January 29th—February 2nd, 2018


TM081W-3 Pastoral Care in Context

Dr. Nathan Frambach, Professor of Pastoral Theology


This course will provide a working framework for an integrated understanding of pastoral care in the life and ministry of a congregation. Students will be challenged to claim their own approach as a pastoral caregiver and identify the most salient principles and practices for effective pastoral care ministry. A variety of “contexts” for pastoral care will be considered (e.g., loss and grief, developmental and situational crises, illness, life stages, family systems, assessment, addictions, inter alia).


(This course meets the Pastoral Care requirement for Wartburg’s TEEM program, the Certificate in Town & Country Church Leadership, and the Certificate in Theology and Congregational Leadership.)



Required Reading (these two books and the article should be read before class):

1. The Lost Art of Listening (2nd ed.): How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships by Michael P. Nichols

2. A Primer in Pastoral Care by Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner

3. “Whatever Happened to Seelsorge?” by Herbert Anderson


4.  “Referral as Pastoral Care” by William Oglesby (link below is free!) http://healingreligion.com/PS1012/html/oglesby_on_referral.htm




Novels (please choose ONE of the following six novels to read before class):

1. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger  OR

2. Evensong by Gail Godwin  OR

3. Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout OR

4. Bipolar Faith: A Black Woman’s Journey with Depression and Faith by Monica Coleman OR

5. Little Chapel on the River by Gwendolyn Bounds OR

6. When Did You Last See Your Father: A Son’s Memoir of Loss and Love by Blake Morrison



*If students would like to suggest an alternative book that presents and explores the dynamics of church life and pastoral ministry/leadership in a novel, feel free to do so by contacting the Instructor at nframbach@wartburgseminary.edu or via text at 563.599.5270



Recommended Reading: (not required, purchase at your own discretion)

The Practice of Pastoral Care: A Postmodern Approach by Carrie Doehring

Pastoral Care: An Essential Guide by John Patton

Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Donella Meadows

Grief: Contemporary Theory and the Practice of Ministry by Melissa Kelley


Reference Books:

The Dictionary of Pastoral Care and Counseling edited by Rodney Hunter and Nancy Ramsey

*Will be on reserve in the library—don’t buy it, it’s too big and too expensive!



There are two (2) written pre-assignments:


A. Theological Autobiography

This is an opportunity to reflect on and write about your life with God, particularly with regard to your experience of caring and being cared for. These questions might spark and guide your thinking and remembering. How have you experienced—or not experienced—care in your life? Who have been your primary life caregivers? In what specific situations have you experienced care? What did that care look, feel, and sound like? What can you remember specifically about having experienced care pastorally? What made that experience of care pastoral?


This paper should be 2—3 pages with no references—speak with your own voice here. Please be responsible for your own disclosure. In other words, only write and/or share what you feel safe and comfortable writing and/or sharing. We will talk about what we have written in class (likely in small groups, pending class size) to whatever extent you are willing to share. Papers should be completed before the intensive begins and brought to the first day of class.


B. The Bible and Pastoral Care

Choose a text or story from Scripture that portrays a situation of a person or persons receiving care. The purpose here is descriptive, not exegetical. The following questions might help to get you started. Who is involved in the giving and receiving of care? What is it that actually takes place? Is it human care or pastoral care? If pastoral, what specifically makes it pastoral care?


This paper should be 1—2 pages. You are allowed one reference from Scripture. Papers will be presented/shared informally during a class session.  Papers should be completed before the intensive begins and brought to the first day of class.


*Note: you may submit the above assignments to the Instructor electronically via email and attachment (MS Word) or bring paper copies to class. FYI: electronic copies are preferred.