Document Sample
                       (Introduction to Christian Ministry, M-514)
                                         Fall 2006
                                Wednesdays, 8:30-10:30
                       Dan Moseley, 931-2353,
                      Linda McCrae, 635-6397,


The objective of this course is to offer to students who are engaged in their first year of
supervised ministerial experience resources and insights to become effective leaders in
diverse and changing contexts of religious institutions. Ministry grows out of an identity
as a faithful Christian leader. The purpose of the course is to help students learn to know
themselves as ministers and design ministry out of that self-knowledge. It is designed to
help students discover skills for theological reflection in conversation with the various
forces of tradition and context.

To effectively lead a community of faith, a person needs to have deep self-knowledge,
thick knowledge of the ministerial context; rich and varied knowledge of the Christian
tradition represented in the Biblical and historical communities of faith; knowledge of the
cultural context in which the religious community exists; and skills for developing
strategies for action within a given context. This course will help persons discover ways
to integrate the various knowledge centers so that ministry might be energizing and
fulfilling to the minister and nurturing and challenging to the participants in the
community of faith.

For this course, a minister will be defined as one who facilitates healing relationships. To
accomplish this, a minister is one who participates in and guides circles of conversations
to process conflict for the purpose of developing more just and loving relationships.


This class is one part of the total theological field education process. The course
objectives interface with the primary learning objectives of the SCOFE process shown on
page eight of the SCOFE Handbook. Action/reflection learning will help you “know” at
a deeper level what your mind apprehends at an intellectual level.

This course will not spend time on some of the ministerial practices, e.g. baptism, and
Eucharist, which have distinctive denominational peculiarities and are best learned in the
student’s ministry site under guidance of a competent, ordained minister.

The classroom, on the other hand, is a suitable place for learning about the ways that the
following factors influence the minister’s practice:

   •    Understanding of the nature and purpose of the church
   •    Personality, including conflict style, learning style and relational tendencies
   •    Knowledge of scripture, theology, history, etc.
   •    Awareness of and response to context
   •    Insight into the character of Christian congregations
   •    Understanding of organizational and emotional systems and how they affect the
        change process in congregations

When classroom learning weaves together with learning-by-serving and relating in the
ministry site, and with the reflection in the SCOFE group, students more easily move
beyond conceptual to holistic learning. Learning to process conflict well, for example,
involves the minister’s effective response, personality, communication skills, and
relational tendencies as well as her conceptual grasp of conflict management theory. It
requires whole-person learning. This is the strength of the comprehensive SCOFE
learning process.

The link between this course and the first year of SCOFE is important and intentional.
Your ministry site is also a “teaching site” because its leaders are partners with CTS in
facilitating your continuing formation as a minister.


   • Participate actively in each class session. If you miss more than three class
     sessions you will not receive credit for the course.
   • Read the required texts
   • Complete written work on time and in a form appropriate (appearance, grammar,
     spelling) for meeting professional standards


Open Secrets, Richard Lischer
Upon This Rock, Samuel Freedman
Breathing Space, Heidi B. Neumark

Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes, William Bridges
Discovering Your Conflict Style, Speed Leas
Clergy Self-Care: Finding A Balance for Effective Ministry, Roy Oswald
My Moral Odyssey, Samuel Proctor

“Ecology: Seeing the Congregation in Context”, Nancy L. Eiesland and R. Stephen
Warner, (Chapter 2 of Studying Congregations: A New Handbook, ed. Nancy
Ammerman, et al.)

“Culture and Identity in the Congregation”, Nancy Ammerman, (Chapter 3 of Studying
Congregations: A New Handbook, ed. Nancy Ammerman, et al.)

“Methods for Congregational Study”, Scott L. Thumma, (Chapter 7 of Studying
Congregations: A New Handbook, ed. Nancy Ammerman, et al.)

“Introduction” to A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix, by Edwin
H. Friedman. (On reserve in the Library).

