well here is my annotated bibliography from the last 18 months of training, and it doesn't include absolutely everything. enjoy
Adair, J. (2002) How to find your vocation: a guide to discovering the work you love. Norwich: The Canterbury Press.
“How to find your vocation” widens the traditional definition of “vocation” associated with a church calling and instead suggests that everyone might have a vocation to something they undertake at work, in their free time, or both. The chapter which affected me the most was the characteristics of vocational people with humility, enthusiasm and love being especially interesting. As others have expressed their wish that they had been given a vocation I have used aspects of this book in asking them about their lives, true to expectations almost everyone who has raised a desire has in fact been living their vocation, although not necessarily to its upmost. I have used this same subject in a sermon on vocation and had very positive feedback about how it was reassuring and encouraging.
Alexander, P & D (2009) The Lion Handbook to the Bible. Oxford: Lion
The lion handbook to the bible was recommended to me by everyone I spoke to and it did not fail to meet its expectations. This book might become my number one reference on scripture, although it will be hard to leave my study bible behind. It not only provides the additional explanatory text but also includes photographs, drawings, charts, maps and key points highlighted. I particularly like the way this handbook provides information on the way the bible is divided into different types of books, such as stories, wisdom and prophecy; this is invaluable to readers whether new to the Bible or familiar.
Ashwin, A (2002) The Book of a Thousand Prayers. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan
This book has been invaluable when I’m looking for a prayer for myself or when I am looking to pray for or within someone else. I have used it as the base of inspiration for intercessions and have found many a prayer which have filled the space when it was needed. The fact that the prayers are provided under specific headings makes it an extremely useful resource.
Barton, J. and Muddiman, J. (2008) The Oxford Bible Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press
This was recommended to me as one of the few objective commentaries on the Bible, trying not to focus on the authors viewpoint but on the actual text in its entirety. It is a tome indeed, and a little off putting for it, but if I had to choose just one book that could fulfil my understanding of the Bible for personal, preaching, Sunday school and pastoral uses, I would choose this one. It is on my desk, having never made it to the book shelf, a high recommendation indeed.
Bayes, P (2009) Mission-shaped Parish: Traditional Church in a Changing World. London: Church House Publishing
I used this book as part of my background reading for the evaluation of mission at my church which was then presented to the mission and evangelism course. I appreciated the focus on the mission values which the book contains; namely a missionary church is focussed on God the Trinity, in incarnational, is transformational, is relational and makes disciples.
Berryman, J. W. (2007) The complete guide to Godly Play: Volume 1: how to lead Godly Play lessons. Denver, Colorado: Living the Good News
This book is a thorough introduction to Godly Play providing background about the technique, about how to be a storyteller and how to play to bring the gospels to life for young children. It provides full details of a Godly play session from entering the space, building the circle, hearing the word of God, sharing the feast and finally the dismissal. The people, resources and layouts needed are all listed, it is therefore enough to run a session. The workbook also discusses how Godly play can be used with other age groups and the way this would work. I would recommend the book for those interested in knowing about Godly play even if they are not going to run a session, it has much to teach us about the word of God and the way we learn.
Bezancon,J.N. et al (1993) How to understand the creed. SCM Press Ltd: London
I perused a good few books on the creeds before I borrowed this one and I wish I'd found it first. For a blow by blow, line by line explanation and discussion on the Nicene Creed it is second to none. It provided me with a deeper insight into the creed than a purely historical or doctrinal viewpoint would have achieved and encouraged me to finally prepare a meditation on the Nicene Creed. I recommend it highly, despite it being 17 years old.
Blanchard, J (2007) Can we be good without God? Darlington: Evangelical Press
This short pamphlet sized book is an easy read. I was unsure what it would be able to say that would add to the value of other doctrinal books, and in reality it is not in the same league. But what this book lacks in detailed theology, it makes up for in sourcing questions. The book raises the issue of morality and whether this requires God and a religious moral code and became my launch pad for further research and thought on the subject,
Blanchard, J (2009) Why on earth did Jesus come? Darlington: Evangelical Press
This is another easy read, for the everyman, pamphlet style book by John Blanchard. This time the subject is Christmas and the real meaning behind it. The book looks at the biblical accounts of Jesus’ birth, the reasons for his life, death and resurrection and what this offers us. The book is one I will keep on my shelf to offer anyone who ever again asks me, well what’s the big deal about Jesus?
Bosch, D. (1992) Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission. Maryknoll: Orbis.
This book takes the history of mission in the Christian church and follows how it has changed, developed, ebbed and flowed over the years. It is an interesting book on missional history although a little heavy for me to recommend to anyone exploring mission.
Chadwick, C. and Tovey, P. (2005) Growing in Ministry – Using Critical Incident Analysis. Cambridge: Grove Books Limited. Grove Book P84
This grove book provides a number of methods for analysing, reflecting on and learning from critical incidents in life. The method which most speaks to me is broken down into eight stages starting with a review of what happened, its impact on the individual and their reactions and judgments. It then asks the reader to relate this to Scripture, ask what God might be saying and what it says about you; before asking you to identify what new learning is needed and what might be different in the future. I have used this system of reflection and learning through my training process.
Church of England (2004) Mission Shaped Church: church planting and fresh expressions of church in a changing context. London: Church House Publishing
This report outlines the changes in society in recent decades and reflects how our current systems of traditional church may not be meeting the needs of those who wish to meet and connect with the risen Christ. “to be where people are, how they are” is an extremely important quote to me and one that reminds me that it is not the people within the church that we most need to care for, but those who are seeking and can not find. I have discussed this various groups at church and it is a key part of our pastoral care ministry.
