Mission Outcomes Assessment.
Pastoral studies are designed to educate and train people in preparation for a variety of roles within the mission of the people of God. Pastoral ministry which is a program taught under pastoral studies mainly concentrates on the study of Catholic Theology which is combined with relevant professional ministerial training. The main objective of this program is to provide a strong theoretical foundation for all lay church ministries, foster the student’s ability to reflect what is learnt theoretically into real life ministerial experiences, develop professional leadership skills for serving in the ministry and within the local church and finally, to help the students to develop a Biblical worldview through the integration of theology, professional training and real life experiences.
Different people have different worldviews. The world is at a point which is full of crossroads and confusion in the human history and this has prompted the church to be highly proactive in teaching its people how they can acquire a Biblical worldview. A worldview can be likened to a set of lenses which helps to alter our perspectives regarding the world and such views are mainly cultivated by our backgrounds, upbringing, education, culture, media and so forth. A worldview approach is quite theoretical and is full of presuppositions. A Biblical worldview is philosophical, ideological and spiritual and it provides an overarching approach to a clearer understanding of God and the world and the relation of man to both. It seeks to explain all aspects of life in relation to what the Bible has to say about them.
The pastoral ministry program study equips students with skills which help them to think and live with a comprehensive and cohesive Biblical worldview. A Biblical worldview is a view based on the word of God which provides everything which we need to understand the world and the situations which occur around us. The Bible explains the nature of God, creation of the universe and human beings, the fall of humanity and its rise through birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christianity offers a radical worldview from the one offered by the non-theistic materialism which argues that there is no life after death. In this case, a Biblical worldview strongly utters profound confidence on the existence of life after death in a restored heaven and earth where God serves as the King. It views pain and suffering as future blessings and vindication for those who have put their trust in the Lord.
In this study, i learnt of the power of the Holy Spirit which is able to change and transform individuals, societies and the world as a whole. We believe that God exists as it is written in Heb. 11:6 and He is the universal standard against which all things are measured. In a world which seems to have lost its moral compass, the Bible acts as the only resource which helps to make sense of issues affecting us pertaining to health, finances, relationships and our spiritual welfare. Christianity is a rational and reasonable faith which provides solutions for the questions posed by the mind and heart concerning the situations encountered in life.
Most people tend to have their faith and worldviews focused towards education, money, the government or their employment but all these things are temporal, uncertain and are bound to change with time. For instance, one can lose employment, health can at times fail, the government can destabilize and all this things this might lead to an alteration of our earthly based worldviews. However, a Christian based worldview is always consistent since God never changes and His word is always true that He will neither leave nor forsake those who trust in Him (Heb. 13:5).
In this case, a Biblical worldview affirms the original goodness and beauty of creation as it was designed by God. The world as it is now, full of tears, death and suffering, is not as normative as God intended it to be. In pastoral ministry, we understand that pain and suffering are permitted by God who is sovereign in order for Him to fulfill His purpose for our lives and that His greatness may be revealed through us.
The pastoral ministry program helps to inculcate wide Bible knowledge to enable the students to articulate a cogent worldview which is Christian centered and in the formulation of a Biblical worldview through the use a theological perspective to challenge non-Christian world views. This is done through a variety of delivery methods such as preaching, teaching and praying for the non believers as well as demonstrating God’s love for them through acts of servant-hood..
The Biblical worldview acquired from this study program offers a solid foundation for understanding the world and it also assists the students to help other people analyze, identify and overcome false world views. It can thus be said that a Biblical worldview serves as the basic foundation of ethics, values, behaviors and decisions which help us to discern what is right, wrong and holy and live in God’s truth forever. It is also clear that God has not only called us to personal faith but also to a Biblical worldview which has the power to change and transform the world from its evil doings into the normative ways which reflect God’s original purpose for man.
Spiritual formation refers to the growth and development of a person through a deliberate focus on the spiritual side of one’s interior life or the interaction with people on the exterior. Certain practices which are known to promote spiritual formation include prayer and fasting, reading and meditation of the scriptures, simplicity, solitude, service, worship, devotion, confessing one’s sins among others.
According to Gerald, spiritual formation is all inclusive of the attempts, instructions, disciplines and practices which are aimed at strengthening one’s faith hence promoting spiritual growth. This includes educational efforts such as formal theological training and other deep spiritual endeavors. Through self assessment, one is able to evaluate their personal growth and development while peer evaluation helps the students to develop their skills through critical appraisal of another person’s performance.
