How to think well about contemporary ministry

24 July 2017

As a pastor of a small church in Melbourne, I am constantly thinking about what makes a good church and how my church can be a force for good in our community. Recently, the Holy Spirit gave me four key words to describe the church we should be:

  1. Connected: by building strong connections with each other and the local community around
  2. Clear: about what we believe and teach, especially in a time when so many churches are confused about what they believe.
  3. Charismatic: by opening ourselves to the work and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
  4. Contemporary: in expression and style, without being imitators of churches that are larger and better resourced.

All four of these words raise many issues and provoke me to much deep thinking. But where can I find the stimulating, scholarly, research-based, and practical ideas I need?

This is where the Journal of Contemporary Ministry can help.

Issue 3 of the Harvest-based Journal of Contemporary Ministry is now out and ready to read. The four peer-reviewed articles in this issue are academically credible and relevant to ministry today. Dr Philip Hughes writes about how research can give us some good ideas about effective youth ministry. Professor Bruce Stevens examines a significant obstacle to many people’s spiritual growth, that is, a sense of entitlement. All pastors will find this relevant. Dr Nigel Pegram introduces a line of thought that will help especially smaller churches as they think about their future, based on a positive appreciation for what the church already has by the grace of God. Dr Juhani Tuovinen and Dr Lewis McMaster discuss important research about women in leadership that buries the ‘hoary chestnut’ that women cannot make good leaders.

The pastoral reflection shares the observations and reflections of a highly experienced Pentecostal pastor about to retire from the church he has led for 37 years. The student essay will stimulate your thinking about the important area of healing.

And as a new feature, Issue 3 includes the keynote addresses from our 2016 research conference by Professor Mark Cartledge, the leading charismatic thinker on Practical Theology. In his addresses, Dr Cartledge addresses the question, ‘Can theology be practical?’ and shows how a renewal (i.e. Pentecostal–charismatic) perspective can contribute to practical theology and to empirical research on the church and its mission for the benefit of church, academy, and society.

This journal is free, and easy to access. Just go to