Foundations of Pastoral Care


One semester, 4 credit points
16 credit points of Elective foundational level units. Best taken after some Bible/Theology in third or fourth year of course.
Semester 2, 2019
Richard Trist

It’s so easy for pastors to spend their time putting out ‘fires’ which have cropped up among the people under their care while neglecting other important aspects of their role. This unit is about learning to be proactive rather than reactive in pastoral care, and how to set up churches so that care occurs naturally in groups and not just through the lead pastor.

As part of the unit, an experienced local pastor will take the students through a theology of pastoral care before looking at how church structures and training can help develop a church’s care culture. Throughout the Semester students also have the opportunity to learn how to pastor people through different stages of life including marriage, divorce, and illness.

This unit also gives students the opportunity to explore areas of interest, ranging from the pastoral care model of the puritans, to pastoral care in a particular book of the Bible.

Given that ministry can be so word-focused, this unit ensures students focus on pastoring as well as they preach, on loving while exhorting. Ultimately, the aim is for this unit to start developing in them the heart of a pastor.


Section A: Biblical and Theological Perspectives (40%)

1. Biblical and theological perspectives on the nature of persons and groups; the human predicament; salvation and wholeness.
2. Biblical patterns and models of pastoral care, including the roles of the people of God as a caring community.
3. The maturity theme, individual and corporate, within the New Testament; the relationships between pastor-teacher functions and pastoral care functions; proactive and reactive styles.
4. An overview of the history of pastoral care; the integration of insights from the social sciences.

Section B: Pastoral Care in the Stages of Life (60%)

5. The distinction between pastoral care and pastoral counselling; the relationship between pastoral care and the regular life of the church, including Christian education and liturgy.
6. Caring for the carers; supervision; support groups; the role of the church and church leadership.
7. Pastoral care in major life-stages and transition; common crises of life in childhood, youth, early adulthood, middle age, old age, with attention to Christian initiation and nurture.
8. Pastoral care of families and single people; preparation for marriage; vocational guidance.
9. An introduction to cross-cultural factors in pastoral care; family patterns in various cultures and sub-cultures.


An essay plus seminar paper


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