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 3, Issue 1 (2017)


For some time, scholar practitioners have been using the terms cruciformity, kenosis, and differentiated self. What has been missing from these conversations is an exploration of solutions for the apparent contradiction among these ideas. David Hooper asserts that these terms are not contradictory but complementary in his work “Cruciformity, Differentiation, and Christian Spiritual Formation.” Hooper presents a coherent way to practice and embody these terms for the sake of mature individual spirituality and a healthy—and not anxious—congregation.

An increasing body of literature speaks to the practice of spiritual discernment. Communal discernment seems a hopeful alternative since corporate and political decision-making processes are demonstrably inappropriate and ineffective in contemporary congregations. In “Ignatius: A Guide for Congregational Discernment,” Benjamin Gensic notes the various Christian discernment models available for churches and then develops in detail an Ignatian framework for communal discernment. Gensic explains the ways that congregations are drawn into the life and work of the Trinity by prayerfully engaging such a process.

Since Christine Pohl's work, Making Room, hospitality has been a renewed focus of study. Much of this work has covered historical, theological, and practical aspects of hospitality. The discussion of practice has often been about creating separate and specific hospitable practices or events. In “Toward Just Hospitality,” Ron Bruner presents a hermeneutic of hospitality that empowers Christians to evaluate their practice of hospitality in most ministry situations. The aim of that hermeneutic is to encourage a lifestyle that imitates the practice of hospitality by Jesus for the sake of justice and reconciliation.