Ministry has always changed, adapting to time and place. But the pace of change has increased. There is a greater need for success and less tolerance of diversity. A few high-achievers hold up their heads whilst others struggle or wonder how to make sense of what feels like failure. Our theology is impoverished and we are so quick to adopt new models that we have forgotten our own past.
David Hoyle explores the changing theologies of ministry during the church's history with the aim of challenging the lack of theological reflection in some of today's results-driven understanding of ministry that seems more influenced by the business world than by Christian theology and tradition.
Setting out to explain why theologians said what they said about ministry, why it might matter, and why it might be exciting, David Hoyle covers nearly two thousand years of theological reflection from the Didache to Michael Ramsey and current writers, and provides a synthesis not found anywhere else.
This book offers realistic sustenance to practitioners struggling with the new demands on clergy.
Table of Contents
1. Beginning Badly
2. Through Confusions
3. Tasks in Ministry
4. Outreaching Speech
5. Putting Priests in Their Place
6. Ministers in the Kingdom
8. Gifts in Ministry
9. Keeping Your Balance
10. Spiritual Traffic
David Hoyle has crafted a miniature spiritual masterpiece. This is an exceptional book - wise, reflective and inspiring at every turn. It comprises a beautiful blend of hopefulness and realism. In our respective vocations, the longest journey is often between the head and the heart. In The Pattern of Our Calling, we have a truly exceptional spiritual companion - someone to help us understand how our calling shapes our lives, and how we, in turn, might respond to and shape that same calling. It is rare to find a book that adds new insight in this arena. I warmly commend this book. It is one to treasure; and, quite simply, a gem. -- Martyn Percy
'Whilst carefully not adding to the bloated sum of manuals on ministry that exist, David Hoyle presents a valuable and eclectic review of much of the wisdom to be found within this genre, from the Didache to recent and contemporary authorities such as Michael Ramsey and Robin Greenwood. His commentary is informed by humane and honest reflection on his own experience as college chaplain, parish priest, diocesan officer and (though I am not sure that he would appreciate the soubriquet) senior leader in the Church.' -- Humphrey Southern, Ripon College Cuddesdon
'In factual terms, there is little here that is new, but in approach, this book is fresh, exciting, affirming and challenging. The author transports us across centuries of Christian thought and shows us in a down to earth, practical way why these thoughts and writings still matter to the church in our time.' -- Chris Bracegirdle , The Reader, 117
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