One of such practices which is taught in the pastoral ministry program is the sustained, reflective and undivided commitment to the congregational church ministry. In addition to this, mentoring of the new pastors by the seasoned pastors in order to form a firm pastoral identity is important in the program and so is learning with other peers in the pastoral ministry which helps the students to acquire substantial amount of experience from one another. Participation in the congregational based programs such as retreats and conferences which are planned in the local churches also helps the graduates to attain a reflective and challenging encounter and it also helps them to have a one-on-one experience on the pastoral duties and expectations of the congregational life.
More so, Trinity college provides the students with seminars and alumni meetings where they meet and share experiences and it also organizes crusades which help them to reach out to the non-believers in order to let them know of the good news of Jesus Christ. This gives the students time to reflect and assess themselves on how much spiritual growth they have attained from the program and it also helps them to acquire the spirit of discipleship and servant-hood through serving others.
Spiritual growth is best achieved through personal devotional life, mentoring, peer group experiences, following class instructions and attending church services. In addition to this, several extracurricular practices are also important in the program and this includes personal experiences in the college, involvement in the local church, participation in activities with other students and informal sharing and relationship development with other peers. Personal devotion is particularly helpful in self assessment as it gives one time to reflect and evaluate his or her individual spiritual growth as well as his or her relationship with God.
To achieve any significant amount of personal growth and spiritual formation, communication is paramount especially in the development of leadership skills. The pastoral ministry program thus calls for both interpersonal and organizational communication within the theological community. The use of biblical languages is also helpful in spiritual formation although the use of English Bible should not be ignored either as this is the most common teaching or preaching language all over the world.
The practice of developing a holistic biblical theology for both the old as well as the new testament which is strictly adhered to in the pastoral ministry study program has been a worthy goal in the achievement of my personal growth and spiritual formation. Furthermore, the expansion of spiritual formation programs beyond class teaching into mentoring programs in the local church has also been very helpful in terms of self assessment. Moreover, the pastoral ministry program has a practice where students in small groups meet and share after meals or volunteer to meet for prayer and sharing at any given time and this greatly enhances spiritual formation. This also builds and models the students on how to live together and be prepared for congregational life after graduation.
Above all, the program emphasizes on the fact that the Word of God is the pillar of strength for every believer and for this reason, all students are heeded to practice constant reading of the Word in order to acquire personal spiritual growth. Without reading the Bible, it is impossible to know the will of God for man.
To enhance personal growth, the program also emphasizes on the importance of developing critical self awareness in order to maintain personal integrity and steadfastness which is very essential in the church ministry. Pastoral integrity is inclusive of individual fidelity to ones’ vocation within his or her community of faith whether as a lay, ordained or specialized minister. This calls for a complete willingness to undertake disciplines and practices which promote pastoral competence, foster and maintain the promises undertaken at baptism, pastoral ordination and commissioning procedures.
In addition, the program advocates for prayer in its many forms, reading, studying and listening to the scriptures as well as theological reflection. All this practices are important in helping any pastor to grow personally and create a vocational identity. More so, the reintegration of the classical traditions with the past writings, customs and rites facilitates an easy establishment of the role of a pastor as a ritual leader who is able to help other people to develop a biblical worldview.
Knowledge and understanding refers to the ability of a person to recall theoretical factual and abstract information previously learnt and the ability to apply it appropriately in real life situations. Knowledge is important in avoiding and solving problems which are encountered in life. Knowledge is a gift from God to man which helps him to avoid destruction (Hos. 4:6). Understanding of God’s will for us is very important as it helps to reveal the greatness of our God in life. In this case, knowledge refers to the actual facts of life while understanding reveals the meaning of those facts.
A critical reflection of the scholarly materials is the evaluation of all the facts and abstractions and how they can be applied in real life through a biblically worldview perspective.
For pastoral ministry program study, the Bible is the main source of knowledge which is essential for shaping personal life and ministry. A workbook entitled “Pastoral Ministry in the 21st century” helps the students to reflect on their use of the Bible and serves as a guide is also a vital scholarly resource which serves to uplift those who may have grown weary of reading the Bible, use of scriptures or those who have lost confidence in the scriptures all together.
