Enhancing The Empirical Theological Approach of the Waverley Integrated Framework

Author: Rev Dr Andrew Hardy

Publish date: July 8, 2022
Reading Time: 26 minutes



This article seeks to recommend the enhancement of the Waverley integrative framework (WIF). It suggests that the WIF could be theologically developed with reference to ordinary theology, which is a branch of practical theology. Doing this may result in the WIF becoming more widely known and accepted in the field of practical theology. This is important to do, as the WIF can be usefully applied to other disciplines such as: Christian leadership, spiritual formation and chaplaincy studies, which sit more naturally in the discipline of practical theology. The WIF was primarily developed to be used for Christian counselling, and seems to lack a means to engage in investigating grass-root theologies in the public square. Very little research has been conducted using the WIF as a framework by recognised scholars. More research may be stimulated, and the model may become more widely used by researchers, leaders and influencers, if it is enhanced by ordinary/practical theology.

Keywords: Waverley integrative framework; practical theology; ordinary theology; scripting; rescripting


It is my purpose in this article to hopefully begin a conversation about enhancing the Waverley integrative framework (WIF).[1] My aim is to suggest how ordinary theology (OT) might provide a natural fit with WIF, which might help it to be applied to other fields of study: such as Christian leadership, spiritual formation and chaplaincy studies. Astley coined the term ‘ordinary theology’, and explains it as follows:

Ordinary Christian theology is my phrase for the theologising of Christians who have received little or no theological education of a scholarly, academic, or systematic kind. “Ordinary”, in this context, implies… non-academic (Astley, J. 2002:56; cf. Astley, and Francis, 2013; Ward, 2017:58-60).

Astley argues that we know very little about the ordinary theologies of everyday believers, which he suggests would provide profound insights into what they believe, value and practice should we investigate them (Astley, 2002:1-12). Investigating ordinary theologies will, arguably, make an important impact on how leaders, influencers and Christian counsellors inform their praxis. Concentration on ordinary theologies can also provide opportunities to help practitioners investigate how theology motivates people to act as they do. I will explain in more detail below how I have adapted Astley’s understanding of ordinary theology to suit it to augment the WIF. My aim is to address the deficit in paying attention to ordinary theology, which I believe offers an important lens through which the grass-roots theologies of people can be investigated.

I posit that if ordinary theology is used in dialogue with the WIF, it can offer fresh insights into the deeper interior life experiences of those who are being engaged with by influencers.

The WIF was developed by Hughes, in dialogue with Crabb, primarily as a model to be used by Christian counsellors (Hughes, 2006; Crabb, 1975; Crabb, 1997). Waverley Abbey College’s newer academic programmes, which draw on the WIF (such as Spiritual Formation and Chaplaincy Studies), seem to sit more naturally in the discipline of practical theology. Hence, programmes within these disciplines will probably benefit from enhancement by integrating ordinary theology into the WIF. I will argue the WIF can make an important contribution when brought into conversation with ordinary theology, which will help to demonstrate how the WIF can be integrated into practical and empirical theology. Given the limited range of research using the WIF by recognised scholars (Ashley, 2013), it seems relevant to investigate how ordinary theology might help the WIF to become an area of broader interest in practical theology circles, and within the academy. As a missiologist, I would also say it has important contributions to make to the work of missional leaders in the public square.

Practical/ordinary theology grew out of pastoral theology, which has ancient antecedents going back to early theological developments in the Christian Church (Graham, 2005:2; cf. Miller-McLemore, 2014). Graham, a leading practical and public theologian, discusses how practical theology, and theological reflection, draw on what she characterises as, ‘Theology by heart: the living human document’ (2005:18; cf. Butler, 2014:102-111; Miller McLemore, 2014:1-20). She traces how scholars, like the psychotherapist Charles Gerkin, developed understanding of theological reflection on the human being, which concentrated on the integration of God-consciousness into every layer of human experience (Graham, 2005:18; cf. Gerkin, 1984). Those familiar with WIF’s five-part framework will be able to see an immediate link to theological reflection and practical theology, because of its concentration on integrating God’s influence into the physical, emotional, volitional, rational and spiritual dimensions of life (cf. Ashley, 2013; Hughes, 2006; Kallmier, 2011).

