Saint John the Evangelist Seminary

A Commitment of the Evangelical Catholic Church for Academic Formation

Est. 2006
















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Saint John the Evangelist Seminary

PS 500: Pastoral Theology (2 Credit Hours)
Course Syllabus

Bishop James Wilkowski   



Ministry is built upon sound biblical, theological and cultural foundations.  Each generation of the church must understand and build on these foundations, as well as discover relevant contemporary innovations and applications.  This course intends to help you integrate an understanding of the Word and the world with the development of a personal philosophy of ministry.


  • Identify theological foundations upon which you will build and evaluate your ministry.

  • Know the nature and mission of the church, being able to implement a biblically-based philosophy of ministry in various contexts and cultures.

  • Develop a personal philosophy of ministry which is grounded in sound theology and can be tested in the practice of ministry.

  • Identify and evaluate a variety of approaches to ministry.

  • Evaluate your current readiness for ministry, identify areas for growth, and create a strategy for achieving that growth.



Andrew Purves, Pastoral Theology in the Classical Tradition.  Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001.  ISBN: 0-664-22241-2. MSRP: $20.00.

     Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch, The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21    Century Church.  Baker Books, 2004.  ISBN-13: 978-0801046308. MSRP: $19.99.



1.     Ministry Interview.  Interview a person who is currently in, or has been in a ministry similar to the one you think God is calling you into.   Write a 2-3 (double-spaced) page paper summarizing the lessons for ministry you found in the interview.   Some of the questions you might ask include:

o        Do you have a ‘theology of ministry’?  What are the central elements of that theology?

o        Do you feel that God called you to vocational ministry? In what ways do you feel it differed from calls given to those not in a vocational ministry?

o        What do you see as the key requirements for ministry?

o        Do you face resistance in ministry?  How do you respond or deal with that resistance?  What do you see as the main rewards and main struggles in ministry?

o        How do you measure success in ministry?

o        What are the key lessons regarding ministry which God has taught you?

o        What advice do you have for someone anticipating entering ministry?



2.     Ministry Readiness paper.  Based on the lessons you’ve learned about ministry, evaluate your current readiness for ministry.  In a 3-4 (double-spaced) page paper, identify your key strengths and potential weaknesses, and describe any areas in which you need to grow in order to minister more effectively.  Then create a strategy for achieving that growth, listing specific action steps that will help you in that process. 



3.     Philosophy of Ministry paper. 

Complete a paper (8-10 pages, double-spaced) that presents your personal philosophy of ministry.  This should be a paper you could give to a hiring board from a church or other ministry, to explain your basic approach to ministry.  It should address the theological basis for your ministry approach, as well as the main themes covered in the course.




Order of Study and Readings:




1.    Theology: The Foundation of Ministry

What do you think are you Foundations of Ministry?  Paper due.

2.    The Trinitarian Center of Ministry

Read: Purves, Pastoral Theology in the Classical Tradition, “Introduction,” (pages 1-8) and chapter 1 (pages 9-32)



Read: Purves, chapter 2 (pages 33-54)


3.    The Identity of Minister

Read: Purves, chapter 3 (pages 55-75)


4.    The Nature of Ministry

Read: Purves, chapter 4 (pages 76-94)


5.    The Mission of Ministry

Read: Purves, chapter 5 (pages 95-114) and Conclusion (pages 115-121)


6.    The Context of Ministry

Read: Frost & Hirsch, The Shaping of Things to Come, Part 1: “The Shape We’re In”


Ministry Interview due


7.    The Requirements of Ministry

Read: Frost & Hirsch, The Shaping of Things to Come, Part 2: “Incarnational Ecclesiology”

8.    The Resistance Against and Authority for Ministry

Read: Frost & Hirsch, The Shaping of Things to Come, Part 3: “Messianic Spirituality”

9.    Ministry and Measurement

Read: Frost & Hirsch, The Shaping of Things to Come, Part 4: “Apostolic Leadership”

10.  The Inglorious and Glorious Sides of Ministry

Ministry Readiness paper due


Philosophy of Ministry paper due


Final Exam














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