Collins, G. R. (2007) Christian Counselling: A Comprehensive Guide. Nashville: Nelson Reference & Electronic Publishing
This book is logically set out with chapters providing different subject matters. Each chapter provides a biblical input, often with scriptural texts, and is based on sound psychological principles. I found the chapters on depression, grief, anger, addiction and anxiety particularly clear and practically helpful; these issues tend to be most commonly occurring when people ask for care and assistance and it is rare to find a text which provides theory and practical aspects for the issues. The chapter on ethical and moral counselling issues is also extremely useful. I have recommended this book to people providing pastoral care within the parish and to counsellors who are Christians.
Cottrell, S (2003) Praying through life: how to pray in the home, at work and in the family. London: Church House Publishing
The strap line on the back cover of this book explains so much about praying through life: “for novices, not experts”; and of course the great thing is that we are all novices when it comes to prayer. Part One looks at what prayer actually is, starting with the obvious relationship with God and then looking at how it is also relationship with others, with others for God and visa versa. It is introduces the benefits of a pattern of prayer, something which I have found myself with my twice daily prayer regime which I value the most when it slips. Part Two looks at how we can pray in different ways and times, for different reasons and with different people. Reading this book lead me to a place where I realised that I did not need to be on my knees with my hands closed to pray, prayer at a red stop light is as valid and real.
Cottrell, S (2007) Do Nothing to Change Your Life: Discovering What Happens When You Stop. London: Church House Publishing
Do Nothing to change your life? What happens when you stop? These two things were utterly alien to me when I read Bishop Stephens book and I was utterly sceptical that it could teach me anything. Of course that was where I was wrong. It pushed a button right at the start, the fact that a twinge (or whole hit) of guilt occurred if I sat still. Once I had accepted this fact it was easier to see the benefit of sitting still and allowing life to stop in order to reflect and absorb and know who I am and where I am heading. Of course I still get caught in the frenetic speed of life, but I now make scheduled time to stop, and it is in this time that I focus and make sure the path I am walking is the right one.
Cottrell, S (2008) Hit the Ground Kneeling: Seeing Leadership Differently. London: Church House Publishing
Hit the Ground Kneeling describes itself as taking common leadership statements and questioning them in the light of Christian faith; yes, that is true. It states that it provides Christian perspectives on leadership; again true. But it is so much more than just these sound bites and I would recommend it to anyone. Not only is it pocket size, always a benefit, but it is an easy read which actually encourages you to read it in short bites. I know some might be turned off by the mention of “leadership” in the title, but it reminds us that we are all leaders; of our lives, families, social events or our work undertakings. We all can learn something from this book and its advice to slow down, think more, listen, empower others and only do what you are able. As an additional perk; any confusion about the difference between vision, mission statement and strategy is dealt with on page 40.
Cottrell, S (2008) The Things He Carried. London: Church House Publishing
I used this book as the basis for our church lent course in 2009. We took each chapter a week and provided a service based on the chapter, and therefore the “thing He carried”, for the congregation to pray, meditate and ponder on. The first week we looked at the cross itself; then the crown of thorns; the seamless robe, the burdens that he was given; and finally the hopes and fears in his heart. The simple way that the book goes through the chapters was very easy to apply into services whilst the readings from the book were hard hitting and emotional; it was a true lent experience allowing us to really feel Jesus load and what he did for us all. I would recommend the book especially to be read aloud by groups.
Croft, S; Hedley, F and Hopkins, B (2006) Listening for Mission; mission audit for fresh expressions. London: Church House Publishing
This is a booklet produced by Fresh Expressions, one of a number they have produced. It is easy to read, accessible and something I would recommend to anyone interested in mission. I especially appreciate the focus on how a church needs to listen before it starts to take part in missional activities, they need to understand what God, the local and national community and the church itself needs and then base mission plans on these.
Davie, M (2008) A Guide to the Church of England. London: Mowbray.
An easy to read, all in one book on the Church of England. Commissioned by the Church of England for Christians of other traditions, it sets out the history, organisation, worship and theology of the Church of England. I bought this book on the recommendation of a friend and used it as my first port of call on understanding the Church of England over and above my knowledge at a parish level. It is accessible, with short chapters and an easy style and thorough in its provision, giving pointers for where the further depth of information can be obtained. I recommend this book to anyone who is put off by the number and size of books on doctrine, theology and church history.
Day, D (1998) Preaching Workbook. London: SPCK.
David Day provides an accessible book on writing sermons and preaching. He breaks the book into logical sections about the word itself, the message to be delivered, the sermon and how to deliver it and finally the fact that congregations have to hear the word and message. His section in context spoke to me particularly when I was first preparing sermons, it was easy to speak on a section but loose the context; Day’s simple examples showed me the importance of keeping the words in context of the biblical passage. The other important section for me was about touching the congregation and ensuring that the sermon makes a difference.
De Lange, A. & Simpson, L. (2002), How to Lead the Prayers (GW 169), Cambridge: Grove Books Limited
This is a grove booklet focussed on leading intercessions. It starts with a section on why we pray before moving on to a discussion about whether there is a best way to pray taking into account the type of service in use. Section four provides useful guidance on how to start the writing of the prayers, advising a link to the bible readings and theme of the service. I particularly like the section six entitled “do something different” which encourages action and picture usage, these are issues I am discussing at church for future use.
De Lange, A. & Simpson, L. (2003), How to Read the Bible in Church (GW 177), Cambridge: Grove Books Limited
I like the chapters of this book focussing on why we read in church and how the readings are chosen, however I felt like granny being taught how to suck eggs when reading the rest. I would however recommend this to our young people when they are asked for the first time to read in church.