The WIF usefully locates itself in an evangelical theological worldview, building on the classical markers of creation, fall, redemption and consummation (cf. Ashley, 2013: location 1865). It also relates well to Bebbington’s quadrilateral: conversionism, activism, crucicentricism and biblicentricism (Bebbington, 2005:10-14; cf. Warner, 2007). It is both theological in its nature, and instincts, as well as being applicable to holistic human experiences (Bebbington, 2005).

The framework’s foregrounding of evangelical characteristics is founded on key doctrinal (dogmatic) antecedents, which are used to frame and inform the way that Christians use WIF in counselling practice (cf. Ashley, 2013: location 166). Evangelical doctrine acts as a kind of theology from above, which is then used to drive core assumptions of what causes human psychological pathologies – based on the notion of sin, and the total depravity of humankind (cf. Ashley, 2013: Location 726). In order for humans to find healing, they need to repent and turn to Christ as the key to restoring the imago Dei,[2] as part of an ongoing lifelong transformation process so that they might flourish (cf. Ashley, 2013: Location 1875; cf. Higton, 2011). Ashley posits that human flourishing will not be totally possible until the future eschatological age, when Christ restores creation[3] (cf. Ashley, 2013: Location 2212). Penny helpfully highlights how human flourishing is often enhanced when empirical action research reveals ways in which peoples’ lives can be improved (2021:5). Transformational changes can be facilitated based on what is discovered by social scientific research (Penny, 2021:5, 6). In other words, flourishing is something to be experienced to varying degrees in this world, not only in the world to come.

The WIF usefully operates on the assumption that God is a relational tri-personal being, who has created humankind to live in dialogical relationship with God, and others (cf. Ashley, 2013: Locations 1018, 1176). This is a simplistic, and rather crude characterisation, of some of the assumptions of the WIF; Ashley’s published thesis provides an excellent scholarly theoretical discussion of the model related to psychotherapeutic counselling, and aspects of formal evangelical theology (2013). I had his work in mind as I wrote the above. It is surprising that Ashley did not draw on practical theology in his thesis, as this could have done much to show how the WIF can engage in a learning conversation with this discipline.

The evangelical doctrinal model of the WIF provides an explicit authoritative theology from above, which affords a meaningful benchmark for Christian counsellors to use with those who are already believers (cf. Ashley, 2013: Location 417). However, it does not naturally provide a means to focus on theology as it is perceived in terms of the ordinary theologising of the people it seeks to influence. In my view, it lacks a sufficient theological methodology to capture the grass-roots theologising of individuals and groups. I will suggest that concentrating on individuals’ and communities’ theologies from below (i.e. grass-roots theologising), will help leaders and influencers to understand the impact of ordinary theologising on people’s lives. In other words, it can provide an important practical theological means to enhance the use of the WIF in practice.

The counselling process recommended as part of the WIF seeks to explore, diagnose (understand) and resolve psychological pathologies, but it does not take further steps to articulate how understanding ordinary theologising can help to map the ordinary theologies of those it seeks to help, and then adapt them (cf. Kallmier, 2011:46; Astley, 2002:97-122). This is important to address, as Christian missional leaders, at work in the public square, will need a means to understand the popular theologies of those with whom they interact. This will be vital if they want to help people to obtain deeper insights into the person and nature of God, as well as what God is calling them to become – as they relate to God and one another.

The framework has seemingly needed to fight for the integration of secular insights into its psychotherapeutic framework, so that it can be accepted in the evangelical community (cf. Ashley, 2013: Location 226). In my view, it already naturally aligns itself well with practical theology. Practical theologians, and practitioners, similar to those who use the WIF, draw on psychology, sociology[4] and anthropology to methodologically investigate the world, and to inform their praxis (cf. Miller-McLemore, 2014). Theology is the driving discipline when it is used with insights from these other fields of study. Indeed, in my own published works, I do this very thing (cf. Hardy, 2015a; 2015b; 2016; 2018; 2019; 2022). It is my aim to demonstrate how the WIF model might be straightforwardly used in conversation with ordinary theology, to help influencers and leaders bring about meaningful spiritual and sociocultural changes in society for the common good (cf. Sagovsky, and McGrail, 2015).

