Pastoral Theology & Care

IST 2012 Introduction to Pastoral Theology and Care (Spring Quarter 2019, hybrid)

Course Description

This course is an invitation to examine your sense of self and vocational identity in relation to your personal and collective experiences and locations. The course offers a variety of theological and psychological perspectives and tools to help you develop confidence in responding to various circumstances of pastoral care and counseling in the context of parish ministry and other institutional settings.

Learning Goals

As a result of having taken this course, you will:

  1. Articulate a working understanding of the nature and tasks of pastoral theology and care.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to listen empathically to those in need of pastoral/spiritual care and respond to their concrete situations in a contextually sensitive way.
  3. Demonstrate awareness of your own gifts, strengths, and growing edges for pastoral ministry.
  4. Locate your own particular scholarly and practical interests within the field of pastoral theology and care.

Degree Learning Goal

Theology and Religious Practices (PR): engage in analysis of contemporary religious traditions and institutions in order to assess, design, and perform meaningful leadership practices with sensitivity to contextual realities and relationships ( Master’s Student Handbook , 2016-2017, p. 5).


Required books:

Doehring, C. (2015). The Practice of Pastoral Care: A Postmodern Approach. Revised and expanded edition. Louisville: Westminster John Knox.

Wolterstorff, N. (1987) . Lament for a Son. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans.

Additional required readings

(available as pdf's on Canvas* or as e-books through Primo**):

Arjona, R. (2018). “You Are My Friends: Pastoral Care with Young Mexican Men.” Pastoral Psychology, 67 , 743–757. *

Capps, D. (2001). “Counseling in the Congregational Context.” In Living Stories: Pastoral Counseling in Congregational Context, pp. 1-22. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press. *

Dykstra, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). Images of Pastoral Care: Classic Readings. St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press. **

Gini, A. (2003). “Leisure and Culture: The Importance of Being Lazy” and “Sabbath as    Metaphor.” In The Importance of Being Lazy: In Praise of Play, Leisure, and Vacations, pp. 27-42, 143-162. New York: Routledge. *

Greenspan, M. (1996). “Out of Bounds.” In Boundary Wars: Intimacy and Distance in Healing Relationships , pp. 129-136. Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press. *

Hunsinger, D. V. D. (2015). “Bearing the Unbearable: Trauma, Gospel, and Pastoral Care” and “Keeping an Open Heart in Troubled Times: Self-Empathy as a Christian Spiritual Practice.” In Bearing the Unbearable: Trauma, Gospel, and Pastoral Care , pp. 1-21, 70–82. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans. **

Kort, J. (2018). “Trauma From Growing Up LGBTQ.” In LGBTQ Clients in Therapy: Clinical Issues and Treatment Strategies , pp. 75-102. New York: W. W. Norton. *

Kundtz, D. J., and Schlager, B. S. (2019). “The Pastoral Care Relationship.” In Ministry Among God’s Queer Folk: LGTBQ Pastoral Care , 2 nd ed., pp. 13-30. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock. **

LaMothe, R. (2018). “Giving Counsel: Donald Capps’ Contributions to Pastoral Counseling.” Journal of Religion and Health, 57 , 509-522.

Prinz, J. D. E. (2014). “ Who Am I? Nepantla, Mestizo, and Amphibolous: Care Across Cultures.” In The Bloomsbury Guide to Pastoral Care , pp. 172-185. London: Bloomsbury. **

Sanders, C. J. (2017). “A Brief Guide to Pastoral and Mentoring Relationships with LGBTQIA Youth.” In A Brief Guide to Ministry with LGBTQIA Youth , pp. 83-92. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox. **

Tillich, P. (1984). “The Theology of Pastoral Care.” In The Meaning of Health: Essays in  Existentialism, Psychoanalysis, and Religion , pp. 125-130. Chicago: Exploration. *

Waters, S. (2019). “Addiction, Attachment, and Trauma.” In Addiction and Pastoral Care, pp. 57-82. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans. **

Degree Learning Goals: Please take some time to look over the Professional Degree Learning Goals (MDiv, MASC, MAPSC) and the Academic Degree Learning Goals (MTS, MA).

Incompletes:  If incompletes are allowed in this course, see the Master's Student Handbook for Policies and Procedures.

Pass/Fail:  Masters students wishing to take the class pass/fail should discuss this with the instructor by the second class session.

Academic Integrity and Community Covenant:  All students are expected to abide by Iliff’s statement on Academic Integrity, as published in the Masters Student Handbook, or the Joint PhD Statement on Academic Honesty, as published in the Joint PhD Student Handbook, as appropriate.  All participants in this class are expected to be familiar with Iliff’s Community Covenant.

Core ValuesAs a community, Iliff strives to live by this set of Core Values.

Accommodations:  Iliff engages in a collaborative effort with students with disabilities to reasonably accommodate student needs.   Students are encouraged to contact their assigned advisor to initiate the process of requesting accommodations.  The advising center can be contacted at or by phone at 303-765-1146. 

Writing Lab:  Grammar and organization are important for all written assignments.  Additional help is available from the Iliff Writing Lab, which is available for students of any level who need help beginning an assignment, organizing thoughts, or reviewing a final draft. 

Inclusive Language:  It is expected that all course participants will use inclusive language in speaking and writing, and will use terms that do not create barriers to classroom community. 

Syllabus (Word document) Updated 3/27/19

Mar 27, 2019WedDiscussion Week 1: How Would You Know?due by 05:59AM
Apr 03, 2019WedDiscussion Week 2: Interculturality and Pastoral Caredue by 05:59AM
Apr 10, 2019WedDiscussion Week 3: Embodied Listeningdue by 05:59AM
Apr 17, 2019WedDiscussion Week 4: The Caregiver as Interpreter of Storiesdue by 05:59AM
Apr 25, 2019ThuParticipation (Gathering Days)due by 05:59AM
May 01, 2019WedDiscussion Week 6: The Distinctiveness of Pastoral/Spiritual Caredue by 05:59AM
May 08, 2019WedDiscussion Week 7: Grief and Loss (Post by Tuesday; reply by Thursday)due by 05:59AM
May 15, 2019WedDiscussion Week 8: Trauma and Pastoral Caredue by 05:59AM
May 22, 2019WedDiscussion Week 9: Insights, Testimonies, and Resources for the Care of LGBTQ+ Individualsdue by 05:59AM
May 23, 2019ThuRole Playdue by 05:59AM
May 29, 2019WedDiscussion Week 6: Panel on Boundaries and Intimacy in Caregiving Relationshipsdue by 05:59AM
May 29, 2019WedDiscussion Week 10: Self-Empathy and Sabbathdue by 05:59AM
Jun 04, 2019TueIntegrative Personal Reflection Paper (Final Paper)due by 05:59AM
Jul 01, 2019MonFinal Paperdue by 05:59AM