Philipp J. Spener, 1675
Spener’s evocative and invitational metaphors of “nursery” and “workshop” highlight theological institutions as spaces of creative spiritual growth where God’s people are empowered to engage in innovative ministry. Because Spener wrote at a time—the late seventeenth century—when the labor force was in the process of switching to mass production, he deliberately drew upon the cherished, but disappearing, concept of a medieval workshop. The workshop image lifted up the importance of quality products made by master craftspeople and the passing on of trades through apprentices and journeymen and women who watched and worked alongside others. In that earlier era, the continuance of the craft depended on the caliber of relationships developed in the workshop. The training of pastors built upon on a similar careful attention to mentoring. Like Spener, we believe that relationships of student with teacher are at the heart of what it means to pass the church along to the next generation. “And what you have heard from me through many witnesses, entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well” (2 Timothy 2.2).
Many scholarly books have been written to theological educators about the dilemmas of our day; other, popular books, are being written to pastors about the changing nature of the church. This book combines these purposes by contending for a symbiotic interconnection between church and academy. We (the authors of this text) are ordained clergy and theological educators. We love the church and the schools at which we teach. Each of us has started a new theological program. One of us has formally been the student of the other. And we have also both been learners—apprentices and master craftsmen for one another. It is that type of relationship and the qualities of a theological workshop that we want to offer to you. In this book we will explore the metaphor of the workshop as a way to understand theological education much like Spener did.
1 Apprenticeship - Learning Theology and Ministry in the Spirit’s Workshop
2 Craftsmanship - Forging the Story of the Gospel through the Medium of Today’s Context
3 Fellow Laborers - Working Together on the Craft of Ministry
4 Journeymen and Women - Sustaining the Day-to-Day Responsibilities of Education and Ministry
5 Becoming a Master - Honing the Craft of Ministry as the Spirit Creates a Masterpiece