I consider myself to be relatively well-read when it comes to theology. I at least am aware of the major theologians and have sampled from their teachings. I am also fairly well-read when it comes to Christian ministry, especially in the areas of leadership and preaching.
But when it comes to the overlap of these two areas, something called practical theology, I have less familiarity. Practical theology is also sometimes called pastoral theology. It has unfortunately often been dismissed as not “real” theology. It is a dumbed down version of theology for pastors who don’t have the background in real theology.
This is very far the case. Practical theology is as much real theology as systematic or biblical theology. That is why I enjoyed Introducing Practical Theology by Pete Ward.
The biggest insight I took from the book is the awareness of how little I know about practical theology. Ward surveys Christian thought concerning practical theology, drawing from both conservative and liberal theologians. I was introduced to some ideas that I never considered before.
I really appreciated this introduction and the high level of theological reflection Ward calls his readers to attain to. Reading this book only whetted my appetite for more. I see myself as a pastor-theologian and so this book is very useful to me as I seek to fulfill that role.
I highly recommend Introducing Practical Theology.