Dewar, F. (2000) Called or collared: an alternative approach to vocation. London: SPCK
I was advised to read this book when I was exploring my calling. I was unsure since I did not feel called to ordained ministry but followed advice and read. I was pleasantly surprised when I realised the book was discussing all forms of vocation in the church and outside. Dewar believes that we all have a calling from God which we need to fulfil, from this standpoint he asks us to examine ourselves and what we could give in our lives to the work of God. I continue to reflect on God’s call for me by taking time to stop and listen to Him, this is thanks to the lessons I learned from Dewar’s book.
Doctrine Commission of the Church of England. (2005) Contemporary Doctrine Classics from the Church of England: We believe in God, we believe in the Holy Spirit and the mystery of salvation. London: Church House Publishing
I expected a Church of England book on doctrine to be extremely heavy and hard to read, however I was pleasantly surprised to find the book well indexed, written and easy to move around. I used the book through the study course on doctrine, supplementing the course material and other theological texts. It was also the foundation text for the majority of my doctrine writings, providing the accepted doctrine of the Church of England on the issues of God, the Holy Spirit and salvation.
Earey, M. & Myers, G., eds., (2007) Common Worship Today: A Guide to Common Worship – Study Edition, Nottingham: St John’s Extension Studies
This book surely is a “must have” for anyone involved in planning or leading worship. It is excellently written and presented, with clear layouts and focussed information provision. I doubt many people would read it cover to cover as I did, but those who do will come away with a much clearer picture of the development of Church of England worship, the element of worship and the various services that are available. I was particularly impressed with the way the book can also be used as a “dip in” reference text and am sure it will be a well used book on my shelf.
Earey, M. (1999), Leading Worship (GW 152), Cambridge: Grove Books Limited
This booklet is a very easy read, providing an introduction to leading worship. I was immediately reassured with the mention of the fact that worship leaders need to be able to think on their feet; this was in opposition to what I felt was expected of me and allowed me to be more responsive to the situations as they arrived during services. Similarly the idea that services can, and should, respond to events in the world, community and church came as a pleasant surprise. My experience of our church services is that nothing is mentioned outside the liturgy and the lectionary readings with sermon; however I have now felt the ability to bring in life events when they are appropriate and this has been well received. I felt that chapters three and five were of little interest to me since I had already read the CW study guide. Chapter four was fascinating especially in the discussion of worship as a leader and the section about personality types.
Edwards, D.L. (1992) Essentials: A Liberal-Evangelical Dialogue. London: Hodder and Stoughton
I read this book on a recommendation, with the hope that it would comprehensively provide the liberal and evangelical views on key doctrinal issues. I found it fell short since it was not a dialogue so much as two speeches covering the same subjects; in a way that reminded me of politicians refusing to answer each others questions. However it covered the full range of Christian theological issues from two broad perspectives and allowed me to see the range of views that can stand alongside each other within the same faith.
Ford, D (2000) Theology: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press
I expected this to be an easy read; however I quickly realised that a very short introduction does not necessarily mean a very quick read. I was pleasantly surprised though that the book provided a lot of interesting theological discussion and debate around issues such as what is God, what is sin, prayer and what is means to be saved. It discusses the theological issues in each case from a Christian perspective but also provides discussion about how other religions would see it; this is both useful for further discussion reasons and interesting. The book comes from the viewpoint of an intellectual examination, forcing a more detached view of the issues. I have recommended this book to a number of people who are interested in the issues I have been learning and will keep it at hand as my studies progress.
Grams,R.G (2003) Narrative dynamics in Matthews mission philosophy. OCMS lecture
This short paper is the synopsis of a lecture given by Grams on the mission presented by the Gospel of Matthew. This was my first reading on the subject of mission as presented by Matthew’s Gospel.
Green, L. (2009) Let’s Do Theology: Resources for Contextual Theology, London: Mowbray
This book is an updating of the previous edition of Let’s Do Theology written in 1989. Laurie Green manages to bring the academic study of theological into a thoroughly applicable and practical format which can be used by anyone interested in reflecting on their lives theologically. The book aims, and succeeds, to look at how we think, talk and act in the context of how God wishes us to be. Laurie Green takes the process of reflecting theologically as a sporadic undertaking and encourages us to change our thinking so that our theology is a part of our experiences and learning. The spiral of reflection shows how we learn from our experiences and from these have new experiences which are more informed but we can also learn from. The model fully embraces the fact that we are all constantly learning about ourselves, about our world, about our faith and about God.
Rather than starting from a place where by theology is required as a knowledge base, the book takes the fact that we experience as what matters at first. From this we can review and explore theology, reflect on our life experience, respond by doing something different and then learn again. I have recommended this book widely, to anyone who has an interest in the theological view of their life experiences.
Helm, N. and Allin, P. (2003) Finding Support in Ministry. Cambridge, UK: Grove Books Limited.
“I know my ministry is the product of the generosity of spirit and support of God and of a number of key people.” To me this summarises this text perfectly. It looks at how we can not be sole ships in the ocean during our ministry but need to draw on whatever resources we can to obtain support and guidance; be that from mentors, spiritual directors, counsellors or supporters. The text outlines how these people are not just there when times are hard, but should be there as sounding boards, as reflectors and guides throughout our ministry to ensure that we strike the right balance and retain our focus. I know through my own experience of counselling that it is imperative that carers own emotions are identified and worked through if that person is to be able to work to help others; this is well discussed in section three. I found the section on supervisors extremely helpful, the simplicity of the four tasks of supervision (affirmation, restoration, formation and normalising) have been easy to incorporate in my own supervisory sessions.
