What does the church mean when it speaks of ‘pastoral’ care, what does it look like in practice, and how does it connect with a living Christian Faith? This unit offers a robust theological foundation for the practice of pastoral care. Drawing on the core theological resources of the Christian tradition it disrupts common understandings of pastoral care both within and beyond the church, clearing the ground for a fresh approach to a theologically informed pastoral ministry. Various contemporary issues and diverse life experiences provide a stimulating context for this pursuit.

Unit code: DP8500P

Unit status: Approved (Minor revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit discipline: Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Demonstrate an understanding of the biblical and theological foundations of pastoral care.


Articulate and critique the integrative connections between theology and pastoral practice


Integrate theology and skills in their own pastoral practice


Engage with challenging questions raised in contemporary pastoral ministry in such a way that demonstrates an integration of theology and pastoral practice

Unit sequence

At least 48 points of Foundational Study


Interactive engagement among class participants between contextual pastoral experience and the foundations of Christian theology and Biblical Studies

Indicative Bibliography

  • Burns, S. Pastoral Theology for Public Ministry. New York: Church Publishing, 2015
  • Van Deusen Hunsinger. D. Pray Without Ceasing: Revitalizing Pastoral Care. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006.
  • Doehring, C. The Practice of Pastoral Care: a Postmodern Approach. Rev. ed.. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press 2015.
  • Dykstra, R. Images of Pastoral Care. St Louis, US: Chalice Press 2005
  • Lartey, E. Pastoral Theology in an Intercultural World. Rev. ed. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2013.
  • Ramsey, N., ed. Pastoral Care and Counseling: Redefining the Paradigms. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2005.
  • Pembroke, N. Renewing Pastoral Practice: Trinitarian Perspectives on Pastoral Care and Counselling. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006
  • Swinton, J. Raging with Compassion: Pastoral Responses to the problem of evil. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans 2007.
  • Thornton, S. Broken Yet beloved: A Pastoral Theology of the Cross. St Louis: Chalice Press 2005
  • Woodward, J. and S. Pattison. The Blackwell Reader in Pastoral and Practical Theology. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Written Reflective Journal 2000 words

Each week, the student will keep a journal which addresses the following two questions: What have I learned in relation to ‘my theology of pastoral care’? How will this impact on my pastoral practice?

2000 30.0

Paper 4000 words

In this assessment, you are invited to unpack, analyse and critique the elements of theology and practice in pastoral ministry around a particular context or situation or theme, indicating how you might integrate your own theology with your pastoral practice. The main criteria will be that it is a project in which you can engage seriously with issues of pastoral care and theology, and one about which there is a good measure of passion and urgency.

4000 70.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 23 Jul, 2021

Unit record last updated: 2021-07-23 16:55:45 +1000