Bridging the Gap
What does seminary learning have to do with real-life ministry in the church? Charles Scalise offers pastors a way to bridge the gap between theological reflection learned in academic settings and the practice of ministry in a church. By acknowledging...
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What does seminary learning have to do with real-life ministry in the church? Charles Scalise offers pastors a way to bridge the gap between theological reflection learned in academic settings and the practice of ministry in a church. By acknowledging various theological models of integration, the author argues for a "wise eclecticism, ' thus enabling the reader to explore possibilities for his or her own tailor-made approaches to ministry. Bridging the Gap helps readers explore possibilities for their own tailor-made approaches to ministry, balancing the strengths and weaknesses of various models, rather than relying solely on one type. By using a tailor-made approach, ministers will be more effective in addressing the ever-changing needs of their world.
Looking for practical ways to hold your head and heart together as you integrate theology and ministry? Encouraging a "blended approach," Scalise offers a detailed description of a case congregation, showing how its pastors utilize the insights and compensate for the deficiencies of five communication models as they preach, lead worship, and offer pastoral care.
Integrating one's spirituality, knowledge, and practice is often a lifetime project. Yet many of us, if we accomplish it at all, do so in a haphazard manner. One might even say that the process of sanctification aims toward a similar goal of wholeness. Giving people theological tools and ways to facilitate such integration is a worthy goal. Helping pastors, who often take the lead in facilitating other people's journeys, makes even more sense. For Charles Scalise integration is the goal: wisdom is the means; and authentic Christian practice of ministry is the result. He acknowledges various models exist to accomplish the task of integration, but each has necessary limits. Theological models of integration currently in use today are the correlational, contextual, narrative, performance, and regulative models. In order to guide the pilgrim toward authentic Christian practices of ministry, Scalise argues for "wise eclecticism." The book enables the reader to explore possibilities for his/her own tailor-made approaches to ministry, balancing the strengths and weaknesses of various models, rather than relying solely upon one type or no type. By using a tailor-made approach, the minister is more effective in addressing the ever-changing needs of his or her world. The author's academic contribution lies in the fact that he takes the seminal work of practical theologians Don Browning and Donald Capps, and pastoral theologian Charles Gerkin one step further. Scalise constructs an "overview of theological models specifically aimed toward the question of the relationship between the seminary classroom and ministry or toward the connections between constructive and pastoral theology." (Bonnie Miller-McLemore in Reader report).
CHARLES J. SCALISE is Professor of Church History, Fuller Theological Seminary, Northwest.