Pastoral and Prophetic Congregational Leadership

This concentration is designed for individuals intending upon careers in congregational ministry. It provides an opportunity to delve more deeply into the literature, problems, practices of ministry. Students in particular denominational traditions may be able to fulfil some of their ordination requirements in this concentration, but all students are challenged to think deeply about the intersectional dimensions of life in congregational community in twenty-first century North America.

Students take designated courses from the school's offerings in three areas-Perspectives on Contemporary Ministry, Leadership, and a contextual requirement in the area of Field Education or Clinical Pastoral Education. No course applied to the concentration may also be applied to the requirement in Ministerial Arts (i.e. no double counting).

  • Learning Goals
    • Students will develop perspectives on contemporary ministry such that graduates will proceed into the further practice of ministry as thoughtful and engaged leaders.

    • Students will attain skills in the practice of ministry applicable to the practice of congregational leadership.

    • Students will engage in an additional unit of congregationally based field education in order to grow under supervision in the capacity for leadership and self-awareness of their own gifts.

  • Required Courses

    Students in the PPCL Concentration must meet the following requirements:


    Perspectives on Contemporary Ministry (3 or 6 hours)


    Courses in this grouping offer perspectives especially applicable to the understanding of practice of congregational ministry. These include the history of religious bodies and biblical interpretation used in congregations, the theology of particular traditions, the theory of approaches to ministry, pastoral lives, and worship. Courses that count toward this requirement include but are not limited to:








      • DIV6843  Theology in the United Methodist Tradition  (Rieger)




    Leadership in Contemporary Ministry (3 or 6 hours)


    Courses in this grouping offer both a grounding in their subject matter and leadership skills and development opportunities for pastoral leaders in the sources themselves.



      • DIV5226 Social Crises in Ministry in the Black Church Traditions (Harris)







    Congregational Ministry Practice Festivals


    In addition to the other requirements of the concentration, students participate in the annual day-long congregational ministry practice festival offered for returning 2nd- and 3rd-year students by the concentration in areas of preparation for exercising leadership in a congregational setting. The Concentration faculty team brings in other faculty and ministry practitioners to lead these workshops and a communal meal is held at mid-day. Morning and afternoon workshops are offered just before the formal opening of the fall term in such areas as:


      • Reading Scripture in public worship;


      • Leading effective meetings;


      • How to read budgets and exercise financial management;


      • Managing staff, evaluating personnel, hiring, firing;


      • Protecting the vulnerable-safe congregational practices;


      • Entering and reading congregational culture;


      • The vocation of the pastor: Finding mentors and building a colleague group.



    Senior Project Emphasis


    Students choosing this concentration are encouraged to pursue Senior Project topics related to some aspect of congregational leadership.


  • Praxis Options

    An additional semester (or equivalent) experience in supervised ministry beyond field education is required of each MDiv. student in this concentration. This is to be negotiated with field education faculty, as per the needs and vocational plans of the students and may include CPE, Advanced Field Education or Independent Study and Practicum in Field Education. (DIV 7902, 7903, 7904)