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Ministry in Three Dimensions: Ordination & Leadership in the Local Church

Darton, Longman & Todd (London), 2008
RRP $47.95

Reviewed by Peter Harvey, Patrol Minister for Frontier Services’ Flinders Patrol

This is not a new book, but rather a new edition of a volume published in 1999, with an additional chapter.
Ministry in Three Dimensions is addressed primarily to an Anglican (and British) context, though those from other denominations and places interested in leadership can find much of value in it.
The first section of the book is on a biblical theology of leadership, and here Croft explores material from both the Old and New Testaments.
He confronts the lack of a uniform pattern of ministry emerging from the New
Testament writings, and proposes a convincing way of understanding the three dimensions of ministry – diakonos, prestyberos and episcopos –suggesting that
ministry (specifically ordained ministry) cannot be seen as one-dimensional.
Parts two, three and four of the book then unpack diakonia, presbyter and episcope, with sections on the scriptural origin of each term, the historical dimension, and how the ministry is exercised in the Church today.
In Mr Croft’s understanding, the first dimension is primarily a ministry of service; the second of service of the Word, and of sacraments and prayer; and the third of vision, unity, enabling, and watching over self and others.
The new final chapter addresses two issues: developments in the understanding of
ministry, in particular the emergence of fresh expressions of church and ‘pioneer
ministry’ – something Mr Croft has been closely involved in for the last five years; and connections between episcope and recent thinking on leadership.
The conclusion is simple: “The calling of all the ordained is to ministry in three
Like many of his early books this work is immensely thought-provoking and useful, laced with clear and original thinking, teamed with practical relevance.
This book would be of value to anyone exploring the idea of the ordained ministry, and to church leaders who want to step back and reflect on their own ministry.