Spiritual Formation in Pastoral Counseling – PACO 509

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 12/12/2022

Course Description

This course introduces students to the essential elements of a biblically responsible, research informed, holistic approach to his/her spiritual formation. The goals, means, and challenges faced in the process of transformation, especially within pastoral counseling, will comprise the major issues covered in class.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


In order to establish a framework for spiritual formation in pastoral counseling, students must be able to describe and defend a research-based definition of spiritual formation. This definition lays the foundation for the discovery and development of life-changing wisdom strategies for students’ personal and professional growth and development.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings, assessments, web-engagements, and lecture presentations/notes

It would be wise to back up course work on an external source. If the student's computer crashes, it is next to impossible to rebuild lost files. Unless otherwise stated, all assignments must be submitted through corresponding assignment links. The student must not submit assignments through email unless requested by Instructor.  The student should see the Course Schedule for more details.

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading Course Guides, Guidelines & Expectations, and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Subject Matter Conversations (2)

Subject Matter Conversations (SMC) are meaningfully developed via the Question & Answer Center and scheduled Microsoft Office TEAMS meetings.  For example, as part of the course's connected, collaborative, cumulative learning process, the initial SMC will focus on getting acquainted and acclimated. The concluding SMC evaluates the student's participation during the intensive and will help him/her to successfully navigate the remaining weeks of the course. Each SMC is assessed via a substantive response to one of the presented questions.

In the event of an extenuating circumstance(s) or technical issues, SMCs will be assessed through a substantive response to the recorded SMC via its submission link. Specific instructions are provided in Assignment Instructions. Casual, modest dress and ear buds should be worn during SMC virtual classroom meetings.

(CLO: A, D, F)

Discussions (6)

The student will narrate movement through a process for growing in favor with God and others. This is accomplished via Discussions which require the student to noticeably/meaningfully employ insights and skills gleaned from each of the assigned readings, assessments, lectures, web resources, and as applicable, the Scriptures.

Due to the nature of these connected, collaborative, cumulative research-based and fully-involved conversations, these Discussions will have a “paper or presentation-like feel” (i.e. more is expected than in typical Discussions). Required texts, assigned readings, assessments, and lectures-to-date are to be noticeably and consistently used to ground assertions. In response to prompts from each Discussion, the student must synthesize pertinent material and write a substantive research-based thread and reply.

Pertinent insights from readings-to-date should be synthesized and moved forward into subsequent learning activities. Each thread must be at least 450 words and noticeably employ at least 1 pertinent insight from each required source/readings-to-date as well as assessments and presentations (see Course Schedule). In the assigned Module, the student writes 1 substantive research-based reply to a specific point of reference within a classmate's thread. Each reply must noticeably/meaningfully employ at least 1 pertinent insight from course related knowledge and be at least 150 words.

All posts must be written with clarity and conciseness, without spelling, grammar, word choice errors, and adhere to Discussion Guidelines and rubric expectations. School of Behavioral Sciences students follow current APA standards and School of Divinity students – current Turabian standards. Specific instructions are provided in the assignment instructions’ folder of the course (Discussion Guidelines and related Rubrics).  NOTE: the Final Discussion has a slightly different rubric.

(CLO: A, B, C, D, E, F)

Practical Book Reviews (2)

The student will write 2 book reviews. The first Practical Book Review will cover the Ortberg text and the last one will cover the Becker text. The body of each review will be at least 4 pages and follow current APA or Turabian standards. Correct grammar and correct spelling are required.

(CLO: A, D, E, F)