Pastoral care courses are offered from the perspective of the church-based minister rather than the clinic-based specialist. They help students combine reflective self-understanding, spiritual formation, pastoral care theory, and ministerial practice by drawing on the rich historic traditions of soul care found in the writings of the church and on observation and understanding from both biblical revelation and well-grounded social science ­exploration.

Objectives for students

  • Describe the most common spiritual, mental health, and relational issues encountered in a church or other ministry context;
  • Plan appropriate strategies of care and guidance for these issues, whether within the church structure or by referral to other professionals;
  • Attain insight into how their own spiritual, mental, emotional, theological, and cultural formation affects the ministry they offer to those in need;
  • Practice contextualization and theological reflection with regard to issues of human need and pastoral care, for both the purposes of offering personal guidance and developing preventive community strategies, paying particular attention to the distinctives (e.g., geographic, demographic, socioeconomic, and ethnic factors) found within a particular ministry setting.

Pastoral Care

PC512 • Introduction to Pastoral Care and Counseling. 3 Credits.

Introduces students to the minister’s shepherding functions, then guides them to practical applications in preventive teaching, counseling, and shaping of healthy community life. This course includes a practicum that forms the core learning. Lectures deal with typical situations faced in pastoral ministry. Evaluation of the student focuses on personal integration.
Prerequisites: SP510.

PC600 • Principles of Counseling. 3 Credits.

This course is designed to provide a foundation of basic skills for people who would like to enhance their therapy and pastoral care abilities. It combines theoretical understanding and hands-on practice of essential counseling microskills and can serve as the prerequisite counseling course for people transferring to the M.A.M.F.T. program.

PC610 • Pastoral Counseling Skills. 1.5 Credits.

A study and practice of basic pastoral counseling skills needed for pastoral ministry. Includes exploration of methodology of counseling and practice through role playing.
Special Notes: San Diego only.

PC632 • Pastoral Care of Children and Families. 3 Credits.

This course provides students the theological, theoretical, and practical applications necessary for providing effective pastoral care to children and families. A variety of issues facing children and families are explored. The helping relationship and helping skills are practiced. Emphasis will be placed on the personal and professional self-understanding of the pastor. This course will invite students to process their own family of origin and gain an understanding of family systems and how these elements impact the provision of pastoral care.

PC652 • Christian Spiritual Life: Henri Nouwen. 3 Credits.

A study of major themes in the thought of Henri Nouwen (1932-1996), internationally one of the most influential Christian spiritual writers of our generation. The emphasis is on primary sources, set in the framework of his life and development, and complemented by reflections from the instructor, who served as a teaching fellow with Nouwen during his Harvard years (1983-1985). The goal is for this experience to provide critical insights and personal values that illuminate and encourage our lives as beloved and faithful children of the Lord.
Special Notes: Crosslisted with SP652 and HS652.

PC705 • Clinical Pastoral Education. 1-3 Credits.

Students contract under an accredited CPE center for one unit of CPE, a 400-hour supervised experience, usually in a hospital or nursing care center. CPE is particularly important for persons who plan to enter chaplaincy posts of various kinds, but it is also applicable to many other ministry settings. The credits may be applied as pastoral care electives but may not be applied to professional internship requirements.
Prerequisites: PC512. Special Notes:Supervisory fees are paid directly to the CPE center. This fee is deducted from the charges Bethel Seminary makes for the course credits for PC705. Pass/Fail. A passing grade will be assigned when the Office of the Registrar receives, from the student, a notarized copy of the ACPE Certificate of Completion.

PC710 • Pastoral Care of Youth. 3 Credits.

Students with strong interest in youth ministry focus on social, psychological, and spiritual issues of that developmental age group. Includes discussion of youth culture, youth identity crises, drug abuse, rebellion, evangelism, vocational issues, sex education, and parent-child conflict.
Special Notes: Crosslisted with DC710.

PC711 • Marriage, Pre-Marriage and Family Counseling. 3 Credits.

Gives ministry students an overview of basic principles involved in marriage and family counseling for use in church, not clinical settings. Focuses on short-term counseling methodology.

PC714 • Developing Spiritually Healthy Families. 3 Credits.

In this course, students examine the theological bases for biblical parenting as well as current educational theory concerning effective and dysfunctional parenting behaviors. Since the American culture has become a hostile environment for Christian families, students also are explosed to typical issues that confront Christian parents and, through practical applications, are prepared to promote the emotional and spiritual well being of church families, including their own.

PC720 • Cross-Cultural Counseling. 3 Credits.

Explores the role of the belief system in a variety of cultures from a psycho-social-theological perspective. The processes of self-examination, inquiry, and formulating counseling paradigms are examined to gain insights that can be generalized to other belief systems. Students explore the psychological effects of racism as factors used in counseling of the perpetrator, benefactor, and victim.

PC723 • Counseling Through the Experience of Grief and Loss. 3 Credits.

Students explore their own losses, as well as the literature addressing bereavement, for purposes of counseling and pastoral care. Small group processing, as well as larger class discussion, involve the student in preparation for dealing with this topic on all kinds of levels in church and community.

PC729 • Chaplaincy in Contemporary Society. 3 Credits.

This course examines the diverse and expanding roles of the professional chaplain in contemporary society. It also examines the basic elements of counseling theory, comparing secular and Christian examples of theory and practice. The overall purpose of the course is to ground the student in the theology and basic theories relevant for a professional institutional pastoral care ministry in faith, multi-faith, and/or secular contexts including denominations, hospital/medical care, the armed services, and police and/or fire departments, as well as business and industry.

PC742 • Ministering to Families. 3 Credits.

Sees the modern family as an object of study with the objective of creating prevention-oriented educational ministries in churches. Studies issues such as divorce, crime, sexual issues, unemployment, social mobility, and disintegrating social/family norms and sanctions, and plans ways of educating church attendees in order to help them more successfully manage in today's world.
Special Notes: Crosslisted with DC742.

PC745 • Family Systems. 3 Credits.

This course discusses basic family dynamics with special emphasis on encouraging students to develop a congruent theological and theoretical perspective on families. Relevant family topics are addressed with opportunities for students to apply theoretical principles to actual family situations, including their own. Special attention is given to a family’s interaction with the institutional church and ways in which pastors can minister more effectively to a broad range of families.
Special Notes: Crosslisted with DC745.

PC755 • Family Systems. 1.5 Credits.

This course discusses basic family dynamics with special emphasis on encouraging students to develop a congruent theological and theoretical perspective on families. Relevant family topics are addressed with opportunities for students to apply theoretical principles to actual family situations, including their own. Special attention is given to a family’s interaction with the institutional church and ways in which pastors can minister more effectively to a broad range of families.
Special Notes: Crosslisted with DC755.

PC754 • Perspectives on Evil and Suffering. 3 Credits.

This course explores two distinct approaches to suffering and evil. Theologians, philosophers, and apologists try to explain why evil exists in a world created by a good God. Pastoral theologians and counselors attempt to help people who are suffering. Course participants attempt integration of the categories, resources, and responses typical of these two areas as they seek answers to the question, "What can theologians and caregivers learn from each other? .
Prerequisites: TS512 Special Notes: Crosslisted with TS754 and PH754.

PC759 • Growing through Small Groups. 3 Credits.

Examines the need for small groups within congregational life, strategies for forming groups, leading groups, how they provide the basic needs of pastoral care, and how they become the essential building block for growing a missional church.
Special Notes: Crosslisted with DC759 and ML759. Campus: San Diego.

PC670 • Independent Study in Pastoral Care and Counseling. 1-9 Credits.

Research and study by arrangement with the professor.
Special Notes: Permission is required.