Forming Ministers or Training Leaders?
An Exploration of Practice in Theological Colleges
Imprint: Resource Publications
"Those engaged in the important work of ministerial formation and training, and others interested in it as a possibility, will find much to embrace in this study. Based upon the emerging practices and theological reflection of a particular context and tradition, the book nonetheless draws upon a broad range of parallel experiences to propose a distinctive approach that many will wish to endorse."
—Nigel G. Wright, principal emeritus, Spurgeon's College London
"Anthony Clarke has written an accessible, exquisite, and nuanced account that traces the formational dynamics in ministerial training. His writing ranges well beyond the frontiers of his own denomination, and with care, wisdom, and rich insight, he excavates the landscape for teaching pastoral practice and expanding pastoral imagination. In an ecclesial climate where many pastors and clergy can feel they are held captive by the increasingly functional demands of administration, coupled to financial burdens and all the attendant anxieties related to church growth, mission, and evangelism, it is a breath of fresh air to encounter a truly wise scholar who can see a way forward for renewal and reinvigoration. I commend this work for careful and considered reflection—for all who want to understand and enrich our sense of formation for ministry.”
—Martyn Percy, dean, Christ Church, Oxford
“Ministers reading this book will be prompted to reflect on how their assumptions about what they do are still formed by their initial ministerial education. Theological educators will be prompted to reflect on whether they are forming ministers for a church that no longer exists. A book that will provoke fresh and lively conversations about ministry.”
—Helen Cameron, research fellow, Centre for Baptist Studies, Regent's Park College, Oxford
"Among many books about the practice of Christian ministry, this one is exceptional. The author asks how this practice is shaped by another—the practice of preparation for ministry—and he relates the two practices, drawing on his own rich experience and a penetrating theological analysis. The whole is interwoven by an original account of the replacement of the idea of ‘training’ for ministry by the ‘formation’ of the minister, making this an indispensable study of ministry for today.”
—Paul S. Fiddes, professor of systematic theology, University of Oxford, and Principal Emeritus and Senior Research Fellow, Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford
“Many years ago, I 'trained for ministry' as a Baptist, and had that process occurred a generation earlier I would have been 'theologically educated.' Now, the language used is quite rightly 'ministerial formation,' and Anthony Clarke's fascinating book fleshes out what that might mean for Baptists. . . . I have followed Anthony Clarke's research at a distance, and this book's roots in empirical research provides evidence for what he proposes, and which I enthusiastically endorse. . . . This book is an important contribution to the work of discovering what such formation might look like in the twenty-first century, and deserves to be read not just by those whose task is to provide that formation, but all who seek to offer ministry in Christlike ways—whether they be Baptists or not—as part of a community of practice.”
—Paul Goodliff, general secretary, Churches Together in England