In this article, I will take the following steps to explore how ordinary theology might be used to enhance WIF by providing insights into: 1. the nature of ordinary/practical theology; 2. articulating how ordinary theology and the WIF (i.e. OT/WIF) methodologically might work together; 3. providing a working case example of how the OT/WIF approach could work in practice methodologically; and 4. to provide recommendations for future conversations about the development of an OT/WIF approach, and other aspects of ordinary/practical theology in dialogue with the WIF.

Before we proceed any further, I want to make it clear that it is not my aim, in this article, to provide anywhere close to a full justification, or rationale, to adapt the WIF, or for the recommendations I will make. As I have mentioned already, at this stage, I want to provide a taster for what I hope will become conversations to enhance the WIF’s intellectual capital, in dialogue with ordinary/practical theology. I hope that interest might be stimulated in researching and writing a book with others, to develop the WIF in the light of ordinary/practical theology. I recognise that this will also probably entail some research in the field of systematic theology, and how it might further enhance the WIF as a theology from above, especially in terms of how other theological traditions might enter into conversation with the WIF.

The nature of practical theology

An excellent work that explores practical theology is Ward’s Introduction to Practical Theology (2017). Ward helpfully discusses where ordinary theology sits as a key part of practical theology (2017:14, 55, 58-60, 62-63, 65, 156-157). Ward comments:

At its heart, there is something ordinary and everyday about practical theology. One of the leading practical theologians in the United Kingdom, Jeff Astley, speaks about the “ordinary theology” of believers. From the writing of Bonnie Miller-McLemore and Rowan Williams it is clear that theology operates as a natural and everyday part of the life of the Christian community. Theology at the level of practice is “ordinary.” It is the basic way of speaking and living in the Christian community. Being a part of the church inevitably means that we share in an ongoing conversation about God (2017:14).

For those who want to learn more about the discipline, Ward’s book is affordable and useful (2017). Ordinary/practical theology may be characterised as the investigation of how theology arises out of practice, as well as how it frames and informs praxis (cf. Anderson, 2001:1-12). It also seeks to enable theological reflection on practice. Practices may be thought of as laden with meaning (cf. Ballard, and Pritchard, 2006:81-95; cf. Cameron, et al., 2010). In other words, the practices of those who have a religious faith are influenced by the meaning they assign to them (cf. Swinton, and Mowat, 2013:5, 6, 17). For example, when people engage in serving drinks after a church service, do they do it so that they can help people feel comfortable to socialise, or does it go deeper for some of them, as a kind of ministry of service, so that people can engage in spiritual conversations. In other words, something as simple as making drinks can be loaded with theological meaning – where making drinks becomes a ministry. Listening to what people have to say about their reasons for engaging in differing life practices can reveal that just below the surface of seemingly mundane acts, there are deeply held theological convictions (cf. Ward, 2008:6, 12, 20). These convictions can be more deeply explored on an interior level if the WIF is used in conversation with ordinary theology.

The practical theologian may reflect on the meaning people assign to what they do, in order to understand their ordinary theological motivations (cf. Bevans, 2012:1-33). By understanding their ‘theological motivations’ it may also become possible to help to further inform their beliefs, values and practices to inform their deeper sense of human wellbeing. As a result, it may be possible to help people to become more aware of why they do things the way they do, leading them to assign greater value to their practices – as a sharing in the ongoing mission of Jesus.

