Pastoral Care

It’s so easy for pastors to spend their time putting out ‘fires’ that have cropped up among the people under their care while neglecting other important aspects of their role. This subject 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 subject, an experienced local pastor will take the students through 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.

You will also have 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 subject ensures students focus on pastoring as well as they preach, on loving while exhorting. Ultimately, the aim is for this subject to start developing in them the heart of a pastor.

In 2024 Ridley is partnering with Melbourne School of Theology (MST) to co-deliver this unit which will be hosted at MST’s Wantirna campus and taught by Dr Tom Kimber.

Please visit the timetable by clicking here for current information on subject availability.

Subject Details

Mode Online
Workload One semester, 12 credit points One semester, 12 credit points
Status Elective Elective
Subject code PC002 PC002
Prerequisites 48 credit points of core foundational subjects 48 credit points of core foundational subjects
Teacher Richard Trist Tom Kimber

Unit Content
Section A: Biblical and Theological Perspectives

  • Biblical and theological perspectives on the nature of persons and groups; the human predicament; salvation and wholeness
  • Biblical patterns and models of pastoral care, including the roles of the people of God as a caring community
  • The maturity theme, individual and corporate, within the New Testament; the relationships between pastor-teacher functions and pastoral care functions; proactive and reactive styles
  • 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

  • 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
  • Caring for the carers; supervision; support groups; the role of the church and church leadership
  • 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
  • Pastoral care of families and single people; preparation for marriage; vocational guidance
  • An introduction to cross-cultural factors in pastoral care; family patterns in various cultures and sub-cultures

Study Expectations
In this subject, you can expect to be guided through a variety of weekly learning activities which are designed to develop your understanding of and skills in the themes and passages covered in the syllabus. For online students, these usually include watching videos, reading, completing set learning tasks and contributing to online seminars and interacting with your peers. Students should allow 10 hours of study time per week for this advanced subject.


We respectfully acknowledge the Wurundjeri People, who are the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Ridley College campus is built.
Ridley College is an affiliated college with the Australian College of Theology, CRICOS Provider Code 02650E.
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