“How to Minister Effectively in Family, Pastoral, Program, and Corporate Size
Churches”, from Chapter 2 of Making Your Church More Inviting, Roy Oswald
(Washington, D.C. The Alban Institute, 1992)


1. Write a paper comparing the congregations and ministries of the pastors in two of the
following books: “Breathing Space,” “Upon This Rock” and “Open Secrets”. In this
paper reflect on the contexts of each and how the ministers interacted with those contexts.
Reflect on the how the minister’s own gifts contributed positively to the ministry and
how the context challenged the minister’s self concept. Discuss how each handled
conflict and helped the congregation deal with differences which arose. Explore the
power of tradition and the power of change. What is the soul of the congregation and
how does the minister respect soul and help a congregation grow from its center?

The paper is to be NO MORE THAN 10 PAGES (DOUBLE SPACED)

DUE DATE OCTOBER 11 (Grade will be reduced 1/3 of a letter each day that it is

2. Write a description of your congregation/ministry site. A thick description of your
site will help you discover ways to do ministry in it. You are expected to explore the
following dimensions of your site:
    • History, Culture and Identity
    • Context
    • Demographics
Articles from Ammerman’s book will explain ways to explore the first two dimensions of
your site. Demographics may be accessed through the Polis Center at IUPUI (317/274-
2455) or check its web site. Libraries, census, city and county public records are helpful
sources of demographic information.

As you write this paper, reflect on the way the history, culture, identity, context and
demographics interact to create the particular community. Identify issues of conflict and
differences resulting from merging these realities in this community at this time in
history. Also identify gifts which are in the minister and the congregation which would
contribute to processing conflict to create more just and loving community.

The paper is to be NO MORE THAN 10 PAGES (DOUBLE SPACED)

DUE DATE NOVEMBER 15 (Grade will be reduced 1/3 of a letter each day that it
is late)

3. Write a personal reflection paper, no more than five pages, double spaced. Focus on
the most significant things you learned about yourself and the practice of ministry as you
have shared in this class. In light of your own formation, your context and the issues
embodied in the church, what self-care procedures would you put into place? Be specific
about the issues with which you have uncertainty and about desired areas of learning for
next semester. As in all papers, document references.

DUE DATE DECEMBER 13 (Grade will be reduced 1/3 of a letter each day that it
is late)

4. Read and be prepared to discuss in class the books by Bridges, Leas, Proctor and
Oswald on the days that they are assigned for class.


In grading all papers for this course, the instructors will look for:
    • The student’s explicit attention to the assignment
    • Evidence of understanding of and critical reflection on the assigned reading and
       integration with the student’s own perspectives, practice and experience.
       Reference to the work of others must be properly documented. Collaboration in
       learning is acceptable and must be acknowledged in the paper.
    • Clear and concise expression (as is required in good ministerial communications)
    • Technical proficiency in spelling, form, grammar, footnotes according to the
       “CTS Guidelines for Term Papers and Policy on Cheating and Plagiarism.”
           Proper documentation and bibliography are required on all papers.
    •      Creativity. Students may consult with the instructors about adapting an
           assignment in order to address a relevant, specific learning need. Prior approval
           of one of the instructors is essential.
    •      For excellent help in reading and writing in seminary, check


    •      Paper on Congregational Analysis                                    25%
    •      Paper on Comparing Ministries                                       25%
    •      Reflection Paper                                                    25%
    •      Class Participation (including reading of books)                    25%


SEPTEMBER 6—Introduction to the class and to the course.

SEPTEMBER 13—Introduction to concept of ministry as conflict

SEPTEMBER 20—Read and Discuss Transitions

SEPTEMBER 27—Read and Discuss Discovering Your Conflict Management Style

OCTOBER 4—How to reduce anxiety by being a non-anxious presence. (Read
Friedman, “A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix”)

OCTOBER 11—Discuss findings in paper comparing ministries of Youngblood,
Neumark and Lischer. PAPER DUE


OCTOBER 25— A Case Study on Contextual Analysis (Read Chapter 2 in Ammerman)

NOVEMBER 1—Developing skills for Contextual Analysis (Read Chapter 3 and
Chapter 7 in Ammerman)

NOVEMBER 8—Listening Skills and Communication in managing conflict

NOVEMBER 15—Exploring our own Faith Formation (My Moral Odyssey


NOVEMBER 29— How to grow spiritually and stay centered so that you can be an
effective leader. (Clergy Self-Care)

DECEMBER 6— Time Management (Record how you spend your time)

DECEMBER 13—Integration of the semester
                    PAPER DUE