are not interested in the LPL can just come and take the modules that they are interested in as audit.
- We wish to encourage Bible Study and Cell Group leaders, Pastoral Care Team members and Youth counselors to audit some of the modules as part of their on-going training.
- Conference Boards can plug into the program to run seminars or workshops as part of the training program of the various Boards (eg BCE can liase with LPL to conduct a Marriage Encounter Weekend).
3. LPL Module
Six compulsory units
- Understanding the OT (Background and Exegesis)
- Understanding the NT (Background and Exegesis)
- Methodist Studies
- Spirituality & Discipleship
- Christian Doctrine
Elective units (two required)
- Church History
- Specific Book Study of the Bible (multiple modules)
- Specific Doctrinal Themes (e.g. Holy Spirit; New Age; etc)
- Evangelism and Church Growth
- Christian Social Ministries
- Pastoral Care and Counselling
- Small Group Ministries
- Youth Ministries
- Inductive Bible Study
- Marriage Encounter
- Spiritual Warfare
- TRAC Institute of Christian Ministry (ICM) Spiritual Formation Leadership series
- TRAC ICM Organizational Leadership Module (OLM)
- TRAC ICM Life Giving Tools (LGT)
- Biblical Interpretation
Contacting the LPL Registrar
Rev. Shearn Sya
c/o Trinity Methodist Church, Penang
16, Jalan Mesjid Negeri
11600 Pulau Pinang