This unit will explore the theology and practice of social and community services as an expression of holistic Christian mission. Structural disadvantage and social issues will be examined, particularly as they relate to the delivery of contemporary social services in an Australian context. A community development framework will be applied and utilised to address complex social needs, ensuring theological, ethical and practical issues are considered.

Unit code: DM9193B

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Missiology

Proposing College: Eva Burrows College

Show when this unit is running

Learning outcomes


Analyse a theological basis for Christian engagement in social service provision


Articulate a broad understanding of structural disadvantage in a range of contemporary Australian social issues


Discuss some of the ethical concerns that are associated with the delivery of social and community services


Analyse ways in which a commitment to social justice can be practically demonstrated using a specific model


Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of community development principles in planning, managing and evaluating social and community services


Discuss the historical development of welfare services in Australia and the role played by church charities and Christian faith-based welfare agencies

Unit sequence

24 points post-graduate foundational in Field D, or equivalent


Lectures, tutorials, online videos, online meetings, class discussions, discussion boards

Indicative Bibliography

  • Booth, William. In Darkest England and the Way out. London: Charles Knight, 1970.
  • Borg, Marcus. The Heart of Christianity – Rediscovering a Life of Faith. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 2003.
  • Cleary, Ray. Reclaiming Welfare for mission:Choices for Churches. Canberra: Barton books, 2012.
  • Egan, Gerard. The Skilled Helper: a problem-management and opportunity development approach to helping. 10th edition. United States: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning, 2013.
  • Furness, Sheila & Philip Gilligan.* Religion, belief and social work: Making a difference*. Bristol: The Policy Press, 2010.
  • Gallet, Wilma. Christian mission or an unholy alliance?: The changing role of church-related organisations in welfare-to-work service delivery. Melbourne: University of Melbourne, 2016.
  • Ife, Jim. Community development in an uncertain world: vision, analysis and practice. 2nd edition. United Kingdom: Cambridge University press, 2016.
  • Kenny, Susan. Developing communities for the future: community development in Australia. 5th edition. Australia, South Melbourne: Nelson Thomson Learning, 2016.
  • Lindsay, Rae. Recognising Spirituality – The Interface Between Faith and Social Work. Crawley: University of Western Australia Press, 2002.
  • Murphy, John. et al. Half a Citizen: Life on Welfare in Australia. Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2011.
  • Murphy, John. A decent provision: Australian Welfare Policy, 1870-1949. England: Ashgate publishing, 2016.
  • Pixley, George V. & Clodovis Boff. The Bible, the Church, and the Poor. Great Britain: Burns and Oates, 1989.
  • Sobrino, Jon. The True Church and the Poor. Eugene: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1985.
  • Waldron, John D (ed). Creed and Deed. Canada: The Salvation Army, 1986.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

4,500 word essay

4500 60.0
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper

2,500 word tutorial paper

2500 40.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 25 Jul, 2019

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:50 +1000