It is not often I read a book that gets me excited but this new book by Pete Ward really did in this book Participation & Mediation. In this great book Pete unpacks in well reasoned and analytical form the journey he went on from Youth Worker to Practical Theologian. This is the same journey that many of us went on starting from different places, some from Youth Work others from involvement in mission initiatives evolving out of early emerging and fresh expressions of church. I began from involvement in alternative worship with a passion to make these new forms of church accessible and contextual to those outside the church. Pete unpacks the journey that many of us have also made. It starts from where people are – from cultural analysis, missional and contextual theology, the centrality of the Trinity and patristics, perichoresis through to pastoral and practical theology. I have never talked this through with Pete, but I am amazed how in synergy his thinking is with my own experience and the experience I know of others. His book is a credible and authentic understanding of the place of pastoral and practical theology for those involved as practitioners in emerging and fresh expressions of church. It is no coincidence that I completed an MA in Pastoral & Practical Theology as part of my ministerial education, from where I started from, becoming a Christian through an Alternative Worship Community in York. I just wished this book was around 10 years ago – it would have made my life easier!
In many ways Pete’s book echoes, reflects and forms the bedrock of the process I follow in my explorations of Trinitarian Ecclesiology and Emerging & Fresh Expressions of Church in my book ‘The becoming of G-d’.
So this book not only offers a really practical way for practitioners to engage with pastoral and practical theological reflection of what they are doing, it also offers a model and process to help practitioners work through doing complex mission in a complex culture. Pete Ward’s book is a really helpful tool to assist Pioneers to build ecclesial communities out of contextual mission. So I highly recommend this book to all those who are seeking to be lay and ordained Pioneer Ministers, Youth Workers and all those passionate about building emerging and fresh expressions of church.
What is fascinating, is that Pete’s analysis also has synergy with the central core process of Fresh Expressions which is drawn from Roland Allens and Vincent Donovan’s work. See below:
So thanks Pete for such a great book. A must for all those seeking depth and reflection in what they are doing with emerging and fresh expressions of church.