Hicks, P. (2000) What Could I Say? A handbook for helpers. Leicester, UK: Inter-Varsity Press
I came across this book by accident when looking for a text to bring a Christian influence into my counselling course. The book is not aimed at counsellors or even pastoral carers particularly, it is aimed at the average person who can listen to their family and friends and help them through hard times. The book starts with some tips on listening, not judging, the importance of prayer and understanding yourself. It then lists a broad range of issues in alphabetical order from abortion to work issues. Within each of these issues, the book provides an explanation of the topic, biblical pointings, Christ-like advice, guidance and additional references. I use it all the time as a reference whenever I am asked to help someone, it is the perfect starting place.
Hill, J. (2007) The New Lion Handbook: The History of Christianity. Oxford: Lion
This is the main recommended text for the church history course and it is obvious why, every aspect of Christian history is provided for the reader to see. I used it as a “dip in and out” text and it was very useful for the period up to the fifteenth/sixteenth centuries, when the book divides into geographical reasons to discuss the modern era. I think the book looses something in this, leaving it difficult to relate the global church together. I understand that this is necessary because of the differences in the church around the world, but in the global society we now find ourselves I find it very separatist.
Hope, D; Chew, M and Ireland, B (2009) How to do Mission Action Planning. London: SPCK Publishing
The full title of this book is “How to do Mission Action Planning; a vision centred approach.” This is a must have book if you have any input into mission, mission planning or mission audit. It provides not just the overview theoretical information about MAP process but also includes lots of detailed help in the completion of one. It is easy to read, full of clear diagrams and makes sense of what could otherwise appear to be fiendishly complicated.
Hultgren,AJ (1998) Mission and Ministry in Matthew. Word and world 18(4), 341-347
This paper was written by Hultgren for the Word and World journal. It examines the mission and ministry of Jesus as presented in Matthew’s gospel focussing on the great commission and how this moved the mission of the word from purely to the Jews to all of humanity including the Gentiles. The discussion on this change took me through to further research about how Matthew documented this change in theological teaching and mission.
Jacobs, M. (2001) Still Small Voice. London: SPCK
I have read Still Small Voice many times over the years, looking for different insights into how to understand myself and care for others. At first reading it told me the importance of listening, of having a still small voice which could reflect my empathy. But as my knowledge of counselling developed I read within the pages the importance of knowing and understanding myself in order to care for others. As a pastoral carer and counsellor my own emotions can not be shut away, nor should they since they have much to tell me; but they should be set as a background to the clients emotions which are the subject of all caring relationships. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to all who want to be there walking alongside those in need.
Jacobs, M. (2006) The Presenting Past: The core of psychodynamic counselling and therapy. Maidenhead: Open University Press
This book builds on the listening skills provided in Still Small Voice and brings in more psychodynamic principles. The key theory of psychodynamic counselling is that our past experiences, especially those in early childhood, form our psyche and the way we deal with adult life. This book is easy to read, providing many examples of how psychodynamic counselling works. Although it is aimed towards counselling students and professionals I would recommend this book as a way of understanding how our past can affect our present.
Johnson, B. C. (2002) Hearing God’s Call: ways of discernment for laity and clergy. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Johnson provides case studies of callings from God to discuss the understanding of calling, the acceptance of it being correct and what happens which it is time for a new calling to be accepted. His book talks to both clergy and laity and includes exercises in each chapter to help the reader examine their calling. The book is very specific with examples for clarity. I found the majority of the book extremely overwhelming until the appendices on biblical figures who were called; these were fantastic provisions helping both the process of calling and acceptance.
Keiller, J. (1989) Patterns of Prayer. London: Daybreak
This book provides a range of prayer methods which suit different personality types. It starts by reassuring people that everyone responds differently to learning according to their psychological makeup. Some like structure and clear systems, others prefer to be free to see where experience takes them. The book therefore helps the reader to identify their personality type. The chapters following this act as a learning themselves in how they personally prefer to pray and therefore which types of prayer would suit them. The second half of the book take each of four spiritual teachers; Benedict, Francis, Ignatius of Loyola and Teresa of Avila, showing how their approaches work and, through exercises, help the reader to develop their own pattern of prayer. I found the book easy to read, fascinating to absorb and extremely useful for helping me understand why I pray as I do and helping me to explore other ways of prayer. I would recommend it to newcomers to prayer or experienced prayers alike, I am sure everyone would learn and grow from it.
Kelly, J.N.D. (1989) Early Christian Doctrine. London: Black
This book is an extremely thorough and comprehensive text of the first five centuries of the church. I confess I did not read it from cover to cover, finding it too heavy, but used it reference style to get further detail on specific historical points and debates. I borrowed the book and am now in the process of trying to find a 2nd hand one for my shelves, I know it is the sort of book that would be useful in sermon preparation.
Knowles, M. (1973) The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species. Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing Company
This book discusses adult learning, how adults learn as compared to children, and how this should impact the planning of learning experiences. I found the book fascinating when thinking about how to communicate with adults through sermons, especially in an all-age setting. Knowles is clear that adult learning (andragogy) is very different to child learning (pedagogy) stating that adults need to understand why they are learning, be responsible for their learning, learn from their experiences and that they learn best when something is relevant to them.
Krentz,E (2006) Make disciples: Matthew on evangelism. Currents in theology and mission 33(1), 23-41.
Krentz focuses his paper on the making of disciples call as presented by Matthew’s gospel, looking at how disciples were to be made among the Jews and then among all people by Jesus’ own disciples. How all mankind were to disciple Jesus’ word. I found the paper easy to read and extremely informative on the area of disciple making, it spoke to me and helped me with the essay on Matthew and mission.
