The book falls into three symmetrical parts, each of which is subdivided (the subdivisions are listed in the analytical Contents, making a Subject Index redundant). The first part, 'The Mission of God that Shapes our Ministry', draws on the missiological insights of Karl Barth and the Second Vatican Council concerning the missio Dei and directly relates this theme to the tasks entrusted to the Church in 'The Great Commission' of Matthew 28: the ministry of the Word, the celebration of the sacraments and the exercise of pastoral responsibility. It shows how Christians share in the ministry of Christ himself. The second part, 'A Ministry Shaped by the Mission of God', carries the argument forward by clarifying the much abused term 'ministry' and offering a more rigorous and somewhat controversial definition of ministry as work for the Church that is mandated by the Church and explicitly related to its core tasks. Ministers therefore represent both Christ and his Church. The third part, 'Ordained to a Ministry Shaped by Mission', applies the insights of the earlier parts to ordained and lay ministry and offers a cogent answer to the question, What difference does ordination make?
The book concludes with an agenda for the reform and development of ministry in the light of the arguments advanced.
Paul Avis is the General Secretary of the Church of England's Council for Christian Unity and convening editor of the journal Ecclesiology.
Preface; 1. The Mission of God that Shapes our Ministry; 2. A Ministry Shaped by the Mission of God; 3. Ordained to a Ministry Shaped by Mission; References; Index
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