People can do this to some extent by theoretical study but nothing is as good as personal interaction as we develop our spiritual disciplines and habits. Ideally, students will train on campus in a theological college, but our new Union scheme will provide learning communities in which this formation can take place.
However, the pastoral relationship is not simply that of a friend and well-wisher though it includes them but of a spiritual carer. That means we have to decide what the qualities are of such a relationship. There is biblical warrant for such a parental emphasis, but the Protestant preference is for regarding the pastor as an under-shepherd of Jesus Christ. In addition to the generic role of a pastoral leader, there are special areas of pastoral care which require thought. We need some understanding of strategies for each age and social group in church life, from infancy to the elderly and dying.
In addition, we must look at issues such as leading people to faith, discipling new converts, baptism classes and wedding preparation.
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Finally, there are special pastoral needs which arise from out-of-the-ordinary pastoral situations, such as caring for those who are physically challenged, or who have mental health issues, or who struggle with their sexual orientation. Pastoral theology is concerned with exploring what is exceptional as well as normal in the lives of church members. A third general area for study is church disciplinary procedures. A broad issue that affects more and more churches today is who should be allowed to marry in the church, and whether the church should recognise every marriage the state does?
With the legal recognition of same-sex marriage what will churches do if they are asked to accept such a marriage, for example? Then we also have to consider a painful and hopefully rare necessity in church life, to exercise church discipline. In all this, the demands on the pastor for sustaining an effective and well-ordered ministry are addressed, such as issues of time management, administration, and maintaining emotional and spiritual stability.
In fact, studies of church life have shown that one person can develop meaningful basic relationships with no more than around people. In our training we do not assume one model of church leadership so that what is studied can be applied to a variety of styles and structures. Pastoral theology overlaps with systematic theology in a shared concern for ecclesiology. In other words, in pastoral theology we need to understand what set of beliefs is held by a church on which its life and worship are organised: determining, for example, how decisions are made, what place a national body has in local church life, what ordination means for a minister or elder, whether indeed a church should have a team of elders or deacons, or both.
In addition, there are practical issues which arise from our conception of liturgy, which means the organisation, content and style of worship.
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How do we observe communion and baptism? There are also more immediately practical issues such as how fittingly to conduct a wedding or funeral or other public service outside the normal activities of church worship.
The study of pastoral theology is, therefore, both theological and practical and both about principles and people. Indeed, we need to be clear about our convictions. For example, a church is being plain foolish to ask someone to lead it without knowing what that person believes, or does so knowing that he has widely divergent views from its own.
So is it for someone to take up leadership under those circumstances, unless a clear decision, consistent with its trust deeds, has been reached by the church to make changes. With regard to preaching, it is important to study from Scriptural principle and example the nature and purpose of preaching and teaching. Different types of preaching are considered, such as expository and thematic sermons, and the pastoral dimension of a preaching ministry.
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There are different forms of communication to be considered, such as small groups or one-to-one discipling, as well as congregation-based preaching. In addition, we consider the importance of evangelistic preaching and how it should be best done. Pastoral theology is a great subject with which to engage for its biblical focus, theological importance, and practical relevance to the work of the ministry.
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The topics explored include: qualitative research and ethnography, advances in neuroscience, care across pluralities and intersections in religion and spiritualties, the influence of neoliberal economics in socio-economic vulnerabilities, postcolonial theory and its implications, the intersections of race and religion in caring for black women, and the usefulness of intersectionality for pastoral practice.
Each of the essays offers a richly illustrated review of a practice of pastoral care relationally and in the public domain. The contributions to this volume engage seven critical directions emerging in the literature of pastoral theology in the United States and internationally among pastoral and practical theologians. While coverage of these topics does not exhaust important points of activity in the field, it does represent especially promising resources for theory and practice. This important work:.
Filled with case illustrations that make chapters pedagogically useful, Pastoral Theology and Care is essential reading for faculty, seminarians and students in advanced degree programs, and pastors. Table of contents List of Contributors ix. Amugi Lartey.
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