Advanced Research in Practical Theology

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The past twenty years has witnessed a significant increase in academic research in the field of Practical Theology.   Such literature is a significant indicator of the emerging intellectual and spiritual search to find foundational understandings that will support the advancement of the mission of the church in the world.  Of course, this is not a new interest – the church has always deliberately reflected on its mission and practices.  However, the widely felt need for expanding the nucleus of academic literature to support the theoretical interests of practical theology represent a new phase of this inquiry.  This course is a call for constructive imagination and humility in approaching the great questions that emerge from Edward Farley calls, “the ecclesial existence and the constitutive activities” of the church in the world.  The structure of the course seeks to draw widely from various thinkers who have helped to shape current perspectives of Practical Theology through their scholarly contributions.   Participants in this course will be invited to embrace the intriguing challenge of developing informed and carefully researched contributions of their own, regardless of the complexity of such a task. 


  • To orient participants to the theoretical understanding of the field of practical theology.
  • To explore the current literature that supports academic research in the field of practical theology.
  • To provide the foundational insight into the nature and scope of practice-led research.


  • To become cognizant of the personal trajectory of one’s own aspirations to contribute to the on-going mission of the church in the world.
  • To inspire a personal sense of mission and calling to the work of academic practical theology.
  • To discern the ways in which one is being led to support the intellectual and theoretical research needs of the contemporary church.


  • To evaluate some of the foundational literature in the field of practical theology in order to develop working assumptions regarding practice-led research in this field of study.
  • To distinguish the elements of contemporary practical theology in such a way as to locate oneself in the field and to anticipate possible paths for on-going research in this area of study.
  • To demonstrate orientation to the principles of practice-led research required for one’s own chosen focus area within the wider field of practical theology.
  • To research and join an academic society related to one’s chosen area of focus in practical theology with the aim of participation over the next several years.