From an academic point of view, practical theology is built on the view that human practices are theory laden (cf. Rogers, 2015: 25-40; Wenger, 2016; McClendon, 1974; McClendon and Smith, 1994). By focusing on what people do, and their motivations for doing these things, it becomes possible to develop theories for why people behave in the ways they do (Charmaz, 2011:1-12). For instance, theoretical models can be constructed to help explain why a particular church/denomination may be successfully seeing new converts joining, based on what is learnt from peoples’ ordinary theologising. In my most recent book, An Ordinary Mission of God Theology: Challenging Missional Church Idealism, Providing Solutions (Hardy, 2022), I engage in the use of ordinary theology to trace positive and negative impacts on a congregation, who were becoming focused on local mission in their neighbourhood. The work uncovers how the differing ordinary theological perspectives of congregational members led to opportunities for mission, as well as costly conflict, tension and schism. I will reflect on a case example from this book in section 3. My aim is to demonstrate how the WIF could have helped me to obtain other useful insights regarding what impacted this church’s missional transformation journey.

As I explained in the introduction, I believe that ordinary/practical theology resonates well with the WIF. I turn attention, next, to explaining one way that ordinary theology and the WIF (i.e. OT/WIF) might converse from a methodological point of view.

A combined OT/WIF methodological conversation

My exposure to what has become known as the Waverley integrative framework was by reading some of Hughes’ work in the 1990s (cf. 2006). I found myself resonating particularly with his assertion that a primary human need was for spiritual security, self-worth and significance (cf. Hughes, 2006). In my pastoral counselling practice of the time, I utilised a similar model to Hughes’[5] to engage in the counselling process, which cycled through exploration, understanding and action phases (cf. Ashley, 2013: Location 2604; Egan and Reese, 2021). I did not rigidly apply the five parts of the WIF as a formula, i.e., the physical, emotional, volitional, rational and spiritual, but throughout counselling processes each of these areas would be explored in some depth.

I often had opportunities to communicate other alternative ways clients might interpret their stories in the light of the biblical story. For example, in the case of one single-mother, who was suffering from mental health challenges, she discovered that her picture of God was based on severe abuse she went through as a child, at the hands of her mother. She consciously, and subconsciously, seemed to believe that to win God’s/others approval she had to do things to earn it. We explored this view together, and she slowly came to the realisation that God loved her for who she was, and that God’s grace was not earnt. She increasingly found freedom from depression and anxiety, and a deeper relationship with her estranged family. Her ordinary theologising about God had been based on a picture of God presented by her mother. This old script was rescripted by a fresh understanding of God’s grace, which impacted her sense of wellbeing. This rescripting process eventually impacted her sense of self-worth more profoundly.[6]

I have introduced two new terms – ‘scripting’ and ‘rescripting’. This is something I methodologically adapted and used in my most recent book An Ordinary Mission of God Theology (cf. Hardy, 2022). Many social scientists look at the power of language, and how this forms a kind of script that people base their psycho-social behaviour on, mostly unconsciously (Pitman, 1984:64-79; cf. Foss, 2004; Holliday et al., 2010; Fairclough, 2001). By helping people to become aware of these scripts, they can then be helped to develop their own revised scripts, which might enable them to flourish more fully. These ‘revised scripts’ may be thought of as a rescripting process, which they can be helped to engage in developing by an experienced influencer/leader/counsellor. Below, in a case example taken from my research, I will demonstrate how this process can be used to enhance the WIF, and to utilise OT/WIF as a methodology in other disciplines, like congregational and leadership studies.

What I have briefly highlighted above provides a basic description of how ordinary theology, scripting and rescripting methodology might be combined with the WIF to enhance it (cf. Hardy, 2022; Cartledge, 2010:15-18; Martin, 2006). It makes it applicable to other fields of study such as spiritual formation and leadership studies etc. Ordinary theology could provide a missing dimension to the WIF’s doctrinal evangelical theology, helping the practitioner and scholar to make it more readily useable, and applicable, to their praxis. Figure 2 shows how I build on Ashley’s (cf. Fig. 1) adaptation of the WIF, integrating ordinary theology, scripting and rescripting into it.



