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12 PL202 Pastoral Life

Course Description

This course discusses the life of pastors, with their family, spouse, and their internal personal life.

Understanding Marriage in the Asia-Pacific Region – A study of the nature of marriage and family, its forms, cultural and religious practices, its functions, etc., in the country where the student lives. The course will cover the biblical principles concerning God’s design for marriage and family; the basic needs, roles, duties of husband and wife; the place, value, discipline and instruction of children; the spiritual growth and witness of the family to Church and society. The cultural expectations will be compared and contrasted with the Biblical expectations.

Family Care– Students will study principles for maintaining strong healthy relationships with their spouse (if married) and developing healthy relations within the home and family. Student will learn how to help their spouses (or potential spouses) to implement principles, practices and methods to help families with spiritual, personal, physical, psychological and emotional problems. Emphasis will be placed on methods of healing, sustaining, guiding and reconciling those who are hurt in both local church and community. Attention will be given to single ministers and how they remain healthy and balanced as an individual.

Balance – Students will study how pastors deal with bi-vocational issues, relationships / friendships within the local church, time management issues, the pastor in community, the balance between building relationships with the congregation and retaining enough personal privacy to maintain family life. Potential issues to address include: having a spouse on a board or in a ministry position, handling funds with integrity, the pastor who runs a business, how to deal with the ethics and appearances, relating to government positions / public servants / politics and political opinions.

Learning will center on activities and requirements with the goal of modeling healthy Christian family relationships to the church and the community.

Course Rational

In some areas of Asia-Pacific, teaching pastoral counseling is not permitted unless taught by a licensed professional. At the same time, family issues are a constant area of counseling by a pastor. This course attempts to meet the needs of a pastor for counseling resources by focusing on the person and family of pastors and dealing with life issues they will normally deal with. In this way, the essence and tools of good pastoral counseling can be given to the student without the label of “counseling” being attached to it. At the same time, the pastor’s own life skills will be improved giving him or her a better chance at long term success and reducing the stress of pastoral life.

Intended Course Outcomes through Engagements

Students will show growth in the following ways:

  1. Character Formation: Develop a plan for their own spiritual care and how this relates to family, marriage, and ministry.
  2. Content Processing with Peers: Identify and analyze the stresses within marriage, family, and ministry and how to apply biblical principles to these.
  3. Ministry Capability Development: Determine how to balance the demands of work, ministry, and family and how to model this to others.
  4. Application in Mission and Community: Discover God’s plan for marriage and the family as seen in the Bible and how to apply this to cultures today.

Connection to Ordination Preparation:

Learning Outcome Assessment Program Outcome Activity Statement
1 1, 6 CH-1, CH-4, CH-5 ACC-1, DIS-4, DPF-1, DPF-2, PRA-1
2 2 CP-7 ACC-3, ACC-7, CON-1, CON-5, DIS-15
3 4, 5 CH-3 ACC-2, CON-2, CON-3, CON-6
4 3 CP-11, CH-8, CX-1 CON-4, DPF-3


Content 12%
Competency 28%
Character 45%
Context 15%

Course Textbooks

Key Texts:

Frisbie, David and Lisa. Managing Stress in Ministry. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 2014.
Parrott, Les. Keeping Love in the Family: How to Achieve Better Family Relationships. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1987.
Pettitt, Jim, Roger Hahn, Larry Morris, David And Lisa Frisbie, Donald Harvey, Jan M Harvey, Roy Rotz, Victor M Parachin, Jeanette Downs Pettitt. Making A Marriage: 7 Essentials for a Strong Relationship. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 2007.
Thomas, Gary L. Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy? Zondervan, 2015.
Turnbill, Bob and Yvonne. Teammates: Building Your Marriage to Complete, Not Compete. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 2005.
Williams, Gene, and Donald Harvey. Living in a Glass House: Surviving the Scrutiny of Ministry and Marriage. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 2002.