Kuhrt, G.W and Nappin, P. (2002) Bridging the Gap: Reader ministry today. London: Church House Publishing This book is written by Readers providing answers to the questions of what Readers are and what they do. From the start I liked the way the authors spoke directly to the reader, providing their own experience of being Readers. This book was good preparation for the start of training and has been sustaining in the months since. Passages which speak to me particularly are provided below:
“Christian ministers are simple ‘stewards of God’s grace’ which will never run out even when the steward tires or wears out” page 5.
“it is one of the precious opportunities that we have to be a regular member of a congregation” page 10
“you may experience something of the rejection that Jesus experienced (Mark 6:1-6)” page 12
“a bridge is what Readers are – between lay and ordained” page 16
“it is important for your own spiritual well-being that you have the time and space for your own worship and Bible study” page 17
“equally significant is the relation of Reader ministry to the unpaid work of bringing up a family …… or voluntary work undertaken in one’s spare time.” Page 19
“all good work is pleasing to God. Most have to find the right balance between their several callings.” Page 21
“the key to success is to recognise that God is with us on both sides of the divide, ‘out there’ in the world as well as ‘here’ in the relative safety of the church.” Page 25
“Readers will increasingly find themselves ministering within the context of a ministry team” page 45
“if God has called you to be a Reader, you can be rest confident that He will enable you to find the time and the energy and the commitment to make proper preparation.” Page 62
Life Application Study Bible: New International Version (2001). Kingsway.
I have used this NIV study bible for many years, enjoying its clear layout, large print and half page commentaries for every aspect of the whole Bible. I have not found another bible which provides such clear maps, historic timelines or simple explanations. However as a church we use the NRSV Bible and therefore this NIV version differs in some respects, for this reason it is not my sole study bible but is the one I prefer for personal use.
Matthey,J (2000) Pilgrims, seekers and disciples: mission and dialogue in Matthew. International review of mission 91(360), 120-134
I enjoyed reading Matthey with my favourite part of the paper being from Pg129 "within Matthew we are called on differing spiritual journeys. We use our own culture's wisdom and science to interpret God's light in the world. If we do this then we are living out our humanity by meeting the needs of the suffering.”
Marshall, H, Travis, S and Paul, I (2002) Exploring the New Testament. Volume 2: The Letters and Revelation. London: SPCK
This series was recommended on the course list but I was slightly disappointed in its content. It is extremely readable and clear but it does not provide enough depth or challenge of the sort I was looking for on the subject. I would recommend this book to someone starting out on a bible study, especially if they weren’t following a specific course since the book provides key questions for thought and essay titles if these are of interest. I found the book a little summary for my needs but it helped me identify the key areas that I wanted to explore further and find the relevant texts.
McGuiness, J. (2009) Growing Spirituality with the Myers Briggs. Model. London: SPCK
“For some the spiritual journey is an individual venture with no focussed objective. They are ready to explore different avenues.” This is how the book starts and it continues by looking at how we can explore our spiritual journey. Having identified that spirituality is a journey, one which has no rights or wrongs or destination but is an exploration; the book moves on to helping the reader identify their personality type. It introduces the Myers Briggs model for personality trait identification and then provides detailed summaries of each personality trait. These details include how each trait deals with social situations, relates to God, prefers to pray, and connects with others. The book reinforces that we are "created in Gods image, we can live with permission to cherish our God-given personality, rather than under compulsion to strive to be someone else." From this standpoint it encourages the reader to understand their personality and the shadow side which with exploration can be developed to increase their spiritual connection.
McGrath, A.E. (1991) Affirming your faith: exploring the Apostles’ Creed. Leicester: Inter Varsity Press
This book takes the Apostles’ Creed in a line by line way, similarly as Bezancon does for the Nicene Creed. I read this after my research on the Nicene Creed and did not find it as useful as other reading, however I am sure this is more related to the fact that it had little new to tell me.
McGrath, A.E. (2009) Christian Theology: An Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell
This book starts off looking extremely easy to read, however I stalled when I attempted to read it cover to cover without any guidance. I came back to the text whilst attending the course on Doctrine and was pleasantly surprised to realise that the information provided on specific subjects we covered were easy to access yet thorough enough to spark debate and interest for further reading. The book starts with a history of Christianity. Part two then concentrates on sources and methods of theology including knowledge of God. Part three provides Christian theology on doctrines of God, Trinity, the person of Christ, salvation, human nature and sin, the church, sacraments and hope. I used the text as the key source for my doctrine essays and it gave me the confidence to look for more information elsewhere. I imagine this text will be well used throughout my ministry.
McGrath, A.E. (2009) The Christian Theology Reader. Oxford: Blackwell
The Christian Theology Reader is the accompanying text to the Introduction to Christian Theology. It provides the primary sources for the theological and doctrinal quotes provided in the Christian Theology Introduction. It is easy to use with a clear index and all sources provided in a format which is accessible and yet thorough. I bought the book because it was on special and am pleased I did, the information has been invaluable when researching and writing essays. I expect that this text will be well thumbed in the coming years as I look for the thoughts of others on the faith issues that arise.
Meyers, C (2005) The New Cambridge Bible Commentary: Exodus. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
This book provided the depth I was looking for in understanding the book of Exodus. I especially valued the cultural viewpoint of the book and how it provides the social meaning for the people of Israel, an aspect which appealed to my psychological way of studying. The book is easy to read and navigate, whilst being challenging in its themes and discussion. I would return to other Cambridge bible commentaries if they all hold to this high standard.
Michael, C.P. and Norrisey, M.C. (1984) Prayer and temperament: different prayer forms for different personality types. G Charlottesville, Virginia: the open door Inc.
