Books for Ministry in a Pluralistic Society course

You might be interested in the text books for our Ministry in a Pluralistic Society course at Crown.  The course will run as an 8 day intensive "block" for students who are preparing for their 5.5 month internship experiences.  The intensive nature of the course means that we can dig hard into a couple of textbooks, and then make reference of others in seminars and discussions.  (*The course also has built-in substantial field-observation and other active-learning assignments.  This course was a gem last year… hoping it will be that way this coming January once again.)

PRIMARY RESOURCES:

The Gospel in a Pluralist Society ~ by Leslie Newbigin.  This book is a vocabularists dream… and it serves as the bulk of journal reflections for our block environment.  Each day the students will wrestle with the issues of integrity, truth, culture, pluralism, relativism and motivation that are presented so eloquently in this book.

Cultural Intelligence: Improving Your CQ to Engage Our Multicultural World (Youth, Family, and Culture) ~ by David Livermore.  I'd be remiss if I didn't stress the importance of Cultural Intelligence to the future of missions, evangelism and discipleship work.  No longer can Christians be (and we never should have been in the first place) ignorant or arrogant concerning people in this world.  051097814412106301723PicA true love for this cosmos would neither take for granted nor discredit the experiences and characteristics that make-up a person's identity.  Instead, in our desire to love others we should work tirelessly on our ability to actually love them.

 

SECONDARY RESOURCES: None of the following texts are required for the course, but they either provide some direct material for course content, or they serve as direct influences on the course outcomes.

Christ and Culture (Torchbooks) ~ by Richard Niebuhr.  The argument structure of this book is often used as the framework for discussions concerning Christian interaction with culture.

Transforming Worldviews: An Anthropological Understanding of How People Change ~ by Paul Hiebert.  Hiebert offers fantastic study and theory about how appropriately added data can change perceptions and constructs of reality.

Coaching 101: Discover the Power of Coaching ~ by Robert E. Logan and Sherilyn Carlton.  I was personally impacted by this book while going through CoachNet training with the North American Baptist Conference of Churches in Canada.  I wish someone in my early days of ministry had exposed me to these concepts of "Active Listening"… I wouldn't have flung myself so arrogantly and regretfully into many conversations. 

The Human Experience ~ DVD documentary by Grassroots Films.  This beautiful and moving documentary (not "Christian") serves as an introduction to differing experiences and paradigms that exist in our world today.  We can't assume that just because we view life/faith/world through our __(fill in the blank)__ lens that others from completely different backgrounds/languages/cultures/experiences will see things the same way we do.

Christianity Rediscovered ~ by Vincent Donovan.  This book tells the dramatic story of a Catholic missionary to the Masai… It wasn't until Donovan discovered humility, community and a deeply rooted appreciation for the people and culture of the Masai that he felt he discovered Jesus personally.  And until that moment, he realized he didn't have much to share.

Missionary Methods: St. Paul's or Ours, A Study of the Church in the Four Provinces ~ by Roland Allen.  This book examines our patterns of ministry against the approaches of the earliest church movements.  This is a powerful reminder, again, to not grow arrogant in our methodologies, as if we have evolved to be the fittest missionaries in history.  Perhaps we can learn something by remembering what made mission in the 1st century so effective?

The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church ~ Alan Hirsch.  I would like to humbly state that we drew up the model for Hub in Calgary as this book was being printed… so I realize that once again someone else came up with my brilliant ideas.  :)  I especially love the hub and nodes network discussions (the diagram on p.204 looks remarkably similar to the Romans 16 network I've been drawing for the last 7 years or so)… and I have to admire that Hirsch does a much more thorough job at explaining networked/partnered ministry.

The Celtic Way of Evangelism, Tenth Anniversary Edition: How Christianity Can Reach the West . . .Again ~ by George Hunter III.  Only a few books outside the Bible have impacted me as profoundly as this one has.  My developing approaches toward partnership and creative initiatives in mission were both affirmed and enhanced through this introspection of St. Patrick's way of ministry.  Rarely a week goes by that this book doesn't pop up my conversations about the activity of the Church.

Ken Castor

Ken Castor is a husband, dad, pastor, writer and teacher. He serves as a professor at Crown College, Minnesota, where he equips students to pursue Jesus-Centered Faith and Next Generation Ministry. For 20+ years he's focused on equipping the next generations in places like the U.S., Canada, and Northern Ireland. He's the author of Grow Down (Simply Youth Ministry, 2014), Make a Difference (Broadstreet, 2016), the Blue-Letters Editor of the Jesus-Centered Bible (Group, 2015) and numerous other articles and Bible Study guides. But, whenever possible, he gets down on the floor and builds Lego with his kids. Connect with him @kencastor.

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