Discernment: Theology and the Practice of Ministry

Discernment is a journal of practical theology. In language accessible to the church, it presents peer-reviewed work describing Christian ministry in a broad array of contexts, exemplified by: congregational life; a particular ministry within a congregation (children’s ministry or youth ministry, for example); mission contexts, whether single or multi-congregational; ministry in cross-cultural settings; or Christian ministry in an extra-congregational environment (for example: disaster relief, care for the poor, or care for children and families). See the Aims and Scope for more details about the journal's coverage.

Current Issue: Volume 2, Issue 2 (2016)


This issue of Discernment begins with Steve Cloer’s “The Minister-Elder Relationship within ‘Churches That Work.’” Cloer has already published a paper in Restoration Quarterly detailing the historical connections among elders, ministers, and congregations among churches in the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement. His paper in Discernment presents an insightful mixed-method study of elder-minister relationships in exemplar Churches of Christ.

James Hensley identifies a significant cultural disconnect among American youth today: the attitudes of relatively affluent students toward those experiencing poverty in the United States. Hensley’s work, “Reframing Poverty for Christian Students,” goes on to explore an appropriate theological stance on poverty, propose an approach to modify Christian student attitudes towards those experiencing an economic disadvantage, and measure qualitatively the impact of that intervention.

Daniel McGraw’s “Developing a Spiritual Leadership Curriculum at West University Church of Christ” narrates his intervention in the life of a congregation in Houston, Texas. He identified a need for a “spiritual leadership” curriculum to strengthen leaders who have experienced “burnout and weariness.” He then worked with a team of leaders to communally develop such a curriculum based on a pattern of “thinking, feeling, and acting” found in Philippians. McGraw sketches outcomes of this project thus far.