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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 by scholar-practitioners 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 information about the journal's coverage.

Current Issue: Volume 6, Issue 1 (2020)

Introduction

The work of Sara G. Barton leads this issue of Discernment: Theology and the Practice of Ministry. Barton presents an insightful description of her doctoral work with undergraduate students in a university context: “Holistic University Spiritual Formation and Ecclesial Relationships.” The college years are an important time in the formation of personal identity—spiritual, vocational, and as a member of various communities—so Barton’s exploration of spiritually formative practices and their connection to community is significant to the church and higher education.

In this issue, Discernment begins presenting reviews of books that connect theology and practice for church workers and leaders. Grady King, co-leader of HOPE Network, reviews a book he has used in his church consulting practice, Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love, by William Willimon. Brandon Pierce, senior minister at the Stamford Church of Christ, presents Neighborhood Church: Transforming Your Congregation into a Powerhouse for Mission, by Krin van Tatenhove and Rob Mueller. Pierce finds this work to be useful for congregations seeking to better love and care for the communities of which they are a part. Many congregations are in the process of adding or reshaping their children’s ministries; their leaderships are looking for guidance to help them make their choices with greater wisdom. Ron Bruner, editor of Discernment, describes the usefulness of Sustainable Children’s Ministry: From Last‐Minute Scrambling to Long‐Term Solutions, by Mark DeVries and Annette Safstrom.

The editorial board of Discernment is already in the process of preparing Issue 2 of volume 6 for publication later in 2020. Several authors have work in progress; we continue, though, to entertain conversations with authors who are interested in submitting work to this journal. If you have questions, please email Ron Bruner, editor, at rkb01a@acu.edu.

Articles