This course explores the foundational information needed for effective pastoral care. The course will provide a survey of Clinical Pastoral Education. At the end of the course, the student will be able to assess a person's faith development in a pluralistic setting and learn how to offer spiritual care to people from various faith backgrounds.
This introductory course will help the student learn about pastoral care ministry in various settings. The course is designed for people who are interested in pastoral care, whether it is hospital visitation, healthcare chaplaincy, or some other form of chaplaincy.
In pastoral care, the minister is not the primary professional. If a minister does not have a foundational understanding of the pastoral role, he or she will be overwhelmed and intimidated by medical jargon, complex diagnoses, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers (in the case of a healthcare chaplain), or other professionals in other pastoral care situations. The minister must have the pastoral authority and humility to speak from his or her discipline with ease. This course will give the confidence, knowledge, and skills for a person to effectively engage in pastoral care.
The fundamental biblical truth of this course is found in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” The motto for Clinical Pastoral Education is, “trust the process.” The student needs to trust the process through not relying on his or her own understanding but trusting God’s guidance and leading. Pastoral care also involves working in a pluralistic setting where the student may not always see the fruit of his or her labor. Once again, the student needs to trust that God is working in the patient’s life instead of forcing a personal agenda to see growth.
Part of the role of a minister in pastoral care is to be the image of God to people experiencing crises. The student will have an opportunity to go and serve people who are suffering.
Pastoral care offers a pluralistic environment, and the student will be given a chance to consider how his or her faith integrates and applies to a pluralistic setting.
The student will examine the cultural assumptions and worldview of the pastoral care recipient and others.
The class is centered on the action-reflection model of learning where the student does, reflect, and does again.
The student will be required to submit two verbatim encounters with a patient where the student will assess the visit, evaluate the spiritual needs, utilize theological reflection, and develop a spiritual care plan.