This book is based around the findings from a year long project in 1982 in which 457 people examined the value of various prayer forms for the different psychological types of human personality. The project concluded that of those taking part, 98% testified to the value of choosing a method of prayer which was compatible to their temperament. The book therefore helps the reader identify their personality type, as one of four, and then presented the prayer type that most suited their personality. The book recommends that the reader try the type of prayer most suited to them and see how it works.
Moore, L. (2006) Messy Church: Fresh ideas for building a Christ-centred community. Abingdon, UK: The Bible Reading Fellowship
This book is a great introduction to Messy Church, providing the theory and practical aspects of the sessions. It introduces the idea of Messy Church, its theology, purpose and presentation, enough to allow you to sell it to your PCC. The second section of the book is fifteen thematic sessions with full programmes including biblical backgrounds, food menus, activities and the celebration (worship); these are all you need to run one years worth of Messy Church.
NASB Study Bible (1999) Zondervan
At the start of my LLM studies I was recommended by a tutor to get a New American Standard Bible study version, being told that this version is the closest to the literal original of the Bible and therefore the most accurate. I have found it hard to get used to this study bible, preferring my life application NIV version, but have found it invaluable during my studies in providing a second translation for understanding the themes, motifs and text.
O'Brien, PT (1999) Mission, witness and the coming of the spirit. Bulletin for Biblical Research 9, 203-214.
An interesting paper drawing on Luke and the Acts of the Apostles to discuss the mission of the early church in the world. I was hoping to find some reference to Matthews Gospel but this was not part of the papers remit.
Olford, S. (1988) The Essentials of Expository Preaching. Memphis: Institute Of Biblical Preaching.
This is a course developed by Olford and now delivered by the Institute of Biblical Preaching. It is focussed on expository preaching; the preaching on the message within a passage of scripture, otherwise referred to as systematic exposition, whereby the scripture is the starting point. This is different from preaching on a topic which starts with the topic and brings in scriptural reference. The lectionary provides passages from scripture which thereby encourages expository preaching.
Patte,D (2006) Reading Matthew 28:16-20 with others: how it reconstructs our western concept of mission. Hervormde Teologiese Studies 62(2), 521-557.
The quote which most spoke to me was on page544 "Matthew 28:20 promises the disciples the supportive presence of Jesus during their mission to the end of the age." This demonstrates how we are all disciples called to mission work for God as He works in the world.
Pattison, G (1998) The end of theology - and the task of thinking about God. London: SCM press
Professor Pattison writes a book with a title which immediately appealed to me, and I imagine to many others. The idea of theology can be extremely off putting, and yet the same subjects from a standpoint of thinking about God are less bewildering. In reality the book deals with the major theological and doctrinal issues that challenge all thinking and enquiring Christians, but it does it in a readable, clearly presented way which brings the process of theological reflection to life. I borrowed this from a friend and have subsequently bought it as a ‘must have’ on my book shelf.
Peskett,H and Ramachandra,V (2003) The message of mission: the glory of Christ in all time and space. Nottingham: inter varsity press
Peskett and Ramachandra focus on the last two paragraphs of Matthew’s gospel and the great commission to all people. The paper well explains how disciples are to fulfil their mission with Jesus like behaviour. He exemplifies live for God and neighbour and so should they; he submits to the will of God, he prays; he is meek, a servant; he shows compassion; he is vigilant. So we need to walk in the path he walked.
Phillips, J. B. (1955) The Young Church in Action: The Acts of the Apostles translated into Modern English London. Geoffrey Bles; Wyman & Sons
I found this book in my local Oxfam bookstore many months before studying church history and bought it thinking it might come in useful. It is obviously a dated text but is a fantastic book for examining the Acts of the Apostles, and one I have also used in my study of the New Testament. I try to get a number of commentary and translation inputs on biblical texts, and this is one which I will enjoy picking up whenever I am thinking about the Acts of the Apostles.
Pike, R. W. (1989) Creative Training Techniques Handbook. Minneapolis, MN: Lakewood Books.
The strap line of this book is “Tips, Tactics, and How-To's for Delivering Effective Training”. It provides details on how to prepare training sessions and ensure that you are speaking to the trainees, how to present in terms of information provided and physical aspects and also information about how learners need to be motivated to learn both during a session and afterwards as they put their learning into action. Although very much a book written for teachers and trainers I found it had a lot to offer by way of helping me understand how people learn and therefore how sermons should be presented to help them be understood and remembered.
Pritchard, J. (1997) The Intercessions Handbook: creative ideas for public and private prayer. London: SPCK
John Pritchard starts by explaining why we intercess and why it is important for Christian life; he then highlights the very real problems associated with intercessions. I found it comforting, if disappointing, to realise that the problems we have at church with the over generalised, simplistic and broad brush intercessions are not ours alone, these are widespread. The book then goes into a provision of examples of intercessions for different types of service, all age, small groups and traditional Eucharist; it also looks at the church seasons and the intercessions which can be used at these times. I found the inclusion of personal prayer and the way we can intercess particularly useful.
Pritchard, J. (2006) How to explain your faith. London: SPCK
How to explain your faith, an issue I have often had problems with when friends ask me to explain my faith. To find a book on this issue alone was fantastic, to see it actually address the specific questions that can be asked was enlightening. The first section is entitled “Why Bother” and looks at the very foundations of Christian faith, the way it is seen to be failing in society and even how it can compete. Part two focuses on “Why Believe”; it takes the big questions of “is there a God?” and “who was Jesus?” and what happened and is it all real. The final section is “why get involved” and looks at the church itself, prayer and the bible. The book excellently captures the questions that may be asked, the issues involved and also what we could say to those who ask them. It is a must read!
