Aims & Scope

Discernment: Theology and the Practice of Ministry (Discernment) presents work describing Christian ministry in a broad array of contexts: 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).

Content Genres: The types of articles considered for publication in Discernment will include but are not limited to:

  • Summaries of Doctor of Ministry projects or key aspects of that work. A fraction of the size of a DMin dissertation, summaries typically contain at least three of the following elements: a description of the context, the definition of the problem, the theological and theoretical work toward the problem's solution, the methodology of the intervention, an evaluation of the effectiveness of the work, and learnings and suggestions for future work. (6,000-8,000 words in length)
  • Retrospectives that examine how the work done in a thesis or dissertation five or more years ago continues to function or evolve in the work of the minister or ministry. These works should contain the same elements as a Summary. (6,000-8,000 words in length)
  • Re-contextualization and application of previously documented ministerial interventions to a new situation. These works should contain the same elements as a Summary. (6,000-8,000 words in length)
  • Reader's guides are annotated bibliographies that review key literature in a focused field of practical theology, placing them in context and sometimes rating their relative importance. (6,000-8,000 words in length)
  • Essays by scholar-practitioners that bring theory and practice together in creative and effective ways. These works are efforts often intended to provide a description of often occurring ministerial problems and a prescription to address those problems. (6,000-8,000 words in length)
  • Case studies are descriptions of the work of scholar-practitioners solving ministerial problems in a specific non-academic context. These contain the same elements as a Summary. (6,000-8,000 words in length)
  • Book reviews provide scholarly, critical reviews of significant and recent publications in practical theological or ministerial fields. (800-1,600 words)
  • Field Notes are very short papers (800-1,600 words), including brief reports on specific ministry practices, case studies, or findings and ideas dropped from previously published work in practical theology. Their structure is similar to Summaries but very abbreviated in length.

Each submitted article undergoes a double-blind peer-review process intended to assure a high standard of work for each issue of the journal. Although authors may have written extensively about this work in a project/thesis, they will have neither published this article nor have submitted it simultaneously to another publication.

Articles in Discernment do not necessarily represent the views of the editor, the editorial board, or the publisher. Responsibility for the facts and the opinions in these articles remains with the author; the work of the editor and editorial board is to engage submissions in a peer-reviewed process to select articles for publication consistent with the mission of the journal.