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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Balanced view of how being a priest actually plays out, 13 May 2004
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I write as an ordinand who was given this by my DDO during pre-selection conference interviews, and it is the book whose ideas I still consider the most now I am actually in training.
Croft takes the threefold order (Bishop, Priest, Deacon) and illustrates how these titles all actually invoke qualities (strategic oversight, leadership, service) that are all to some extent relevant to each of these positions.
While I am broadly liberal of centre, I feel that Croft's ideas would be valuable to most considering training or in training. Croft is also endearingly honest about the failure of his attempt to "manage" his church rather than be its pastor in his own time in ministry (he is now teaching at theological college).
And his appendix on types of church, from family and personality centred to organisation centred and cell grouped is very good.
Recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent discussion on the Ordained Ministry from a Biblical and Historical perspective., 10 July 2012
By 
AKevangel (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ministry in Three Dimensions: Ordination and Leadership in the Local Church (Paperback)
MINISTRY IN THREE DIMENSIONS: Ordination and Leadership in the Local Church by Steven Croft (Darton Longman and Todd, London, 2008)

I found Steven Croft's book on leadership both informative and challenging. Though perhaps primarily written with a view for those in the Anglican tradition it is also relevant for those interested in the ordained ministry in the wider Church.
Evangelicals will enjoy it because it is thoroughly biblical and examines several key passages on leadership as well as exploring leadership throughout the history of the Church. Croft also scrutinises secular management/leadership models and argues for the New Testament model of diakonia, the servant ( one who is prepared to serve behind the scenes), presbyteros, the elder ( the minister of the word and the sacraments), and episcope (the visionary, Shepherd and enabler). Croft deals thoroughly with each of these three `dimensions' of leadership in the church, by first building on diakonia and arguing that this is the foundation of all the others and that though one becomes an presbyteros or episcope `The root of diakonia is in every sense the foundation of all ministry which is truly Christian, including the exercise of leadership'. This might be compared to the `New Calvinist's' leadership models of prophet, priest and king which precludes the same emphasis on servant leadership.

In Croft's discussion of diakonia he argues that this in fact is the neglected dimension of the ministry of the ordained, stating that `The attitudes and attributes of diakonia need to be acquired before those of the presbyterate or of episcope and are the validation and foundation of the second and third dimensions of ministry' also that it is `the most important .. if ministry and leadership are to be truly Christian and Christ-like'. After looking at diakonia from a biblical perspective Croft then looks at its history in tradition and then within the ordained ministry today.

In discussing the dimension of presbyters Croft again looks at it firstly from a biblical perspective and challenges the readers from the good shepherd passage in John's gospel where he states : `To be a good shepherd, and by implication a good presbyter involves self sacrifice and the laying down of one's life'. Presbyters and Priests are then examined within the Christian tradition which includes an examination of the charge to priests in the alternative service book. In the next two chapters Croft firstly looks at the presbyter's call to study, preach and catechise and secondly, their call to minister the sacraments, minister through prayer and call to a life of holiness.

The third dimension of ministry, that of Episcope, is then discussed in detail. Croft first looks at it from a biblical perspective, then from the perspective of tradition. Croft sees the person exercising episcope as being firstly `a focus for the unity of the people of God', secondly `that of enabling, developing and sustaining the ministry of others, and thirdly having `the ability to keep watch: over one's own ministry, over the lives and ministries of others, and over the whole congregation'. In the discussion of the episcope as enabling others, Croft has many useful applications in the present day Church in regard to shared responsibility, differentiation of tasks and responsibilities (rota and team ministries), gifts and vocations, review, rest and renewal etc.

In the penultimate chapter Croft discusses how this ministry in three dimensions can be balanced without finding ourselves `in the wastelands of stress: exhaustion, bad temper, addictive and dependent cycles of behaviour, vulnerability to temptation, ill health and damaged relationships'. He argues the case for having a `portfolio approach' and becoming self aware with regard our danger signals.

The final chapter `Pioneering, Sustaining, and Connecting: Patterns of Ministry in a Mission Shaped Church' deals with how the Church today tries to engage with the world. Croft specifically addresses the concepts behind `Mission shaped Church', `Fresh Expression' and the role of ordained and lay ministry within it.

This is an excellent book by Steven Croft, the best I have read on the subject. It is highly relevant, informative and challenging as well as being thoroughly biblical. It is also supplemented with a large number of notes, an excellent bibliography and useful appendices.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful book on Ordination in the Church of England, 6 Feb 2009
This review is from: Ministry in Three Dimensions: Ordination and Leadership in the Local Church (Paperback)
Ministry in three dimensions does not sound exciting from the title but for anyone interested in what ordained ministry should be about this book is a must. Steven Croft takes a step back and looks at ordained ministry from a biblical and ecclesiological perspective focusing on the roles as deacon priest and bishop and is reasonably successful in doing so.

This is a book which will certainly challenge some views of priestly ministry but can also inspire others to a more rounded view that fits with life in the 21st Century.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The difference between titles and roles, 23 Jan 2002
By 
tony@tandcredman.fsnet.co.uk (Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, UK) - See all my reviews
An insightive book, which explores the principal that the titles of Bishop, priest and deacon reflect roles rather than persons, and are equally applicable to the responsibilities of the laity as they are to the roles of the clergy. Ministry is to do with teamwork using different gifts rather than hierachical structures focused on what people are promoted to. A ground breaking book. Post-Charismatic, post- evangelical, post clerical. Readable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful and relevent to the challenges facing those who are already ordained or are going to be in the future, 21 April 2010
This review is from: Ministry in Three Dimensions: Ordination and Leadership in the Local Church (Paperback)
I found this book to be very relevent and helpful in terms of how to tackle the issue of being relevent to a culture that is at least three if not four generations removed from having any contact with church whilst maintaining the integrity of our core beliefs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ministry in three dimensions, 27 Jun 2011
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This review is from: Ministry in Three Dimensions: Ordination and Leadership in the Local Church (Paperback)
Arrived fast, great book, easy to read, some of the other religious books are to academic and you need a hebrew dictonary to translate.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for both clergy and laity, 19 Nov 2010
I have just read this book and have found it very helpful for my own personal ministry, but also very helpful in considering the ministry of others. I highly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 5 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Ministry in Three Dimensions: Ordination and Leadership in the Local Church (Paperback)
An excellent book on the evolving ideas for leadership in the local churches. I found that it still focussed too much on ordained ministry and would like to see the ideas developed over the full range of church leadership.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for anyone exploring Church related Ministry or already in it, 25 April 2014
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This review is from: Ministry in Three Dimensions: Ordination and Leadership in the Local Church (Paperback)
Clear language and application. Easy to read and understand. Full with insight from personal experience & wider experience from others
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very though provoking, 9 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Ministry in Three Dimensions: Ordination and Leadership in the Local Church (Paperback)
On the Methodist candidates list - written from an Anglican perspective of ministry there are some very valuable insights to the work and calling of Ministers in the Christian church. Well worth a look
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