DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Encounter – Formation – Expression

Written by: on June 11, 2019

In a sermon a few years ago, Mike Ashcraft, Pastor of Port City Community Church preached a sermon on the concept of Encounter –> Formation –> Expression.[1] Essentially, the concept is that as we go about our day to day lives, we are encountering new things all the time. These encounters lead to a space of formation where our hearts our being changed. The expression is how we live differently because of what we encounter and how it shapes us. On the surface, it seems an easy enough concept to understand, but when you recognize that we are always at all stages of this process, it becomes quite deep and gives a robust framework for understanding the world.


We’ve come to adopt this lens of Encounter –> Formation –> Expression in our work mobilizing and educating college-aged students to part in the work God is doing around the world. Our hope is that by pushing them out of their comfort zones, we’re creating spaces to encounter God, oneself, community, and nature in new ways, which lead to a formation of the heart, and and in the end, we have the expectation that students will live differently. In essence, we’re seeking after what some might call a lived knowledge[2] of the gospel and ones own self.


In a collection of writings surrounding the work of Martyn Percy, Daniel Warnke drills down on Percy’s understanding of vocational ministry as it relates to pedagogical and andragogical learning.[3] Martyn Percy, like his wife Emma Percy, write frequently about the occupation and life of being a priest, and try and give frameworks to define a vocation that can be hard to articulate.[4] In the end, Percy believes that a good priest is marked by ones own formation: “In other words, who you are is as important as what you know or are capable of doing.”[5] Percy goes on to talk deeply about formation as a process and how a vocation of ministry is much more than a career choice, but is instead part of a much bigger process of sacred callings.[6]


Percy continually reminds us in his writings to look for the deeper learning, which ultimately, is rooted in the personhood of Christ.[7] At his core, Percy is a practical theologian, which calls us to the deep work of encountering new things. After all, practical theology is the idea that all theological truths can be applied to every day life.[8] All of these encounters are causing us to move beyond just encountering God, but challenging us to the work of participation in the Kingdom, which comes through a process of formation. All this leads to a pairing of a theoretical and lived out dimension of one’s faith – or an expression of faith in new ways.


[1] “Lean In: Pt 1.,” Messages, Port City Community Church, last modified October 30, 2016,

[2] Daniel Warnke, “Practically Priests: Privileging the Lived in Ministerial Training,” in Reasonable Radical?: Reading the Writings of Martyn Percy edited by Ian S. Markham and Joshua Daniel, Eugene, OR.: Pickwick Publications, 2018. Loc 4922

[3] Ibid., Loc 4724

[4] Emma Percy, What Clergy Do: Especially When it Looks Like Nothing (SPCK Publishing: London, UK, 2014.

[5] Ibid., Loc 4789

[6] Ibid., Loc 4810

[7] Daniel Warnke, “Practically Priests: Privileging the Lived in Ministerial Traning,” in Reasonable Radical?: Reading the Writings of Martyn Percy edited by Ian S. Markham and Joshua Daniel, Eugene, OR.: Pickwick Publications, 2018. Loc 5036

[8]“Writing for Practical Theology,” Center for Theological Writing, Westminster Theological Seminary, accessed on June 10, 2019,


About the Author


Karen Rouggly

Karen Rouggly is the Director for Mobilization in the Center for Student Action at Azusa Pacific University. She develops transformational experiences for students serving locally, nationally, and internationally. She completed an MA in Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary and is passionate about community development, transformational service and helping students understand vocation and service. Karen is also an active member at the Vineyard Church Glendora where she is a small group leader and serves on the teaching team. She is also a mom to two sweet boys, wife to an amazing guy, and loves being a friend to many.

One response to “Encounter – Formation – Expression”

  1. mm Harry Fritzenschaft says:

    Great application of Percy’s work to both practical theology and spiritual formation. I must say, I have never thought of the two tied together that way! Thanks again for your perspective and your argument.

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