I think that for many believers God only seems real when they are engaged in explicitly Christian pursuits (e.g., Bible study, devotions, worship, evangelism, etc.). The project Banks contends for is remedial. He is right to stress the necessity of vocation-specific discipleship. Each of us is called to follow Jesus in the midst of specific regularities of life and we need to help each other think about and live out what faithfulness looks like in those contexts.
For years I've had one foot in the world of academic theology and the other in pastoral ministry. Each has elements that delight and frustrate me. I've sat in lectures wondering what relevance the subject matter at hand had for people in my church and how I would begin to convey its importance and application to them. Banks, a theologian himself, says that he has found the work of systematic theologians to be as much frustrating as helpful because: "Once it ranges beyond central doctrinal concerns which, though they could be, are not frequently linked to everyday issues, it tends to focus on philosophical or broader social or cultural issues." Banks properly notes that such theorizing is often necessary and helpful for addressing everyday but laments that such connections are infrequently made.
If theological education and literature can err on the side of being too abstract and conceptual, pastoral and church ministry can make the opposite error of focusing so much on immediate practicality that critical reflection is considered a waste of time that stands in the way of the urgent work of the kingdom.
I would very much like to invest my life in being a small bridge between these two subcultures in the community of faith so I was encouraged and challenged by Banks's call for what he calls "apostolic" theologians:
We need "apostolic" theologians who will leave their desk and lectern for a more down-to-earth kind of life. While there are few theologians who do not practice what they preach in some measure, there are very few who are engaged in similar work, say, to someone like Paul. That is, in apologetic and evangelistic work, in church-planting and pastoring, in pioneering new models of education and training. The apostolic theologian, of which Paul was the first great exponent, places mission first and largely allows theological reflection to be generated by that. Learning goes on as people associate with him or her in that activity-observing, questioning, and imitating. There is no reason why many Christians cannot be involved with such a person and why many of their concerns cannot be dealt with in this setting. The trouble is that taking up the "apostolic" theological life entails a large drop in status and high degree of risk.