Advanced Research In Practical Theology W18

MS 5YC5/6CY6

Winter 2018

The past twenty years has witnessed a significant increase in academic research in the field of Practical Theology. The growth of this literature is a significant indicator of the emerging intellectual 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 its practices. However, the widely-felt need for expanding the nucleus of academic literature to support the theoretical interests of practical theology represent a new development in the field. 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 course seeks to draw widely from various thinkers who have helped to shape the current [often contested] direction of Practical Theology. 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 identify and engage with key theorists in the field of practical theology.
  • To interpret current literature that supports academic research in the field of practical theology and practice-led research.



  • To discern the personal trajectory of one’s own work and ongoing contribution to research concerning the mission of the church in the world.



  • 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 key 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 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.