Rayner, E. (2008). Human Development. London: Routledge.
This book is extremely dated (despite it’s new release) with considerable homophobic, sexual and racial discrimination issues. However if you can get beyond these issues then it is one of the best books providing details of how humans develop themselves socially, morally and psychologically. The book starts at the beginning with a chapter on prebirth development before moving into birth and babyhood, young childhood, teenage years, adulthood and maturity. It examines the milestones in life and shows how they affect our development and therefore our future understanding of ourselves and others. It is not an easy read but it covers the entire life span in one accessible text.
Richardson, A. (1972) Creeds in the Making. London: SCM
This books secondary title is “A Short Introduction to the History of Christian Doctrine” and it does exactly what it says it does. It is an accessible introduction to the church discussions, disputes, councils and agreements which developed the Nicene and Apostle Creeds. Apart from the facts, the book also gets across the message that the creeds are faith statements, designed and written to ensure that the Christian church understands their beliefs, doctrines and can teach them correctly. I enjoyed the style and ease of the book and found it invaluable in writing my essay on the development of the Nicene Creed.
Robinson, H. (1980) Biblical Preaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
This book looks at scripture based message sermons, dealing with the preparation of sermons as well as the preaching of them. It is written from an evangelical perspective which is different from our churchmanship but it still had much to show which helped me in learning how to write sermons. This book showed me how when I preach I am letting God speak through me, I need to put in the footwork of the development with the help of prayer and then let the Holy Spirit flow. I liked the way the book was focussed on sermons providing the message and idea of the scriptures rather than analysis of the words used and contextual basis. I took away from this book the need to be able to summarise an entire sermon into one powerfully hitting sentence.
Rowling, C. and Gooder, P. (2009) Reader Ministry Explored. London: SPCK.
This text about Reader Ministry is provided in three sections; the first looks at the ministry of Readers and where it originated; the second examines discernment to Reader Ministry; and the third section discusses the role of Readers in the Church of England at the time of writing, providing some examples. Chapter three is particularly useful when thinking about the role of Readers; it presents a number of scenarios with questions to ponder, this brought many questions to my mind which I was then able to work through. This book would have been an invaluable read whilst I was going through the discernment and selection process and I will recommend it to anyone who indicates a possible calling to lay ministry.
Rundle, E. (2008) Twenty Question Jesus asked: what is he asking you? Abingdon, UK: The Bible Reading Fellowship
This book examines 20 of the questions that Jesus asked and asks how we could answer them. It does not state that there is just one correct answer to each but that we should each spend time thinking about these questions and the answers in our lives. Each chapter takes one of Jesus’ questions, provides the gospel story and looks at how this relates to daily life. It then leaves us with a thought and prayer for us to 'wait upon God'.
Sanders, E.P (1991) Paul: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press
This is, as it states, part of the very short introduction series of books published by Oxford University Press. This edition takes Paul’s work, providing information on his life, background, work and his Biblical books. I like to read these books when I start on a subject and was surprised how detailed this one is, providing a fantastic introduction to Paul. I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever wondered what Paul did and why he is so important to us as Christians.
Schonfield, H. (1968) Those Incredible Christians. London: Hutchinson
This book looks at the start of the church and it’s following century of development. It looks at Paul and John, their role in the formation of the church and the challenges they faced. It then examines the church itself at that stage and the issues within it in terms of theology, power and doctrine. It is obviously a dated book, but it provides another text to add to the more modern ones available discussing the early history of the church.
Singlehurst, L (2010) Sowing reaping keeping - people sensitive evangelism. Nottingham: Inter Varsity Press
This book is the first book I have ever read which clearly explains how mission and evangelism are different, how it is just as important to sow seeds of faith and love as it is to reap new Christians; and how complex it is to keep disciples passionate and energetic. I have recommended this book to a number of people at church who are passionate about mission but feel turned off by the word “evangelism” and also to friends outside church who feel that evangelism is all about changing people.
Stevenson,J. (2002) A New Eusebius: documents illustrating the history of the church to AD 337. London: SPCK
My vicar lent me this book when I asked him if he had anything related to the creeds. I quickly flicked through it and put it aside, dismissing it as an overly academic group of letters. However I went back to it as part of my assignment research and became engrossed in the letters, in the end reading the book cover to cover and thoroughly enjoying the picture of the first few centuries of the church emerging. The information I found in this book added great value to my learning and to me assignment and I would recommend it to anyone studying the creeds.
Stott, J (2009) Basic Christianity: new edition. Nottingham: Inter Varsity Press
I approached John Stotts book with some scepticism but thoroughly enjoyed it. It is easy to read, entertaining and thought provoking. The book is presented in four sections, designed to take the reader through the faith journey of becoming a Christian. It starts with who Christ is, his character, teaching and resurrection. It then moves onto the nature and consequences of sin; before looking at the death and salvation of Christ and how this takes away our sin. The final section is about being a Christian and how you reach the decision. I found the book had a lot to say to me about the nature of Christianity as seen from a newcomers viewpoint, I appreciate its simple presentation and will recommend it to anyone who asks me what it means to be a Christian.
The Archbishop’s Council (2008), New Patterns for Worship, London: Church House Publishing
This book is the basis for designing services to individual parish, congregation and festival needs based on Common Worship services. Like the common worship study guide the book uses the four imaginary churches to illustrate the different services. The section on planning worship provides discussion about different forms of service structure, why and how they are used; before providing details about each form of service with the options to be selected between. Following this the resource section provides all the different options available for the gathering, penitence, liturgy of the word, psalms, creeds, prayers, thanksgiving, the peace and conclusion; with information also provided on praise and movement. The tome is completed with an array of example services which are provided not to be used as printed but as pieces for reflection and inspiration when planning similar services.
