Centre for Ministry Studies Coordinator
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The University of Aberdeen
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Web LinksHere, below, is the web link to a series of recordings of lectures I delivered on Pastoral Care at a conference organised by the Church of Scotland at Dufermline in June 2017.
Born in Northern Ireland and brought up in Holywood where he attended Sullivan Upper School, Ken Jeffrey went to Stirling University in 1988 where he studied History with Professor David Bebbington.
After graduating, he went to Malawi where he taught English and Bible Knowledge for two years at Livingstonia Secondary School.
In 1994, he returned to Aberdeen University where he gained a first class honours BD. Ken undertook post graduate studies with David Bebbington and studied the 1859 Revival as it affected the communities of north east Scotland. He was awarded his PhD in 2000 and his thesis was published by Paternoster under the title When the Lord walked the land.
Between 2000 and 2002, he served as a Probationary Minister at Rubislaw Parish Church in Aberdeen, before he was ordained and inducted as minister of The Parish Church of Cupar Old and St Michael of Tarvit in Fife where he served for almost twelve years. During this time, he undertook further studies at Aberdeen University and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and was awarded a DMin degree.
In January 2014 he was appointed as the new Director of the Centre for Ministry Studies at Aberdeen University. The CMS has nurtured an innovative working relationship between the academy and the church and provides education and training for people involved in Christian ministry at home and abroad through a suite of undergraduate and postgraduate courses and a calendar of annual activities and events.
Ken has also created a new collaborative partnership between Aberdeen University and Zomba Theological College in Malawi where he delivers the MTh Ministry Studies course to ministers of the Central Church Africa Presbyterian, and helps supervise some of the staff from the College on Aberdeen's distance PhD programme .
Revivals, Renewal and Church Growth
I have a particular interest in the history of Evangelicalism and enjoy a special fascination of revivals. I have examined how these 'seasons of grace' have appeared across Britain, and Scotland in particular, during the last four hundred years.
I also have a keen interest in the spiritual renewal of the church today and its expression in new and pioneering forms of ministry. I supervise doctoral students who undertake research into new churches formed in Glasgow between 2000 and 2016, discipleship practices among missional churches in Texas, and the recovery of ancient practices among other neo-liturgical churches in America.
The Recovery of Ancient Practices
I have a passion for the recovery of the ancient practices of the Christian tradition as the church wrestles with the challenges that are presented by the post Christendom culture in which we live. I am enthusiastic to encourage the church to rediscover some of its ancient practices so that it might recover a more authentic sense of its true calling and purpose.
I have a special interest in the practice of Hospitality, and believe passionately that it is one of the most important means by which we are called to engage in ministry and mission within the world today.
I enjoy introducing students to the practices of the tradition that cultivate and nurture the process by which Christians become shaped into the likeness of Jesus Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Towards this end, I am interested in the main spiritual traditions of the church and the works of the Desert Fathers, Benedict, Julian of Norwich, Thomas a Kempis, Ignatius of Loyola, John Calvin, Dietrich Bonhoffer and Henri Nouwen, to name but a few, and their contributions to our understanding of the spiritual life and its formation.
The Challenges of Ministry and Mission Today
I have also served as a parish minister and enjoy a significant interest in all matters that relate to the ministry and mission of the church.
I have a very particular concern for the health and well being of church leaders, born of an awareness of the harsh realities and issues that confront them on a daily basis. I am acutely aware of the difficulties presented by criticism and discouragements, loneliness and isolation, 'dryness', fear of failure and temptation, as well as the need for church leaders to have a strong sense of their own identity as children of God and servants of the church.
The recovery of ancient practices for a theology of Spiritual Formation.
Meanwhile, I have supervised two doctoral students to the successful completion of their studies. Their work focused on:
1. Church and Mission in Four Aspects: Locating church planting within a missionary ecclesiology for the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church in contemporary Northern Ireland
2. The Changing Theological functions of Corporate Worship among Southern Baptists: What they were and what they became, 1638-2008
In addition, I am currently supervising ten further doctoral students, whose subjects include:
1. A contemporary survey of narrative preaching among United Methodist Pastors in Liberia
2. An examination of vocational theologies and their application from the reformers to present day
3. Exploring Discipleship Models of Millennials in Missional Communities in Fort Worth, Texas: An Ethnographic Inquiry
4. Hospitality, Formation, and Christian Education in an American seminary
5. Ministries of Reconciliation within the Presbyterian Church in Ireland
6. New Churches in Glasgow, 2000-2016
7. Renewal or Rejection? Exploring the Retrieval of Church Tradition Among Evangelicals in the United States
8. Sanctification in seventeenth-century English Puritan pastoral theology
9. Spiritual Formation Practices and Youth Ministry in Vietnam
10. The Impact of Witchcraft Beliefs and Practices on members of Church of Central Africa Presbyterian: A Case Study of Livingstonia Synod
1. Distance Learning Programme:
An Introduction to Pastoral Care
An Introduction to Christian Spirituality
2. MTh Ministry Studies: (At Aberdeen University and Zomba Theological College, Malawi)
3. Doctorate in Practical Theology