Exploring Practices of Ministry

Exploring Practices of Ministry

Copyright Date: 2014
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  • Book Info
    Exploring Practices of Ministry
    Book Description:

    Fortress Press’s Foundations for Learning series prepares students for academic success through compelling resources that kick-start their educational journey into professional Christian ministry. In Exploring Practices of Ministry, Pamela Cooper-White and Michael Cooper-White share insights from their extensive experience as parish ministers, church agency executives, and seminary educators in diverse multicultural and international contexts. Pamela, an Episcopal priest who teaches pastoral theology, care, and counseling, is also a pastoral psychotherapist with an extensive clinical background. Michael, a Lutheran pastor and seminary president, is also a pilot and flight instructor and has served as a chaplain with the Civil Air Patrol. The authors share their wisdom with seminarians and other readers seeking to deepen theological reflection and expand skills as ministry practitioners. While not all readers are preparing to be ordained ministers, most will engage in many of the practices described in the book: preaching and public speaking, teaching, leading liturgies, conducting ceremonies, counseling and offering pastoral support for persons undergoing life transitions, and serving as organizational leaders in congregations, chaplaincies, social ministries, and in the public arena. This book is a companion journal for pilgrims on the way to becoming confident practitioners of ministry.

    eISBN: 978-1-4514-8973-6
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Pamela and Michael Cooper-White
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    Nearly thirty years ago, the story of Jesus and two fellow travelers on a path from Jerusalem to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) was the gospel reading we chose for our wedding. Having met and come to recognize each other deeply through the experience of accompanying pastors who had received death threats in El Salvador because of their advocacy for the poor, we identified with this story’s themes. Rich in imagery, this passage from Luke is the story of a seven-mile journey that culminates in spiritual growth and recognition of God’s presence in ordinary places among “regular people.” As they move along...

  6. Chapter 1 On the Road: Practices as Theology, and Theology as Practice
    (pp. 11-28)

    At the outset of the Emmaus story (Luke 24: 13-35), verbs describe the activity of Jesus’ two fellow travelers: they were going, talking, and discussing. As Jesus entered the picture, his activities included accompanying (he came near and went with them” [v. 15]), asking questions, interpreting the Scriptures, and breaking bread at table. All these things might be conceived of as Jesus’ and his companions’ practices of ministry. They involved doing, but also thinking, talking, and reflecting in community.

    Here at the beginning of our journey in this book, we pose the fundamental question: What are practices of ministry, and...

  7. Chapter 2 Setting Hearts on Fire: Practices of Proclamation
    (pp. 29-48)

    The Emmaus travelers’ astonished recognition of what had occurred in Jesus’ presence with them on the road and at table point to the heart and soul of our calling as public ministers: prophetic proclamation of the word of God, and gracious hosting of a community when it gathers for worship. In this chapter, we will explore a number of themes related to preaching, including not only how it brings to bear the word of God for members of a congregation or individuals who receive pastoral care but also how prophetic preaching can have a powerful impact in broader public circles....

  8. Chapter 3 Stewards of the Mysteries: Practices of Worship
    (pp. 49-70)

    The road from Jerusalem to Emmaus was a public thoroughfare. While we might imagine that Jesus and his two companions chatted in hushed tones to keep their conversations private, nothing in Luke’s account of the journey suggests that this is so. In fact, as their discussions became more animated, was it not likely that others on the road with them overheard bits and pieces when within earshot? We do not know how the details of their conversations were transmitted to the gospel writer, but it is clear that their exchanges on the Emmaus road were preserved and passed along, and...

  9. Chapter 4 Companions in Healing: Practices of Pastoral Care
    (pp. 71-94)

    Along the Emmaus road, says Luke’s gospel, Jesus interpreted to his fellow travelers all things that the Scriptures had to say about him. Now, while the gospels had yet to be written, including those portions where Jesus’ sayings about himself were recorded, we might imagine his interpreting how various Hebrew Bible texts about shepherds (with the best-known being Psalm 23) pointed to him as the Good Shepherd. The wordpastoralcomes, of course, frompastor, which means shepherd. This has been the traditional metaphor or model—the pastoral caregiver as the shepherd. The shepherd tends the flock, feeds and guides...

  10. Chapter 5 Companions in Telling the Story: Practices of Christian Education
    (pp. 95-118)

    If you were raised in a Christian tradition, you are likely to have had some experiences that fall into the realm of Christian education. Pamela remembers going to a local church’s “Sunday school,” where a burned-out volunteer persisted for several years (third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade, . . .) in having the children color maps of Paul’s journeys. After having dutifully gone through several boxes of crayons and colored pencils, Pamela came out of this exercise having no idea who Paul really was nor why his journeys were important, but having received training to be a “good girl,” able...

  11. Chapter 6 Called to be Servants: Practices of Leadership
    (pp. 119-144)

    As the travelers drew near to Emmaus, Jesus appeared to be going further. But his companions implored, “Stay with us.” In those three words, they issued him a call! So too are today’s ministers—be they ordained pastors or priests, deacons or deaconesses, or ministers of music, education or youth and family—typically regarded as being “under call.” Depending upon one’s tradition, there will be different understandings of the nature of that call and how those serving in one capacity (often described as “office”) of ministry relate to staff colleagues and laity who fulfill other calls. But regardless of the...

  12. Epilogue: Journey into Joy
    (pp. 145-148)

    Late in the day of that first Easter, two anonymous travelers headed homeward toward their village named Emmaus. We can imagine they had already begun to put behind them all the hopes they had held for the dashing young prophet named Jesus who was “mighty in deed and word before God and all the people” (Luke 24:19). As occurs after the death of a loved one, they were reminiscing about the good times even as they relived the anguish of his horrific death. But the overwhelming mood was one of loss, despair, and the prospect of a bleak future devoid...

  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 149-149)