This workbook also helps the students to understand the principles used in the pastoral ministry study as it dwells on review of literature and translates that in biblical view with typical examples. The fact that it is easier to read and understand makes the practices and principles of the study to be more easily understood.
Most of the scholarly books and articles used in this program study cover a broad range of Christian ministry and they are meant to expound on the student’s current understanding of the Bible, Pastoral practice and how the two are related. They mainly deal with the key issues which affect the church ministry and such issues include authority given in the Bible, application of the Bible to the contemporary culture and the difficulties encountered in the process of maintaining ones faith. The study also addresses a variety of practical contexts. This include pastoral visiting and door-to-door witnessing, public worship, private devotion among others and this educates the students on ways in which they can put what they have learnt in class into practice.
A pastoral ministry Handbook used in this program study outlines the policies, principles and requirements of the different categories of church ministers. This includes the specifications for local church ministers, national conference, lay, ordained and specialized ministers. This has helped me o understand the principles of pastoral transitions and the expectations of the congregational churches. In pastoral ministry, literature helps in the recovering confidence in cases where a pastor is expected to play the role of a ritual leader and this begins a synthesis of liturgical, systematic and pastoral theology.
Main resources included in this program include Christian life books, church books, counseling, family, theology, evangelism and other spiritual books. All these books are focused on teaching the students on matters concerning pastoral care, counseling and ethics.
The books and materials used in the pastoral ministry program are up to date as they are retrieved from the Trinity Internet Library which provides an alternative for the traditional libraries as well as the Online Learning Center within the college. The Trinity Internet Library is the main source of study materials and it is well equipped with online databases, help files and specific program resources. Print resources are also available in the Theological Seminary Bookstore in form of books as well as journals.
The availability of a wide range of scholar articles and materials has helped me to acquire substantial amount of knowledge and understanding of the principles of pastoral ministry. The fact that most of the resources used are recent also ensures that first hand information and skills are acquired in this course. The materials used have helped to expand my knowledge of the Bible and Christianity and acquire a biblical worldview. Since the materials reflect other scholars view on Christianity and its practice in congregational life, they have helped me to acquire more spiritual as well as personal growth and development in matters which are spiritual, physical and socially oriented.
Scholarly articles also helps one to develop a critical view of certain issues in life. For instance, when one is faced with a particular life difficulty, he or she can refer to the books or articles written by people who may have encountered a similar problem in the past and from the way they dealt with it, he or she can learn from their experiences and overcome such issues in the future.
All in all, the Bible is the all time best resource of study which is used in pastoral ministry and in life in general as it has all ten solutions for our problems and from the scriptures, one i able to discover God’s will and plan for mankind.
Technical know-how is not the main focus of pastoral ministry although students are taught how to be knowledgeable and be competent in terms of skills. If too much emphasis is put on acquisition of knowledge and skills, the importance of the centrality of pastoral vocation which maybe either lay, ordained or specialized is likely to be neglected as well as the integrity of the pastor as an individual.
Among the major skills learnt in this program is pastoral care and counseling. The pastoral training study helps the students to acquire a clear vision which is important for developing their leadership skills to lead and serve congregations. It also equips them with the necessary skills for evangelism and preaching of the gospel to the non-believers.
In addition, the program provides pastoral knowledge and skills while at the same time it emphasizes on the importance of protecting valuable practices which are important for the students or training pastors in preparation for the ordained ministries. It integrates the academic, human and spiritual dimensions of life hence providing theological and spiritual backgrounds which form the foundation of pastoral ministry.
The study of a biblical worldview has a number of benefits for the seminary students. This includes a solid foundation for understanding the present times so that the students can know best how to expose the radical inconsistency of the false syncretistic worldviews. It also brings some form of dynamic unity in terms of the truth which is taught and that which is preached. In this case, training on the biblical worldview upholds God’s truth as the only truth which has the power to set us free and free indeed. The study teaches us that this kind of truth is not only about religious things but it is also the absolute truth about our origin, anthropology, providence and destiny. In addition, a biblical worldview imparts a strong confidence in that solutions for every problems in life are available in the Bible and this gives the students a firm grasp of the reality.
