Skip to main content

Pastoral Leadership

Course Descriptions

SEPL610 Practice of Preaching

This course is an introduction to preaching theory and practice as well as a prerequisite for other Homiletics offerings. It will encourage students to explore the intersection of their theological and ethical worldview, ministerial identity, and spiritual practices through the preaching task. It will also build upon communication skills, providing support for students to improve and care for their vocal instrument while developing stamina as speakers. Students will learn a variety of styles of sermons, sermon preparation, and delivery in order to explore their homiletical style. Through the writing and preaching of their own sermons, students will experience the discipline of sermon preparation, develop pulpit skills, and engage in feedback with contextual awareness and cultural sensitivity.
3 credits

  • Prereq: Supervised Ministry setting, SEBK610, SEBK620, SETH630

SEPC620 Pastoral Care & Counseling

This course will survey the history of pastoral care and counseling and offer training and practice in listening skills, pastoral visitation, and pastoral responses to the developmental and situational crises of life. Ministry opportunities in times of illness and grief, life transitions (including premarital counseling and brief marital counseling and referral) will be discussed. Supervised Ministry placement in a parish, chaplaincy, or agency setting where one can assume a pastoral identity is required and students participate in group supervision with the instructor.
3 credits

  • MDiv, MACh, MACC students only.
  • This course is prerequisite for Clinical Pastoral Education.
  • Background check required.

SEPL630 Ministries of Advocacy & Change

This course is designed to help students reflect on the reciprocal relationships among Christianity, culture, and society, and on ministries of compassion, advocacy, and transformation through existing faith-based organizations, chaplaincy, non-profit formation, asset mapping and Appreciative Inquiry, community organizing and development, media, and the arts, with a particular focus on practical application.
3 credits

SEPL711 Equipping Communities for Ministry

This course will introduce the disciplines of vision, mission, stewardship, evangelism and discipleship. By taking a holistic approach to these topics, students will learn to integrate them within the worship and administrative life of religious organizations. Students will learn to draw from their ministry context, their theological understandings and their own denomination’s or tradition’s resources to develop approaches and programs that enable to their ministries to carry out their mission.
3 credits

  • Prereq: Supervised Ministry setting.

SEPL715 Advanced Preaching Practicum

This course further develops the student’s performance of preaching with the classroom functioning primarily as a laboratory for preaching where students will practice both verbal and nonverbal communication through the use of symbol, space, body language, and timing. Through conversation with homiletical scholars, their peers, and their own tradition students will further develop their homiletical presence and the integration of preaching with other communication throughout the worship experience. These skills will be used to develop a preaching plan and to aid student’s preparation of at least one controversial sermon.
3 credits

  • Prereq: SEPL610, Supervised Ministry setting.
  • Background check required.

SEPL716 Advanced Preaching: Prophetic Preaching on Social Issues

Hermeneutical and homiletical resources and strategies for encouraging congregations to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God. Prophetic sermons from diverse traditions and homiletics texts on social transformation will help students consider various social issues such as racism, war and violence, wealth and poverty, sexuality, healthcare, ecology and sustainability. Resistance, motivation for change, contextual considerations, and strategies for action will be considered as part of sermon preparation and performance.
3 credits

  • Prereq: SEPL610, Supervised Ministry setting.
  • Background check required.

SEPL718 Advanced Preaching: Narrative Preaching

This course will engage students in the study, preparation, and performance of narrative preaching. Narrative styles (first person and storytelling), Narrative methodologies (Narrative Plot, Roundtable preaching, and Testimony) as well as Narrative theory (canonical stories, community story and creative process of oral tradition) and use of technology will be explored in the work of key scholars/preachers in the field.
3 credits

  • Prereq: SEPL610, Supervised Ministry setting.
  • Background check required.

SEPL722 Liturgy in Contemporary Context: Recycling, Reclaiming & Improvising

This course offers students the opportunity to dig more deeply into their own liturgical traditions and to engage in current readings regarding the nature of liturgy and its importance to the life and mission of the church. Students engage in activities and practices to see that liturgy is far more than words and examine the interaction of sound, space, and theology with the ongoing work of the people.
1 credit

SEPL821 Youth Ministry in the Local Congregation

This course challenges students to examine the theology from which they approach youth ministry and help them to place this ministry within the congregation’s life. Students study the culture of today’s youth and ways to meet their needs through Sunday School, youth groups, confirmation classes, choirs, and other activities. The course also provides a wide variety of practical information including meeting formats and administrative procedures.
2 credits

SEPL822 Ministry in the Smaller Congregation

The course examines the theological, sociological, behavioral, and programmatic characteristics of smaller congregations. Coursework explores the pathways and challenges of being healthy pastors and healthy congregations, including a field survey of a smaller congregation to analyze the way it demonstrates and/or challenges the insights from the materials studied.
1 credit

SEPL830 Worship Music Practicum

The course examines the technical and logistical aspects of planning for and creating church music. The course addresses theoretical and theological questions regarding worship and focuses on practical application. Coursework is coordinated with chapel services.
1 credit

SEPL921 Supervised Ministry Orientation 1

This course provides an overview of the elements and requirements of the two-year Supervised Ministry placement. It offers students the opportunity to observe and experience worship and parish life in a number of congregations. This course is graded Pass/No pass.
0 credit

SEPL922 Supervised Ministry 2

This course provides an overview of the elements and requirements of the two-year Supervised Ministry placement, including learning covenants, supervision, and evaluation. Students will shadow two pastors, learning more fully about their congregations with an eye toward identifying a potential Supervised Ministry placement site by the end of the semester. This course is graded Pass/No pass.
0 credit

  • Prereq: SEPL921

SEPL923 Supervised Ministry 3

Supervised Ministry (SM) provides supervised on-site experiences of pastoral ministry, in conjunction with academic studies, for all students studying for the MDiv. The goal of SM is to help students begin to form their pastoral identities by combining theory and practice during the course of their seminary education. The results anticipated for the student through experiences of SM are: skill development in various areas of ministry, increasing aptitude for theological reflection upon the practice of ministry, growth in self-awareness as person and pastor, ability to relate academic studies to practical ministry, testing of pastoral performance in real-life situations capacity to critique and evaluate various leadership styles. 

This is the first of four Supervised Ministry on-site courses required for graduation. 

SEPL924 Supervised Ministry 4

This course is the second of four Supervised Ministry on-site experiences of pastoral ministry, in conjunction with academic studies, required for all students studying for the MDiv.

SEPL925 Supervised Ministry 5

This course is the third of four Supervised Ministry on-site experiences of pastoral ministry, in conjunction with academic studies, required for all students studying for the MDiv. In some cases a student may request to serve in a specialized ministry setting (non-parish) after having complete two semesters in a parish setting. The request will be reviewed by the Director of Supervised Ministry. 

SEPL926 Supervised Ministry 6

This course is last of four Supervised Ministry on-site experiences of pastoral ministry, in conjunction with academic studies, required for all students studying for the MDiv. In some cases a student may request to serve in a specialized ministry setting (non-parish) after having complete two semesters in a parish setting. The request will be reviewed by the Director of Supervised Ministry.