Pioneer or Presbyter?

After an intensive time of discernment and completing a Methodist Church candidating portfolio, Nigel Bailey shares some of what has led to his decision to pursue his work with Pioneer Connexion.

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2 thoughts on “Pioneer or Presbyter?

  1. Terry says:

    “The 7th “proverb” in this book explains that when it comes to a difficult moment of choice – a fork in the road – one path leads to hireling status, the other that of owner. I have been utterly convicted by this passage and know that God is giving me a choice; but He wants me to step up and be an owner.”

    Not so sure that these are the only two options though. Surely, as Bill Hybels would also confirm, the role of minister is primarily that of a ‘servant’ – indeed, that is the meaning of the word. The path towards Methodist ministry is indeed complicated, and it is also a huge challenge. Not only through ordination, but increasingly so afterwards, when the real work begins. It is about saying that it is not about me, nor my preferences, but that my life is utterly laid down for God, wherever that may lead.

    I have never seen myself as a ‘hireling’, and the cost of obedience to the call to ministry for myself and my family has been massive (says he, still recovering from his heart attack!).

    The true test is surely not that of being either a hireling or an owner, but rather being obedient to the call of God, no matter the cost or the inconvenience. Nothing else will suffice, and a wrong choice will lead to a ‘divine niggle’ which will last for the rest of your life.

    In writing this, I am not commenting on your decision, which you know I totally respect. I am just not comfortable with Hybels’ advice. I much prefer that given by Yogi Berra, the American baseball star, who reputedly said, ‘When you come to a fork in the road, take it!’.


    1. nigelbaileypcx says:

      Thanks for your thoughts Terry. I had to think twice before publishing this comment, but decided that it would be best to do so to highlight that there is a misunderstanding in how the reference to “hireling” is being seen. So, a couple of things to say about that:

      Firstly, I don’t like the word, but only used it because it was true to Bill Hybels’ original text. It has overtones of something “lesser” which is somewhat inconsistent with the whole first-shall-be-last and last-shall-be-first idea that Jesus embodied.

      Secondly, the blog was not intended to equate being a Presbyter with being a hireling. That would be quite offensive to presbyters and I have huge respect for those who commit to such ministry.

      Bill Hybels’ article was concerned with the idea of staying the course; of toughing it out and sticking to the task you know you have already been called to, no matter the cost; not quitting because things have suddenly gotten harder (which they have). There is a part of me that still wants to enter full-time ministry, and I certainly don’t see it as an easy option; but I have received a prior calling on my life at this time and I must honour it.


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