Book Review: Ministry Under The Microscope

Ministry Under The Microscope:
The What, Why, and How of Christian Ministry
Allan Chapple
Latimer Trust, 2018

Here is everything you need to know to set the foundations for a biblical and effective ministry. Which ministry and who ‘you’ are are discussed in the introduction. Ministry is defined broadly as what all believers do, but in fact this book is for people who are in some designated ministry role, or who think they may be called into such a role. Chapple seeks to clarify what is Christian ministry, and to do so in a broad big picture way.

The book is structured in four parts: The Basis; The Setting; The Source; The Focus of Christian Ministry. It begins with a Ministry Map which is an excellent outline of the rest of the book, and serves both as a useful summary as well as an index of particular topics. This is a very attractive arrangement. Each of the sub-sections is short and to the point and each is accompanied by a kind of side-bar called ‘Worth pondering...’  In each case this consists of a series of short quotes on the topic from a range of authors, from the Reformation to the present. Chapple suggests the book could be read through in the normal way, or it could be used as a kind of manual. It could also be used very usefully as a book for a group to study together.

Although the intended audience is those in designated ministry roles or those who might be called to such, those who have been prepared well theologically for pastoral ministry should know all this already. For them it may be a useful reference book. But more usefully I think, it could be used for teams of leaders in a church, whether lay or ordained, whether trained or not. It would be a terrific basis for in house training and encouragement. Bible study leaders, Church Councils, ministry teams could use this book together with enormous profit. The book concludes with a ‘What to do now’ chapter and a wonderful, partly notated, bibliography.

Dale Appleby, WA