Foundations for Effective Ministry 3a

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This course focuses on core competencies for ministry in the areas of pastoral care, spiritual formation, ministry practice, and professional ethics.  The design of the course is modular in format and linked to the practice of ministry competencies in the areas of focus.  Participants in this course will deepen their knowledge of authentic Christian ministry in all of its complexity.  The course is offered alternately with Foundations for Effective Ministry 2 each year in the Master of Divinity program.  Topics covered in the Fall Term include:  ministry competency, models of pastoral care, grief and loss, trauma, end of life care, spirituality for ministry and death/dying and the Christian funeral. Participants are expected to integrate the course requirements with field placement and ministry activity throughout the year and to think theologically about the core competencies associated with these modules.


  • To discern fundamental approaches to the spiritual task of Christian ministry.
  • To understand the range and scope of key models of pastoral care.
  • To understand illness and suffering in bio-psycho-social-spiritual and theological perspective and how these are experienced by the individual, their family and their community.


  • To reorient the ministering person to the God of compassion and to experience God’s grace.
  • To reflect on their own personal experiences of pastoral care and their theological journey with a view to identifying two models they identify with.
  • To recall personal experiences of illness, suffering and/or loss and to reflect on their experiences of those who ministered to them and any theological themes that were experienced as helpful. 


  • To identify personal values, preferred spiritual style, and aspects for spiritual growth.
  • To articulate a personal “philosophy” of pastoral ministry. 
  • To formulate a paradigm for sustained pastoral engagement in the suffering of others, and to practice intervention strategies with those who live with illness, disability, and loss.