Reimagining Ministerial Formation

Reimagining Ministerial Formation

Author David Heywood
Publisher SCM £25
Format pbk
ISBN 9780334060420

The author, who recently retired as Deputy Director of Mission for the Diocese of Oxford, brings his considerable experience in the field of ministerial formation to bear in this timely book which sets out what he refers to as a ‘new paradigm’: a life-long learning approach for both lay and ordained ministry. Refreshingly, the book does not draw a distinction between the sorts of training that are required for lay and ordained ministry. The author sees the process of lifelong learning and development of ministry as a continuum that should start with one’s baptism/confirmation. The new paradigm envisages all church members as being part of this process, encouraged by those around them to embrace the idea of discipleship in its true sense of being a learner, and being supported in whatever ministry their circumstances and talents lead them to. Education and training are therefore based on practical and emotional skills for ministry, which is to be seen as ‘pastoral imagination’. It is an inspiring manifesto for a new collaborative approach for clergy and laity though it will take time and a considerable devotion of resources to achieve.

Reviewed by IMOGEN CLOUT

Ministerial Formation


How To Be a Church Minister

How To Be a
Church Minister

Author Nigel Wright
Publisher BRF £10.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780857466891

Yet another sober, balanced and thoughtful account of the minister’s craft and calling? Who needs it, I wonder, when there are so many? A glance at the chapter headings – build the congregation; pastor the people; conduct worship well – tells us what is in store. That said, Wright covers the ground well. His writing is clear, practical and wise. There is good biblical reference, honest personal reflection, and a strong sense that ministry may be energising and fresh. A chapter headed ‘stay on the boil’ draws from Richard Baxter and is excellent. ‘When our hearts grow cold, our preaching grows cold… If we forbear to take food, then others will be famished’, he writes – not to discourage, but to urge readers to carry on finding ways to ‘nurture the springs of living water – that refresh every aspect of our service.’ I was glad to have read this.


Ministry, Ministerial Formation



Haunted by Christ

Haunted by Christ

Author Richard Harries
Publisher SPCK £9.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780281079339

This is a very ambitious book. A testament to a lifetime of reading and thinking about all aspects of theology, it strives to give a picture of twenty writers whose struggle for faith, or rejection of it, has been central to their work. From Dostoevsky to Marilynne Robinson, via Hopkins, Beckett, Auden, Eliot and Golding to name but a few, each chapter begins with a brief biography of the author under discussion. If you already know the life and work of a particular author well, then you may not find much new to stimulate thought. If, on the other hand, you have never tried Stevie Smith or Elizabeth Jennings, for example, then this might just prompt you to take up their work and discover a fresh voice. I found the chapter on the competing myths of C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman particularly interesting. It might well form the basis for a discussion in a Christian book group.


Biographical Essays, Literature


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