As I see it, the primary challenge of utilising the WIF in other fields of study than counselling, is that a methodology needs to be developed to analyse the beliefs, values and practices of a group, which leaders/ministers/chaplains wish to influence.[7]

Figure 2 indicates how a leader engaged in seeking to spiritually influence people in the public square might engage with them. Ordinary theology seeks to actively listen to the presenting stories of Christians and unbelievers alike. Everyone has some sort of a theology, even if it means that they have decided not to believe in God (i.e., they have a non-theology). Robinson helpfully highlights the vital importance for those engaged in Christian mission to seek to understand the faith of ‘the unbeliever’ (Robinson, 2001). A leader in the public square will need to engage in meaningful conversations with agnostics, believers and unbelievers, in order to understand what is ‘scripting’ their theologies/non-theologies. As Ashley highlights, it is important to start in the WIF model with the ‘worldviews’ of people, in order to understand their existing theological/non-theological frames of reference (Ashley, 2013: Location 315). A conversational form of active listening can be utilised by missional leaders to engage in meaningful conversations with people who inhabit the public sphere. The aim will be to understand their existing scripts and, by identifying their ordinary theological/non-theological beliefs, they might be helped to rescript their stories with reference to the Christian story. In evangelical terms, this rescripting process will probably be informed by the four areas of creation, fall, redemption and consummation (Bartholomew, and Goheen, 2014).

However, I suggest that listening to ordinary theologies/non-theologies will not be enough on their own. The WIF provides a vital component that can enable the missional leader to listen to the deeper interior stories, and challenges, of peoples’ embodied physical lives. For example, by using the WIF, the deeper affective emotional dimension of human convictions, including human motivations for the choices that are made, will become evident (i.e. in the volitional dimension). Transformation needs to occur by paying attention to what God’s Spirit seems to be influencing people to do, bearing in mind each of the WIF’s five areas of functioning. By paying attention to what is happening in peoples’ interior lives, it may, then, become possible, at a much deeper level, to participate with the Holy Spirit’s work of rescripting a person’s ordinary theology/non-theology in the light of the Christian story. To use Gerkin’s terminology, ‘the living human document’ may first be exegeted[8] from the point of view of their presenting beliefs, values and practices and, then, reinterpreted in the light of the biblical story (i.e. in active conversation with them; cf. Gerkin, 1984).

In a book I wrote with my colleague Dan Yarnell, Missional Discipleship After Christendom, I discuss how discipleship formation practices need to become central to missional leadership in the public square (2018). What is discussed there will help the reader to reflect on how ordinary theology may be used to interact with those who are discipled by leaders and influencers. In my view, all of life is theological in nature, as I believe humans have been designed to function in the relational image of the Trinity (i.e. the Imago Trinitatis). God as three persons, united in one inseparable being, live in deep relational communion (cf. Karkkainen, 2007:90). Zizioulas suggests that all of reality only exists as we live in relationship with God, and others – otherwise no life, or learning, could take place (Zizioulas, 2013:15; Zizioulas, 2011:1-82). Based on the WIF model, I believe that we need to view ourselves holistically, rather than as fragmented personalities. In other words, the triune God may be thought of as seeking to integrate our whole way of being into a unity of relationships with the persons of God– and one another (cf. Zizioulas, 2011:1-82).

I recognise that there is much more room for me to set out in detail how the OT/WIF might work in practice. This will have to be investigated in more detail in later conversations and articles.

OT/WIF: Re-framing an aspect of Hardy’s congregational research

The research that underpins my book, An Ordinary Mission of God Theology (2022), could have been enhanced in places with reference to the WIF model in combination with ordinary theology. My study traces how the introduction of a mission of God theology to a British Reformed congregation had a significant impact on them. A small team of Christian leaders communicated mission of God theology to this church over a period of six years. It found that mission changes came at substantial personal costs to the church’s members. Everyday church members’ ordinary theological voices are absent from the formal literature in missional church studies. The study employed rescripting methodology to modify key assumptions made in the formal literature, by drawing on insights that came from congregants’ ordinary theological voices. I will briefly illustrate how one dimension of my findings might have been enhanced, had I also drawn on the WIF to analyse the data. All of my data was based on interviews, participant observations and congregational consultations with members and leaders.

