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 7, Issue 1 (2021)


In this issue, Discernment: Theology and the Practice of Ministry presents substantive research projects addressing pastoral counseling and the experience of women as leaders in the church. Ron Bruner and Dudley Chancey offer findings from their Three Generations Study in the article, "Grief and Spiritual Coping: The Practices of Three Generations of Faith." This multi-methods research narrates findings that empower ministers to better engage in pastoral counseling, particularly to those experiencing loss. Next, Shannon Rains, Jennifer Dabbs, and Kaley Ihfe present their study, "Oneness in Christ: A Qualitative Study of Women's Initial Experiences Leading in Public Worship at Broadway Church of Christ." Extended conversations with thirty-two women empowered the authors to explore the thoughts and feelings of these respondents as they engaged in public leadership in a congregation recently opening those opportunities to women.

This issue also contains reviews of two significant books. Shaya Aguilar examines The Twenty-Something Soul: Understanding the Religious and Secular Lives of American Adults. Nathan Pickard reviews Pilgrims and Priests: Christian Mission in a Post-Secular Society.