Word and Spirit: The Vital Partnership in Christian Leadership

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9781841018256: Word and Spirit: The Vital Partnership in Christian Leadership

The Bible - the Word of God - and the Spirit of God are inextricably bound together, as the story of God's working throughout human history reveals. The Word of God tells the story of God's unfolding purposes for the salvation of his world, and teaches and trains us in godly Christian living. The Spirit of God inspires and illumines the text, breathes life into those who believe, and fills us with power and gifts for Christian ministry and mission. Sadly, 'Word' and 'Spirit' have in recent times become increasingly identified with divergent parts of the Church, impoverishing our witness and weakening the body of Christ. Written with passion and urgency, this book issues a timely call to Christians to focus on what unites, rather than divides, and come together in a celebration of both Word and Spirit to build each other up and further the sharing of the Gospel. It not only traces the shaping of this 'vital partnership' through Christian history, but explores systematically their shared importance in key areas of church leadership and ministry. The foreword is written by Simon Ponsonby, Pastor of Theology, St Aldates and Oxford and Dean of Studies, Oxford Centre of Church Growth. Endorsements come from The Rt Revd David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham, The Revd Dr Liz Hoare, Wycliffe Hall, and, The Revd Hugh Palmer, All Souls Langham Place.

Les informations fournies dans la section « Synopsis » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

About the Author :

The Revd Will Donaldson is Director of Christian Leadership at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. As a vicar in west London, he developed community outreach, sports ministry, a cafe church and a youth congregation, as well as serving as a Director of Ordinands. He is a regular New Wine speaker.

Review :

