The Surprising Mentoring Ministry of Edwards: Learning the Art of Leadership Development
Edwards was not only a great theologian and philosopher. His pastoral ministry deserves closer attention in the academy and amongst those on the front line in churches. Of particular note is his overlooked ministry of mentoring: he took trainee evangelists and ministers into his home, debated theology with them based on his Miscellanies, gave them popular novels to read, wrote informal letters to them treating them as peers, and cultivated the art of conversation like in the best circles of London. These priorities shed light on his understanding of the church, Christian spirituality, the Reformed worldview, and the needs of potential leaders in a time of rapid social and theological transition. Edwards empowers a rising generation of leaders through his practice of one-on-one soul care, providing us with an example and instruction for our own ministry.
Rhys Bezzant is Dean of Missional Leadership at Ridley College (Melbourne, Australia), where he has served since 2004. He lectures in Church History, Theology and Christian Worship, and he is the Director of the Jonathan Edwards Center for Australia. Rhys studied at Ridley and has served as an Anglican minister in a number of parishes and as chaplain among tertiary students at Latrobe University and the University of Melbourne. He has published Jonathan Edwards and the Church (OUP 2014), Standing on Their Shoulders: Heroes of the Faith for Today (Acorn 2015), and he is currently researching for a book on Edwards’s ministry of mentoring.