13 January 2024

Territorial Appointments Conference 2024: Praying for discernment

Lieut-Colonel David Shakespeare

A photo shows a simple map of the UK and Ireland.

Lieut-Colonel David Shakespeare encourages everyone to pray for the Territorial Appointments Conference this week.

The Territorial Appointments Conference will take place from Sunday 14 January to Thursday 18 January. A group of territorial and divisional leaders will meet at William Booth College to worship and pray together, then to seek to understand the needs and opportunities the territory has at this time and consider how appointed leadership may help strengthen local teams in the best possible way. These proposals will then go to the Territorial Appointments Board, led by territorial leadership, before being released on 14 March.

The process of discernment has been under way for some months as THQ service personnel and divisional teams have met with local leaders and their teams to better understand how the local mission is flourishing and what is needed to be ever more fruitful in the next season of ministry. The recent restructuring of divisional boundaries has enabled a more strategic and collaborative approach as many communities now work to their strengths in clusters, which can give leaders a broader experience of the diverse ministry that happens in so many places.

This year’s conference will be structured in a different way from previous years. Each division and service has identified a strategically important appointment. These have been reviewed by the territorial leaders and the personnel service and some territorial priorities have become clear. These appointments will be prayerfully considered first and, through a process of collective discernment, people will be identified for these mission opportunities.

Later in the conference delegates will be invited to consider other leaders available to the territory in July and discern where their experiences, spiritual gifts and ministry passions can be best deployed for them to be fruitful and for mission to flourish.

The whole territory is invited to support these days of discernment with prayer.

Why be intentional about praying into this process? Prayer is needed for those who will be attending as they seek to understand God’s heart and mind. The Territorial Appointments Conference is always a sacred task and is characterised by a spirit of co-operation and goodwill so that the whole territory is strengthened.

Prayer is also needed for the officers and territorial envoys who will be involved in new areas of ministry later this year, and others who will become part of this transition, that they know themselves to be secure in the centre of God’s will.

Prayer for this part of the discernment process will no doubt lead us to think honestly and deeply about our territory as we seek to love God and love others – where we should work and what that work looks like are important issues for us all.

Prayer may also lead us to a greater understanding of our own discipleship and the part we must play as we respond to Jesus’ call to join him daily in pursuit of his mission.

Reflect and respond

  • Commit to 15 minutes – or more if you can – of focused prayer between 6am and 10pm each day from 14 to 18 January.
  • Reflect on this prayer from Carla Harding: ‘Lord, here I am. I want to be wholly available to you, surrendered to your purpose, trusting in your perfect plan. Teach me today to respond to your call.’

Written by

A photo of David Shakespeare.

Lieut-Colonel David Shakespeare

Assistant Secretary for Personnel, THQ

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