Pastoral Theory and Practice

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
COURSE UNIT 163 - 8163


The unit is introduced from a basis of pastoral theology and a biblical framework for pastoral work in the local church.  The underlying relationship between pastoral care and mission features.  Examples of historical patterns of pastoral practice are considered and appraised. The post-modern setting of pastoral care is examined, in particular the challenge for the church to be a pastoral and caring community, cell structure, and the importance of leadership quality and training.  Questions about the nature and purpose of the pastoral task are raised, together with the relationship of pastoral care to public teaching, the sacraments, worship and the pastoral visit.  Methods of organising and administering pastoral work are explored and consideration given to methods of training pastoral workers.  There is opportunity to apply the teaching to the students’ church ministry/community through reflection on their own current practice and the observation of others.


To introduce the discipline of pastoral theology and practice, by reflecting on the work of the local church pastor or pastoral worker through biblical, historical and theological frameworks and to enable students to apply their learning in the local church or community context.


Category of outcome

By the end of this unit students should be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

·         Demonstrate the relationship of pastoral theology to the pastoral task

·         Demonstrate knowledge of past and present models of pastoral care and assess their relevance and appropriateness for their context(s)

Intellectual skills

·         Describe the dimensions of pastoral theology today

·         Evaluate the importance of the key functions of pastoral leadership

Practical and Transferable skills; Personal qualities

·         Organise pastoral care in the context of a local church

·         Employ basic pastoral skills in the context of Christian ministry

·         (163 only) cooperate effectively in a group


Assessment task


Weighting within unit






Notional 500 words






·         163:



·         8163:

Examination of case studies on the concepts and theories presented

Examination of case studies on the concepts and theories presented



2000 words

2000 words





·         163:

·         8163:

A theological reflection

A theological reflection

and a learning journal*


* Distance learning students are required to pass this element. So long as this element has been passed, they will be eligible for compensation if the overall unit mark is within the compensation zone (30-39%), and the compensatable credit allowance as set out in the Degree Regulations has not been exceeded.




Available on which programme(s)?

BA in Theology


1.    Pastoral theology and the pastoral task

2.    Biblical sources for pastoral theology

3.    Historical models of pastoral care

4.    Pastoral care as the body of Christ

5.    Boundaries and Power – The limits of pastoral care

6.    Worship as a pastoral event

7.    Communion as a pastoral event

8.    Preaching as pastoral encounter

9.    The pastoral visit

10.  The art of pastoral conversation

11.  Pastoral oversight, (Integrity and good practice in pastoral care)

Teaching method

163: Interactive lectures and group exercises

8163: Distance learning

Additional eLearning content

Unit materials are available at Spurgeon’s Online to support student learning


Written feedback within 15 working days from submission

Date of approval (for office use)


Information updated on

December 2015

Indicative reading

Carson, D.A., Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church (Grand Rapids:

Zondervan, 2005)

Donahue, B., Leading Life-Changing Small Groups (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002)

Goodliff, Paul, Care in a Confused Climate (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1998)

Litchfield, K., Tend my Flock (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2006)

Oden, Thomas, Pastoral Theology: Essentials of Ministry (San Francisco: Harper San

Francisco, 1983)

Percy, M., Shaping the Church: The promise of implicit theology (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010)

Pickard, Stephen, Theological Foundations for Collaborative Ministry (Farnham: Ashgate,


Richter, P., and L. Francis, Gone for Good?: Church leaving and returning in the twenty-

first century (Peterborough: Epworth, 2007)

Tidball, Derek, Skilful Shepherds. Explorations in pastoral theology (Leicester: IVP, 1986;

Leicester: Apollos, 1997)

Tidball, Derek, Ministry by the Book (Leicester: Apollos, 2008) 

Whipp, Margaret, SCM Study Guide to Pastoral Theology (London: SCM press, 2013)

Willimon, William H., Pastor: The Theology and Practice of Ordained Ministry (Nashville:

Abingdon Press, 2002)

Back to courses >

Pastoral Theory and Practice

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
Course Unit 163 - 8163





Hours of Learning:



Rev. Dotha N. Blackwood

Know where you want to go? Use these quick links below to get you there.

Undergraduate Postgraduate Research Mission & Ministry Online Learning Counselling