This study program is mainly focused towards a clear understanding of the Christian ministry and its basic principles as well as the fundamental concepts, proper communication and problem solving skills, interpersonal and team work skills and acquisition of self directed and long lasting skills which are necessary in the church ministry. Pastoral ministry students are taught to be church lay ministers in different capacities and to serve the people both believers and non-believers. There are many skills which are acquired from the study of pastoral ministry and they are mainly aimed at equipping men and women with a Christian biblical worldview which is suitable for leadership and service in life, work and ministry
The skills learnt in this study are transferable to ministries anywhere all over the world and in my case, on completion of this study i plan to apply the skills learnt in this course in my local church ministry to teach people how they can acquire a Christian view of the world and find biblical solutions of all the problems which they encounter in life. I also wish to preach to the non-believers so that they can know the truth which is only found in Jesus Christ.
My personal agenda from the skills acquired in this course is to discover, apply and preach to others all that i have learnt in theology, philosophy, biology, sociology, psychology, ethics and other areas of my study. I also plan to join the local church ministry in order to cast a vision for Christin education, evangelism, outreach and leadership development.
In addition, i plan to apply my pastoral care skills to the needy in hospitals to bring hope to the sick and the suffering and to those who have lost hope in life by offering them biblical solutions. I will further apply this service of pastoral care to families and staff members at my work place by supplying them with spiritual nourishment through prayer and sacrament. I will also give pastoral counseling to the depressed, those who are mourning or passing through a difficult period. Basically, my major lifetime plan is to live according to God’s word so that His plan for my life may be accomplished.
Cyril J. Barber & Robert M. Krauss. An Introduction to Theological Research: A Guide for College and Seminary Students. New York: University Press of America, 2000.
Charles, Bridges. The Christian Ministry: With an Inquiry Into the Causes of Its Inefficiency.
New York: Kessinger Publishing, 2006.
Dallas, Willard. Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ. Colorado Springs: Navpress, 2002.
Dallas, Willard. The Spirit of the Disciplines. New York: Harper & Row, 2004.
Griffin, Graeme. Coming to Care: An Introduction to Pastoral Care for ordained ministers and lay people. Melbourne: Uniting Church Theological Hall, 1995.
Group Publishing. Pastoral Ministry in the 21st Century: The Encyclopedia of Practical Ideas.
Group Publishing Inc., 2006.
Ken, Boa. Conformed to His Image: Biblical and Practical Approaches to Spiritual Formation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001.
May, Gerald G. Care of Mind, Care of Spirit: A Psychiatrist Explores Spiritual Direction. 1st Harper Collins paperback ed. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 2002.
Nancy, Pearcey. Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity. Crossway Books, 2005.
Warneka, Tim. Black Belt Leader, Peaceful Leader: An Introduction to Catholic Servant Leadership. Asogomi Publishing International, 2008.
 . Cyril J. Barber & Robert M. Krauss. An Introduction to Theological Research: A Guide for College and Seminary Students. (New York: University Press of America, 2000), 172.
 . Charles, Bridges. The Christian Ministry: With an Inquiry Into the Causes of Its Inefficiency.
(New York: Kessinger Publishing, 2006), 432.
 . Nancy, Pearcey. Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity. (Crossway Books, 2005), 25.
 . Ken, Boa. Conformed to His Image: Biblical and Practical Approaches to Spiritual Formation. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001), 21-23.
 . Gerald G. May. Care of Mind, Care of Spirit: A Psychiatrist Explores Spiritual Direction. 1st Harper Collins paperback ed. (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1992), 6.
 . Dallas, Willard. The Spirit of the Disciplines. (New York: Harper & Row, 2004), 11.
 . Boa. Spiritual Formation. 26.
 . Griffin, Graeme. Coming to Care: An Introduction to Pastoral Care for ordained ministers and lay people. (Melbourne: Uniting Church Theological Hall), 1995, 56.
 . Group Publishing. Pastoral Ministry in the 21st Century: The Encyclopedia of Practical Ideas.
(Group Publishing Inc., 2006).
 . Bridges. The Christian Ministry. 454.
 . Group. The Encyclopedia. 13.
 . Dallas, Willard. Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ. (Colorado Springs: Navpress, 2002), 19.
 . Warneka, Tim. Black Belt Leader, Peaceful Leader: An Introduction to Catholic Servant Leadership. (Asogomi Publishing International,2008), 128.
 . Ibid. 132.
 . Griffin, Graeme. Pastoral Care. 58.