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Pastoral Skills and Methods


Semester 2 every year

On-campus, Online live, Online recordings

Level 6, Level 7, Level 8


Karl Hood

Is this unit for you?

This unit is designed to help you develop knowledge and skill for helping people, including people in your congregation. Take this unit as the next step after completing the Pastoral Care (PC002) unit, moving from the conceptual framework of that unit to focus more on application to life and ministry settings.

What you will learn

The unit includes a Christocentric and biblical-theological approach to relational skills, equipping skills, and pastoral care of people with a range of problems including depression, bereavement, addictions, unemployment, marital conflict and divorce, and psychiatric disorders. 

Unit content

Section A: Pastoral Skills and Methods (40%)

  1. An introduction to aims and methods in pastoral care and pastoral counselling and their implications for Christian community.
  2. Relational skills; empathy, respect, concreteness, genuineness; listening skills.
  3. Equipping others; teaching, encouragement, recognition of abilities, training.
  4. Mechanics of care; administration, publicity, the various settings of care, record-keeping. 


Section B: Pastoral Care in Particular Situations (60%)

In the topics studied below, attention should be paid not only to the needs of those in care but the carers’ own lives.

  1. Pastoral care of persons with special needs, including:
    1. the recognition of normal and abnormal conditions;
    2. the mentally ill;
    3. handicapped and disabled persons.
  2. Pastoral care of people in the following situations:
    1. marital disharmony and divorce;
    2. dying, death and bereavement; the grief process;
  3. Pastoral care of those in crises, or with chronic conditions. Candidates study two of:
    1. alcoholism & drug dependence
    2. attempted suicide
    3. long-term illness
    4. child abuse and domestic violence
    5. AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases
    6. unemployment and work related stress
    7. those in trouble with the law
    8. financial or debt-related stress
  4. Community resources for pastoral care, including other helping professions; when to refer.


  • 3 lecture hours per week with class discussion
  • Assignments


  • Michael R. Emlet, Descriptions and Prescriptions: A Biblical Perspective on Psychiatric Diagnoses and Medications (Greensboro: New Growth, 2017).
  • J. Alasdair Groves and Winston T. Smith, Untangling Emotions (Wheaton: Crossway, 2019).
  • David Powlison, Speaking the Truth in Love: Counsel in Community (Greensboro: New Growth, 2005).
  • Paul D. Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands (Phillipsburg: P&R, 2002).


God’s wisdom for abundant living in Christ

The National Centre for Biblical Counselling is a centre of PTC, a Reformed, evangelical Bible college training people for ministry and mission

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