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Fall 2007/FSC-Irvine

Fall 2012/FCC-Irvine




GM506A: FOUNDATIONS FOR MINISTRY A (Two units). Michael McNichols and Stephen Summerell


DESCRIPTION: The purpose of this course is to identify and develop central themes related to the practice of ministry and to develop basic skills in theological reflection as a mode of learning. In this course, ministry is understood in its broadest New Testament sense as the service of the gospel, and therefore includes ordained and non-ordained, paid and otherwise. Each student will be expected to work with these themes in ways that fit his or her own context and call. During two quarters the course will interweave the topics of practical theology, congregational formation, spiritual formation, and missional formation. All three topics will be addressed as matters of both personal and corporate identity and agency. The Fall quarter will first give attention to matters of both personal and relational formation then address the missional formation of the church. In the small groups, various practices and disciplines of spiritual formation will be engaged. Also, self-awareness will be resourced through a personality inventory.


LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon successful completion of this course, students will have demonstrated (1) an understanding of learning and ministry that recognizes and relates current practices and experiences, theological and ministry theory, and future practices (praxis-theory-praxis); (2) the ability to participate in and appreciate shared life and ministry experiences while integrating the disciplines of theology, biblical studies, and other key resources; (3) the ability to articulate a process of practical theology related to ministry, leadership, and spiritual formation.


SIGNIFICANCE FOR LIFE AND MINISTRY: Understanding the nature of ministry as the practical outworking of GodŐs ongoing mission to the world is essential in Christian leadership. Exploring how past experiences interweave with theological reflection to inform current ministry practices reveals the relationship between the inner life of the leader with the character of the communities being led.


COURSE FORMAT: This course is the first of a two-part series that continues over two quarters. The class will meet weekly for three hours during the first nine weeks of each quarter; each session will include lecture, student presentations about their own journeys of faith, and meetings in small groups. The class retreat will take place in week ten of the quarter.


REQUIRED READING (approximately 550 pages):


Anderson, Ray S. The Shape of Practical Theology. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press (2001) [71 pp] $27.00; ISBN 0830815597


Barton, Ruth Haley. Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press (2008) [110 pp] $18.00; ISBN: 978083083513


Branson, Mark Lau and Juan Mart’nez. Churches, Cultures and Leadership: A Practical Theology of Congregations. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press (2011) [96 pages] $25.00; ISBN: 0830839267


Calhoun, Adele A. Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press (2005) (selected readings to be used both Fall and Winter quarters) $18.00; ISBN: 0830833307


Hagberg, Janet O. and Robert A. Guelich. The Critical Journey: Stages in the Life of Faith (second edition). Salem, WI: Sheffield Publishing (2005) [268 pp]. $23.95; ISBN: 1879215497


Students will be required to purchase and complete Janet Hagberg's Spiritual Life Inventory (online version) as part of the final paper (Inventory is available at http://www.personalpowerproducts.com/shop for $5.95).




1.              Regular attendance and participation in all aspects of the course, including retreat (45%)

2.              Weekly journaling that reflects the spiritual practices covered in class (10%)

3.              Weekly, one-page reading summaries of assigned texts (20%)

4.              Write a 6-8 page paper that offers theological reflection about your personal spiritual journey as it relates to practical theology, utilizing the stages outlined by Hagberg and Guelich (including results from HagbergŐs Spiritual Life Inventory) (25%)




RELATIONSHIP TO CURRICULUM: When completed in sequence along with GM506B, this meets MDiv core requirement in General Ministry (MIN1), the requirement in Ministry Foundations (MINF) or the requirement in Spirituality (SPIR or FSP) for other masterŐs degrees.