Ministerial Formation

Why ‘Ministerial Formation’?

The old term was ‘theological education’ and almost always meant the study of academic theology by people training for ordained ministry. Today we recognise that ‘ministry’ involves both lay and ordained, and that training for ministry is more than an academic study. It is, in fact, an intensification of the process to which God calls all Christian disciples: that of personal formation in the image of Jesus Christ.

Collected here are articles David has written to argue for a change in the Church’s practice of ministerial training.

Why Does ‘Academic’ Theology Disable Ministry?

In 2019, David commissioned a piece of qualitative research in the Anglican Diocese of Oxford with the research question, ‘What equips ministerial trainees to enable whole-life discipleship?’ One of the findings was that the way theology is taught in ministerial formation actively disables ministry. This article explores the reasons why this is so, with extensive quotes from the ministers who participated in the research. The article is a pre-publication version. The final article appears in Practical Theology 15.4, 2022.

Theological Reflection for Discipleship and Ministry

For the Church of England, practice in theological reflection is a requirement of ministerial training. But have we understood sufficiently well what theological reflection is, and the connection between TR as practised by ministers in training and the kind of reflection that all Christians practice in everyday life? This article surveys the scene as it stands in 2022, drawing on some other important recent research.

Educating Ministers of Character

This article was written as a contribution to the work being done in the Church of England in preparation for the introduction of the Common Awards curriculum for ministerial education. It was included in the handbook for the working groups meeting to devise modules for ministerial training, and appears on the Church of England website.

Learning how to Learn: Theological reflection at Cuddesdon

A short article published in the Journal of Adult Theological Education, 6.2, 2009, looking at how theological reflection can be taught effectively and the issues that arise.

A New Paradigm for Theological Education

In this provocative article, David Heywood argues that the approach underlying theological education is inappropriate, owing too much to the University and not enough to the challenges of ministry. He calls for a wide-ranging shift in the way training is conceived, away from an academic model towards a vocation model.
This article appeared in the journal Anvil,
vol 17, no 1, 2000

Ministerial Education and Teaching Skill

Here David argues that ministerial training is often ineffective because its practitioners fail to observe the canons of educational good practice. Things will only improve when teaching skill is recognised as an important qualification for theological educators. This article appeared in the British Journal of Education 9.1, 1997.