Course Requirements

  1. Bible Reading and Prayer Journal: Students should read through the Bible as designated in the Master Plan for Bible Reading in the Course of Study. For this course, students will read 2 Chronicles 21 – Esther 10 and Acts 22 – 28. The focus of the Scripture reading and prayer time for this course is on our accountability before God. As students read and pray, they should consider this question: “What is God asking me to change in my life in order to be more like His image as revealed in Jesus Christ?” Because this question may lead to personal or embarrassing information, students may be more general in the reflections they write in their journal so as not to reveal something to teachers that is meant only for God. Students may also meet with a mentor to discuss their response to the question. Students may also write out a prayer of confession as part of their reflections. There should be at least five entries in the journal of at least one paragraph of 200 words each entry. The entries can be scattered across a semester, be daily for intensive modules, or in follow up to modular class meetings. As an alternative, students may give a short oral report in the cohort small group during the class meeting time, sharing how God is developing them through reading the Bible.
  2. Small Group Role Play: Students will take turns in role playing counseling situations in families of their context. Questions and scenarios will be provided, with options for dealing with these situations. This may include birth, death, marital issues, important life moments, relationship reconciliation, and other possibilities. The Bible and various theories will be used as references for this exercise.
  3. Marriage in the Bible: In a 1000 word spoken or written presentation, determine the timeless truths for a husband and wife in the following passages: Genesis 12 to 22, Abram and Sari; Genesis 29 – 32 Jacob, Leah and Rachel; Hosea 1-3; Malachi 2:13-17, Ephesians 5, 1 Peter 3. Identify at least five principles found in your study that lead to a strong family. End your study with making application to your local context, identifying any cultural challenges facing strong marriages in your community.
  4. Marriage Interview: Interview a Christian (if possible) couple who has been married more than 20 years to discover what they believe is the reason for their long-lasting marriage and report the findings to the class orally or in a 500 word (two page) report.
  5. Pastor Interview: Interview a pastor about the challenges in ministry, the impact ministry has on family, and how to maintain a balanced life. Write a 500 word (two page) reflection paper on this interview, identifying potential conflicts between needs and ministry demands and how to bring balance family and ministry expectations.
  6. Budget: Develop an annual family budget for your family (or a personal budget if you are single). The budget should be realistic according to your present or future ministry context, considering your income and actual expenses. Include all types of income and expense including things traded (farm products, handmade items, trades, etc.) and cash. Identify your debts and how you will pay for those. Include your giving to others. The goal is to learn good stewardship and financial matters.

Course Assessment

Bible Reading and Prayer Journal     10 %
Small Group Role Play                       10 %
Marriage in the Bible                          20 %
Marriage Interview                              20 %
Pastor Interview                                  20 %
Budget                                                20 %

Course Outline

  1. Unit 1: Introduction to Biblical Counseling
    1. Marriage in My Culture.
    2. Creation of Marriage
    3. Holiness and Marriage
    4. Reasons to Marry and reasons to be single.
  2. Unit 2: Pastoral Counseling through the Ages
  3. Marriage in early Roman and Jewish times.
  4. The Bible and my culture.
  5. Biblical definitions of Marriage
  6. Applications
  7. Unit 3: Modern Methodologies
    1. Diagnosing the Problem
    2. How to communicate well
    3. Conflict management in marriage and other relationships.
    4. Stress and Physical Health
    5. Counseling patterns – example Bitterness
    6. Premarital counseling
  8. Unit 4: Biblical Patterns for Family
    1. Biblical duties for family members
    2. Compare and Contrast Biblical patterns. What does our culture tell us do?
  9. Unit 5: Modern Challenges to Family in Context
    1. How is your culture pushing marriage in non-Biblical ways?
    2. Coaching your children to be God centered
    3. Unit 6: Personal Finances and Budgeting: God, Money and Work.
  10. Work, Luck and Planning
  11. Make a family budget and a family schedule
  12. Ethics in Finances and work
  13. Unit 7: Maintaining Balance in the Pastoral Ministry
    1. Bi-vocational pastor
    2. Dealing with Government officials
    3. Personal friends and family life
    4. Your spouse in ministry with you
    5. Unit 8: Personal Soul Care