In Exploring Practices of Ministry, Pamela 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. Exploring Practices of Ministry is helpful for anyone who engages in 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 the public arena.
“A key to remaining vibrant in preaching and the entire practice of ministry is remaining healthily engaged in the entire practice of ministry. This involves a disciplined life of prayer, seeking (even demanding, since it can be so hard to receive sometimes) collegial support, engaging in dialogue with congregation members beyond the sermon moment, and in all regards keeping one’s heart open so that the One who travels at our side can set it ablaze over and over again!” (Pages 46–47)
“Practical theology begins from the ground up. That is, it takes as its starting point the human condition, and the current situation being addressed (including individuals, families, communities, societies, nations, and the whole creation), and puts those in dialogue with scripture and the historical theological tradition.” (Page 16)
“Theology without concern for life-giving practices and attention to the human condition (and indeed, all creation) is mostly an empty exercise of abstraction.” (Page 2)
“Learning to preach and growing more effective as the years go by, therefore, involves finding the proper balance between continuity and innovation.” (Page 32)
“Theology is a dry and dusty mental exercise indeed if it has no relevance for daily living!” (Page 12)