By listening to members’ ordinary theological descriptions, of their positive and negative reactions to being encouraged to view themselves as God’s missionaries, two key groups emerged within the congregation (cf. Hardy, 2022). I termed these groups Group 1 and 2. Group 1’s ordinary theology was largely characterised as scripting members to see themselves as called to engage in individual mission outside of the church – in the secular community. This group seemed to place much less value on developing the communal-relational life of the church, and placed much more on mission work with people outside the church. Conversely, Group 2’s ordinary theologies were resistant to individual mission work outside the congregation, because in their views it undermined the relational family-focused outlook of the church. They seemingly thought that Group 1 members were much more interested in engaging in individual missional-doing, to the detriment of the church living together as a relational pastorally caring community. I termed Groups 2’s ordinary theology a ‘relational theology’, which focused on a sense of communal-relational being. Among other things, conflicts and tensions had already led to a schism in the church, and seemed to threaten the church to potentially experience another one (i.e. between Groups 1 and 2).

It was found that these two diverging groups’ ordinary theologies scripted one of them to be motivated by individuals engaging in missional-doing, and the other’s by a relational theology of communal being. This led to the suggestion that these diverging ordinary theological outlooks could be potentially rescripted, by developing practical measures, based on a relational trinitarian theology that was both communal and missional in its focus. For example, I suggested one practical way this could be achieved might be by engaging in a preaching/teaching series based on John’s Gospel. This was because this Gospel has a strong relational communal theology. Out of this, I theorised, Groups 1 and 2 might be helped to reconceive of themselves as working together to integrate new believers into the communal life of the Christian family.

Yet more important insights could have been obtained from the ordinary theological accounts of Groups 1 and 2, had I also drawn on the WIF to analyse the data. I can only at this stage suggest some enhancements to my approach, had I done this. Firstly, I could have dug much deeper into the physical embodied experiences of members, and how their everyday physical environments influenced their ordinary theologies, and their alignment with either of the two groups. Secondly, more attention could have been given to the emotional needs of members in each group – how might their emotional states have predisposed them to focus on individual mission work, or congregational communal fellowship. Thirdly, the research gave some attention to the volitional dimension, which led members to align with Groups 1 or 2, or a third Group, termed Group 3[9]. It could have been further enhanced by more intentional integration of the WIF into my methodology. Fourthly, the rational dimension was well captured by members’ accounts of their reasons for wanting to engage in mission, or for wanting the congregation to be focused on the church’s communal way of life. Finally, the spiritual dimension could have been much more fully analysed had the needs of believers for security, a clear sense of congregational identity and significance, been investigated more widely. From the point of view of my adaptation of ordinary theology, and rescripting methodology, some additional insights could have been teased out from the congregational data by drawing on the Waverley integrated framework.

Summary and recommendations

In such a provisional article of this kind it is not possible to draw conclusions, but it will be useful to summarise some key insights. Following a short summary, I will recommend some starting points for further conversations that I hope may develop. I recognise that this article will make most sense to those already sufficiently grounded in the WIF model.


In summary, I have suggested that: 1. the WIF is already well developed as a therapeutic counselling model, but it could help practitioners, and students, to consider how an OT/WIF approach might be further integrated into leadership/spiritual theology/chaplaincy studies; 2. practical theology seems to be a well-suited conversation partner that can help to make the WIF more accessible to leaders who use practical theology, as well as those in the academy; and, 3. The OT/WIF approach arguably needs developing, because concentrating on people’s ordinary theologies, and helping them to rescript them, will equip leaders et al. to analyse the ordinary theological scripts of individuals and groups they are seeking to influence.