An essential text for everyone who seeks to proclaim Christ and build the church for God's mission. The Rt Revd David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham A book for all of us who are tempted to put Christian faith into boxes or who insist on defining ourselves over against someone else. The Revd Dr Elizabeth hoare, Wycliffe Hall A useful opening for those who want these issues gently re-examined and explored. The Revd Hugh Palmer, All Souls Langham Place We welcome this book as a contribution to nurturing leaders who will enable the church in the UK and Ireland to be more effective in winning men, women and children for Christ. The Revd John Dunnett, General Director of CPAS From Reform Magazine - July 2011 Accessible insights linking conservative and charismatic traditions This book is about the practice of local church ministry. Will Donaldson is an evangelical Anglican priest with experience in a variety of parishes. This is his first book; and in it, he aims to connect the emphases of the conservative tradition, with its concern to obey scripture, and the charismatic's desire to be constantly open to the Holy Spirit. The main portion of the book develops this theme, of dependence upon both scripture and spirit, in seven areas of local church life: preaching; vision; pastoral care; evangelism; worship and prayer; shared leadership; and every-member ministry. The chapter on vision, for example, urges leaders to read scripture together and to listen patiently to the spirit, and so to let biblical insights shed light on local context. Plenty of the writing would readily cross from one denomination to another; this is not narrowly Anglican material. For example: 'a vision gives a great sense of purpose... Some churches are dying on their feet because they have lost that sense of what they are about... other churches are growing steadily because they have rediscovered God's vision for them as a local congregation, and this becomes a powerful internal dynamic that moves them forward' (p101). While the author has some substantial points to make, he writes quite lightly. The style is concise and accessible. The layout and structure are clear throughout. Insights are grounded in experience, yet without any undue dependence on anecdote. The tone and approach reminded me of another Anglican, from a generation ago, David Watson - whom indeed the author mentions with high respect. In a diverse fellowship like the United Reformed Church, this book would not be everyone's cup of tea. But many of our people could both enjoy it and gain much from it. The author knows church life as a minister, so he will be most helpful to those who also lead a local congregation - meaning both ministers and elders too. Written by John Proctor. John is director of New Testament Studies at Westminster College, Cambridge From The Church of Engand Newspaper - 25 March 2011 I wonder what Will's friends thought when he told them that he was leaving his role as beloved vicar at a highly effective charismatic evangelical Anglican church in Ealing to become Director of Christian Leadership at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford? Perhaps, some would have seen it as sleeping with the enemy - a risky choice. But not Will and not Wycliffe Hall - and both the institution and the man have benefitted hugely from the move. You see Wycliffe Hall isn't monochromatic at all, and Will's blend of biblical faithfulness and Holy Spirit ministry have fitted very nicely. Indeed Will's book, Word and Spirit: the vital partnership in Christian Leadership, is a bold attempt to bring together all that is good in conservative evangelicalism and also the strengths of the charismatic variety and craft something which is refreshing and new. It is aimed squarely at those in Christian leadership at whatever level. And surely Donaldson is onto something here too, we need to give Christian leaders the very best tools for the job. Will takes up the story. 'I want people to see the wonderful truth that God welds together Word and Spirit in a vital way. Word and Spirit work together to glorify Christ.' Perhaps this needs a bit of unpacking and forgive me for some crude caricaturing. So your charismatic evangelical might think that conservatives believe that a church service all but begins and ends with the Bible-based sermon. And that the role of the minister is primarily to prepare and deliver the sermon. The conservative might think that charismatics believe that the worship and perhaps the spirit-filled ministry at the end are primary. And so the cliches go, that's why you get pretty dead worship at the conservative churches but faithful preaching and you get all the great worship at the charismatic services but thin preaching that has the smack of self-help and showing off. Now, the thing with caricatures is that they work because they take a small truth and exaggerate it into a big truth. Will's thesis is that the teaching of the Word and the action of the Holy Spirit cannot be separated. Says Will: 'If anyone is responsible for serving the Lord, if they are leaders in any form, then they need to know that the greatest resource they have are his Word and his Spirit.' He has words of comfort for those who may feel a bit suspicious of their brothers and sisters who like to be happy and dare I say clappy during worship. 'Conservative evangelicals will find a great deal in my book that they will identify with. I absolutely say we must put a very high value on preaching the Gospel faithfully, bringing out the original meaning. But this is the point. Doing ministry of the Word means we are open to the Spirit of God too...' But what would we notice if we went into a church service that really brought together Word and Spirit. Will pauses. 'Well they'll see a huge respect for the Bible, but not just during the sermon. That sermon will have good thoughtful application and it will permeate all aspects of the service. At the start, in the confession and in the blessing. What they'll also notice is that there is a real expectation that this is a place where God is going to work in people's lives through the Spirit. Yes through the sermon, but at all other points too, even in the fellowship afterwards.' It is an attractive picture. I wonder if we really expect God to be at work in every part of the service. Some people can't wait to get the music out of the way so they can devour the sermon. Others are focussed on worship time. But what if both Word and Spirit were in every aspect of every service... leading us to know that we will experience the presence of God, not just be taught some truth or other. Will has a word for Charismatic evangelicals. 'I hope that my book helps evangelicals to feel really dutiful and responsible servants of the Word. Yes they want the Spirit at the centre of the service, but can we also really take the time and prayer to explore the Bible text, understand the original meaning and apply it. Preaching is the most important way that God reveals his good news.' Will's book has the advantage of scratching where the church is itching and heading off at the pass a potential danger. 'While I do want to celebrate the best of conservative and charismatic worlds, I also see a growing divergence. Ironically, this is happening as a result of growth. I see New Wine flourishing, with summer conferences getting bigger and bigger, and likewise the Proclamation Trust thrives: I was at EMA last year and it was absolutely packed to the walls. That's good, but the downside of this "success" is that these "two kinds of Bible People" (as Jim Packer calls them) stop talking to each other, stop needing each other, and grow further and further apart. But if God has forged Word and Spirit together in an eternal partnership, is that growing divergence going to help the cause of Christ? So, in the book, I express that concern, and try and give some pointers towards a closer partnership.' The urbane Donaldson may ruffle the odd feather with his book. But one thing is for sure. The argument he puts forward is exceptionally powerful. I wonder what he's feeling hopeful about... 'Churches are already starting to bring together the Bible Word and a Spirit-filled heart. We are seeing strong expository preaching alongside a gracious openness and humility before the Spirit's work. And we're seeing real dialogue between conservative and charismatic brothers and sisters.' The way forward? I think so. Written by Steve Morris

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