SCG4710EN - Spiritual Caregiving and the Terminally Ill

Course description

In this course, students will examine the challenges facing the terminally ill and how to give care to those facing the experience of dying. Looking at the physical and spiritual dimensions of dying, students will examine their own fears around death, gain understanding of the dying process, and how to be effective caregivers to those facing end of life.

How this course benefits students

Students interested in serving God through the work as a medical professional or social worker or hospice caregiver must have an essential understanding of terminal illness, the experience that accompanies it, and the end of life issues that trouble the terminally ill. This course will help students involved in the health care field develop skills and expertise in ministering to an aging society.

Why this course is important

For well more than a century, death has been professionalized and institutionalized, leaving the dying with little personal experience with the dying process and the possibility of dying without peace and assurance. Spiritual caregivers help the dying face eternity, grieve losses, tend to regrets, take account of their lives, and much more. In this course, students will examine the dying process and what it means to die well. Students will also confront their own fears around death and how that impacts being present with the dying. Due to the professionalization of death and dying in the modern age, many live their entire lives without observing the dying process closely. This often leaves the terminally ill and their caregivers with fear and dread around the natural course of dying. This course will equip spiritual caregivers with insights into the dying process and the spiritual work associated with dying well. Students will develop their own spiritual care philosophy and practice in tending to dying persons.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Spiritual Caregiving
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.
Dr. Lenny Marshall, BCC, Professor of Hospice & Palliative Care

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

The Scriptures compel followers of Christ to service and care for the needy, hurting, and sick.

Missionally driven

Missional Christians respond to the places where God is at work. It is evident that terminally illness generates spiritual as well as physical challenges, demonstrating that God desires His people to be present where these spiritual needs are present.

Contextually informed

How cultures and communities respond to terminal illness can be widely different. Understanding how culture addresses terminal illness is critical to developing an effective ministry and practice.

Interculturally focused

When people of faith engage with the terminally ill, they are engaging people where they are, as they are. Cultural values are most evident in how societies tend to terminal illness. The missional minded person reads the cultural landscape and translates the gospel into the culture at hand.

Practically minded

Caring for the needs of the terminally ill is hands on, practical ministry.

Experientially transformed

This course engages students at the level of actual ministry experience, helping them to draw upon their own experiences with persons facing complex disease processes.