I suggest, similar to Astley, that ordinary theological voices have not been taken seriously by theologians, meaning that we know very little about the largest group of ordinary theologians in the world, and what God is revealing to them. If we want to discern and participate in the ongoing mission of Jesus, suited to the needs of the secular public square, then we need to learn from believers and unbelievers alike, about what God might be revealing to, and through, them. This will entail listening to unbelievers, seeking to discern clues for the influence of the Spirit of God on their lives, thus potentially providing indicators for how we might participate in the ongoing mission of Jesus to transform their lives.

One other matter is also vital to highlight. In my view the WIF provides opportunities for deeper holistic insights into the interior lives of persons and their communities. It will be important not only to understand what scripts people’s stories, but also to rescript the deeper interior motivations and convictions that shape their lives. This will not be something to force on the people that influencers seek to interact with; instead it will be vital to actively listen to people’s stories, and then participate in mutual conversations with them to bring about changes in their perspectives.


I recommend that:

1. those interested in having a conversation work together to practically envision how an OT/WIF approach could be used in a variety of fields of study, and real-life contexts.

2. a working party/think-tank could be formed to envision, develop and implement how ordinary theology might enhance the WIF, and the WIF ordinary theology.

3. that working party could also look to envision, develop and implement how innovations might be incorporated into training and educational programmes – to enhance their academic credibility, and rigor in the light of OT/WIF integration.


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About the author

Rev Dr Andrew R Hardy, Th.D, D.Th, SFHEA

Andrew Hardy is an ordained minister in the Fellowship of Churches of Christ and has fulfilled a missional ministry vocation in equipping Christian leaders in the context of Higher Education for the past 16 years. He is Director of Research for ForMission College, as well as Postgraduate Programme Leader, and programme Developer for Light College Collective. He is also a senior tutor at work with Missio Dei College and an adjunct Postgraduate tutor with Tabor College in Australia. He served as an adjunct Professor of Theology for CLS. He is also a consultant in Theological education and critical pedagogy. He is passionate about equipping God’s people for mission and currently works in ministry with three churches. His published works are used extensively in theological programmes in the UK, Europe, North America, and Australasia. He values connecting with and speaking at a variety of conferences.


Copyright 2022 Andy Hardy

[1] I also want to provide some pointers for how educational programmes based on WIF might be theologically enhanced.

[2] Latin phrase translated as ‘image of God’.

[3] The use of the WIF in a counselling context assumes that the WIF can be used for therapeutic change irrespective of conversion and repentance, with a greater focus on working with human spiritual needs for security, significance and self-worth. This highlights the adaption of the WIF depending on context and reflects the current teaching and course notes on the WIF.

[4] The WIF does not as such rely on sociology, but it does integrate insights from theological anthropology (cf. Ashley, 2013: Location 1018).

[5] Although it was not known as WIF then. It was still going through a process of more rigorous intellectual development.

[6] At the time of my counselling practice, mentioned above, I did not use concepts like ‘ordinary theology’, ‘scripting’ and ‘rescripting’ methods to describe my approach to counselling, or leadership. I, instead, used Gerkin’s model of the ‘living human document’ (1984), to enable clients to explore existing interpretations of their life stories, moving some of them on to discover healthier ways of living in the light of the biblical story. In my approach of the time, I also combined exploration, and understanding phases, of client’s presenting stories in the light of Hugh’s five areas.

[7] This would seem to be of primary importance if we wish to help people discern what God is calling them to become, so that they might participate in the ongoing mission of the Spirit of Jesus to reconcile people into the kingdom of God (cf. Hardy, 2016; Hardy and Yarnell 2015; Hardy and Foster, 2019).

[8] Exegesis is used in textual criticism, and Gerkin’s model, to read-out from the text’s/person’s words what it seems to mean to them from their perspective, rather than seeking to read into the text’s/person’s account what the exegete/counsellor wants them to mean.

[9] Group 3 was a third group identified in the research process. This group sought to bring a stronger sense of unity to groups 1 and 2 who were in some ways at odds with each other due to differences in their perspectives about what the church should focus on. For more in-depth discussion see on chapter 6 of Hardy’s book, An Ordinary Mission of God Theology: Challenging Missional Church Idealism, Providing Solution.

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