Saturday, February 08, 2014

This Week in Texas Methodist History February 9

Houston Hosts Ministerial Conference   February 8, 9, 1899

One of the effects of Methodism’s employing preachers who had little or no formal university or seminary training was an emphasis on self study and frequent preacher institutes for what we would call today in-service education.  Probationary members would be given a required reading list of religious works for the first four years of ministry.  One of the main activities of annual conference was an examination of the probationers covering the works they were supposed to have read during the preceding year.

Even after preachers obtained full annual conference membership, they were supposed to make regular, disciplined study a part of their lives.  One way to accomplish that was through a variety of conferences, institutes, and conventions.  In 1899 the Houston District of the MECS held such a conference.  Here is the full schedule. The lecture and discussion topics reveal much about the concerns of the era.  Some of those concerns persist to the present.

Session 1
What Does a Call to the Ministry Mean to Us?
The Spiritual Life of the Preacher or the Preacher as a Man of God
The Intellectual Life of the Preacher
The Preparation and Delivery of Sermons

Session 2
The Importance and Best Methods of Pastoral Work
Discussion:  The Duty of the Pastor to the Children and Young People
Discussion:  The Relation of the Pastor to the Finances of the Church
                     How May We Best Prevent the Idea that the Assessment*
                      is the Main
                     Object  Sought Instead of Worship in Giving?
                     Should All the Finances of the Church be in the hands of the Laity?

Session 3:The Prayer-Meeting—Its Importance and Best Means of Increasing Attendance
                  Revivals—Methods and Agencies
                  Discussion:  Protracted Meetings , Ordinary Services As Revival Agencies

Session 4:  The Need of a Missionary Conscience in the Ministry
                 The Need of a More Definite and Comprehensive  Knowledge of Missionary Work
                  Home Missions—Rural and City Evangelism
                  The Outlook in Foreign Fields
                   The Sunday School as an Opportunity for Missionary Education

Session 5  Closing worship

*modern usage is "apportionment"


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