David Heywood is a writer and consultant in the fields of ministry and ministerial formation. His passion is to see the Church adopt good practice in teaching and learning to enable people to grow as followers of Jesus and in the formation of lay and ordained ministers.

Over a lifetime of study, David has become an authority in these areas. His book Kingdom Learning is used as a standard text in courses training ministers in adult learning. His book Reimagining Ministerial Formation is endorsed by leaders in the field and sets out a way forward for theological education in Britain.

This site contains details of David’s published books, articles on a range of topics connected with Christian ministry and ministerial formation, the full text of David’s PhD thesis on the relationship between learning and revelation, and a through-the-year set of Bible studies covering the whole Bible in 365 readings.

Doctoral Research

David was a pioneer in the discipline of Practical Theology, his doctoral work bringing together the psychology of learning and theology of revelation to articulate a comprehensive theory of how people grow in their knowledge of God. Ahead of its time in many ways, this research has formed the foundation for much of David’s later work. You can read the full text of his thesis here. The book based on it, Divine Revelation and Human Learning, is published by Ashgate.

Christian Education

Under the ‘Articles’ tab you will find three articles in the general field of Christian education, including a demolition of James Fowler’s approach to faith development.

Christian Ministry

David’s book Reimagining Ministry emerged from his experience of ordained ministry and of teaching ordinands at Ripon College Cuddesdon. Convinced that present patterns of ministry are not only unsustainable but lack theological justification, he set out to chart a future pattern of lay and ordained ministry. The book’s title anticipated by a few months the Church of England’s quinquennial focus on reimagining ministry. Since its publication in 2011, initiatives in both the Church of England and Church in Wales have echoed its theological approach and substantiated its predictions.

Ministerial Formation

David’s book Kingdom Learning is used as a standard text for teaching adult education in a Christian context. The articles include ‘Educating Ministers of Character‘, which was part of the Handbook for colleagues involved in the creation of the suite of modules for the Church of England’s Common Awards, and ‘Why Does “Academic” Theology Disable Ministry?’, which was editor’s pick in the journal Practical Theology in 2023. You can also view the the endorsements from colleagues for his ground-breaking book, Reimagining Ministerial Education.

Formation for Enabling Ministry

Since his retirement in 2020, David has been working on a project for the Church of England. In 2017, a report from the Archbishops’ Council called ‘Setting God’s People Free’ challenged the Church to give much greater priority to encouraging and enabling every Christian to live out their faith in everyday life. As the report put it, to enable, ‘fruitful, faithful mission and ministry, influence, leadership and, most important, vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ in all of life.’ The Church has come to call this ‘everyday faith’.

Over the next five years, work was undertaken to follow up the report in various ways. The strand on which David has been working concerns the implications for the way lay and ordained ministers are trained. How can the Church make enabling ‘everyday faith’ central to its vision for ministry? How are ministers most effectively trained as enablers of others?

The outcome of David’s work has been a report, which was distributed to training institutions in October 2022, and an online learning programme, designed for all who contribute to ministerial formation. Both are entitled, ‘Formation for Enabling Ministry’. Click here for a dedicated page with links to some of the resources in the online programme.