In Pastoral Imagination: Bringing the Practice of Ministry to Life, Eileen R. Campbell-Reed informs and inspires the practice of ministry through slices of "on the ground" learning experienced by seminarians, pastors, activists, and chaplains and gathered from qualitative studies of ministry. Each of the fifty chapters explores a single concept through story, reflection, and provocative open-ended questions designed to spark conversation between ministers and mentors, among ministry peers, or for personal journal reflections. The book provides a framework for understanding ministry as an embodied, relational, integrative, and spiritual practice.
Pastoral Imagination is closely integrated with the author's Three Minute Ministry Mentor web resource, which introduces the topics in the book through brief video presentations. The book serves as a coaching guide and a ministry mentor in its own right by expanding on these topics through the author's reflections, observations, and questions. Addressing the importance of the practice of ministry, Campbell-Reed states: "Ministry itself, like most professions and complex practices, is dogged and driven by a rush to achieve. Yet to focus on achievement can be disastrous, especially if we skip over the steps for learning. To learn the practice of ministry--a multifaceted professional and spiritual practice--takes time and preparation, risk and responsibility, support and feedback."
The book can be used by individuals for personal growth; with groups in new-pastor retreats, CPE training programs, ministry peer groups, or supervision settings such as internship or field education; for devotional inspiration at staff meetings; and in seminary classrooms that prioritize teaching ministry as a practice.