This unit offers an introduction to spiritual pastoral care and counselling in the context of Christian congregations and communities, geared to the perspective of the pastor and pastoral carers, but also incorporating the care vocations of all community members . It covers the classic tradition of Christian pastoral care, and its development, together with an overview of counselling theories and models. It includes an introduction to people-helping skills and attitudes, aiming to develop spiritually mature, self-aware and sensitive pastoral carers, who are able to respond appropriately to diversity of identities and needs within Christian congregations and communities.

Unit code: DP2002L

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies

Proposing College: Australian Lutheran College

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Learning outcomes


Articulate the meaning of pastoral care and counselling in the context of the Christian congregation and community


Reflect on and evaluate pastoral care and counselling literature from both the theological and practical perspectives.


Apply, through counselling role-play, people-helping abilities and skills which are foundational to effective pastoral care and counselling


Demonstrate a mature appreciation of the need for self-awareness and sensitivity in working with diverse persons in Christian community

Unit sequence

Course relationship: A level 2 unit in undergraduate theology and ministry courses

Prerequisites: At least 18 points in the discipline of Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies (may be taken concurrently)


Tutorial style sessions, assigned readings, seminars, class exercises and counselling role play.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Benner, David G. 2003. Strategic pastoral counselling: a short-term structured model. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
  • Clebsch, William A., and Charles R. Jaekle. 1983. Pastoral care in historical perspective. New York: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Geldard, David, and Kathryn Geldard. 2009. Basic personal counselling: a training manual for counsellors. 6th ed. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Education Australia.
  • Haugk, Kenneth C. 1984. Christian caregiving: a way of life. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg.
  • Marrs, Rick. 2020. Making Christian Counselling More Christ-Centred, St Louis MS: CPH
  • Luther: letters of spiritual counsel. 1955. Vol. 18 of The Library of Christian Classics. Theodore G. Tappert, ed. London: SCM.
  • Lutheran Church of Australia. Commission on Worship. 1998. Rites and resources for pastoral care. Edited by David A. Schubert. Adelaide, SA: Openbook.
  • Nelson-Jones, Richard. 2012. Basic counselling skills: a helper’s manual. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Oden, Thomas C. 1987-1994. Classical pastoral care. Vol. 1–4. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
  • Ross, Alistair. 2003. Counselling skills for church and faith community workers. Philadelphia, PA: Open University Press.
  • Savage, John. 1996. Listening and caring skills: a guide for groups and leaders. Nashville, TN: Abingdon.
  • Stone, Howard W. 2009. Theological context for pastoral caregiving: word in deed. New York: Routledge.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Critical Review

Critical Review (Book response) 1350 words

1350 30.0

Report 1350 words (equivalent)

1350 30.0
role play

Engage in structured counselling role play

500 10.0
Seminar or Tutorial

Case study from students' congregational fieldwork

1300 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 24 Aug, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-08-24 15:27:42 +1000