Thompson, J. (2008) SCM Studyguide: Theological Reflection, London: SCM Press
This study guide is a step by step introduction to theological reflection. It starts by providing details of what reflection is and how it used in various professions, before examining the specific undertakings of theological reflection; it then introduces a number of methods and helps identification of which will work best in different situations by providing worked examples. The book introduces PTR which it defines as Progressing Theological Reflection; this takes theological reflection into an ongoing learning process which becomes part of the way people in ministry or interested in theology think about the world they live in. Chapter three provides a range of theological reflection models in an easy to digest way, providing examples to be worked through with each model. This brought the models to life for me and encouraged me to look at several models in more depth. At the end of the book, in part four, there is a PTR Toolkit providing a range of tools which can be useful for reflective purposes; they include parable usage, compass pointing, flow charts, annotated human figure, dialogues, journaling, mapping and card playing with biblical images. The book allows the reader to start by using the reflections within a ministerial context and then shows how this can be expanded to reflect on any issue in a theological manner.
Tiessen, TL (2004) Who can be saved? Leicester: Inter Varsity Press
I was lent this book when I was sharing with someone the deep upset I was experiencing in the research on my essay on salvation. Although the book did not provide me with much essay information, it did allow me to come back to my initial and constant knowledge that God is love. The issues of original sin and salvation being for all, if they accept Christ have been extremely emotional for me; this book has taken me back to my deep belief that God is for all, that Christ died for all, and that we are all saved through Jesus’ resurrection. I have discussed the issues raised in the book with a number of people of different faiths and none and look forward to continuing this spiritual growth.
Whitehead, J.D. and Whitehead, E.E. (1995) Method in Ministry: Theological Reflection and Christian Ministry. Oxford: Sheed and Ward.
This book provides both a model and method for theological reflection, it is the conversation model. The theory upon which this book is based is that there are three partners in a conversational model of reflection; Christian tradition, both of individuals and faith communities; life experience; and culture. The method demonstrates how these partners communicate reflectively to come to a response in a three stage process; attending, asserting and responding. The second part of the book takes the three partners in the conversation and looks in detail at their roles. It starts with an examination of scripture, the basis for Christian theology; and how this applies to the current situation being examined. It then focuses on experience; both that of the reflector and those of the culture within which they live; before examining the impact of culture. The book’s third part provides more detail about the method itself before the fourth part provides some examples of how the method has been used. The book is easy to read and has a lot of practical information to introduce a conversation method of theological reflection; however it is only a start and a student would need to be guided for it to be effectively used and learned from.
Wenham, G (2003) Exploring the Old Testament: Volume 1: The Pentateuch. London: SPCK
This series was recommended on the course list but I was slightly disappointed in its content. It is extremely readable and clear but it does not provide enough depth or challenge of the sort I was looking for on the subject. The book raises the questions which I was hoping it would answer, but therefore is a good introduction which I could come back to if I was starting from scratch or recommending to others. I found myself looking for more after reading this, and went to more scholarly texts for this.
Williams, R. (2007) Tokens of Trust: An Introduction to Christian Belief. Norwich: Canterbury Press
This book is based on a Lent Course given at Canterbury Cathedral in 2005. It is based on the premise that being a Christian means knowing who and what to trust. Who can we trust, God; why, because he loves us and has shown us this through the life of Jesus. God did not create us because he needs us, but because he loves us and gave of himself unconditionally. The book tells us that when we give of ourselves in the same way, we see “a faint reflection of what God is naturally like” (pg 13). God never runs out of love and liberty. The basis of the book is the Apostle’s and Nicene Creed and how they demonstrate “who and what we can trust in this world”. Each chapter takes a different section of the Apostle’s creed starting with “I believe in God the Almighty”, before moving through “maker of heaven and earth”, “Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord”, “He suffered and was buried and the third day he rose again; “I believe one catholic and apostolic Church” and “I look for the resurrection of the dead”. The book is illustrated with extremely powerful paintings which I found helped me meditate on the subjects discussed and the emotions involved. One of the sections which particularly spoke to me was about the creation and how God relates to science; the author explains how faith goes beyond the nuts and bolts which science examines, for example time and space were created by God, before that there was no time or space.
Worden, J. W. (2006) Grief Counselling and Grief Therapy. Hove: Routledge
This book is not a self help, how to deal with grief book; it is a text for professionals who counsel the bereaved. It draws on psychodynamic, humanistic and cognitive-behavioural principles in detailing the stages of grief which the bereaved go through as they come to terms with their loss. The process of bereavement is a normal and natural process, however for some it can be problematic and they can get stuck in one of the stages. This book examines how and why people may become stuck and identify the methods that can be used to help them move on through their grief. The book starts by providing information on attachment and how this affects relationships and therefore mourning on the loss of that relationship. It then looks at descriptions of mourning processes, although it is almost impossible to define such a complex process. The book examines the complications that can occur, often referred to as abnormal grief reactions as well as the issues associated with special types of losses. The real value of this book is the chapter on how those who help with mourners need to be aware of their own experience, management and acceptance of loss and grief; this is extremely important if we are able to be there for others in these hardest times.
Wright, C.J.H (2005) Truth with a mission: reading scripture missiologically. Cambridge: grove books limited
This book was recommended on the mission and evangelism course but I was disappointed with it. It starts to deal with some of the issues of missiological scripture reading but falls short of providing any real useful information, whilst at times using terms which would loose the beginner. However the book's bibliography provided good pointers for further reading.