Spiritual Formation in Pastoral Counseling – PACO 509

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

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.




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.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Support assertions, arguments, and affirmations with appropriate content from the readings according to current APA guidelines. (Measured by assignments V. C-E)
  2. Define and discuss words/phrases used in his/her research-based definition of spiritual formation. (Measured by assignment V. D)
  3. Compare his/her experience and/or current approach to spiritual formation with a research-based definition of spiritual formation. (Measured by assignment V. D)
  4. Assess and evaluate strengths and weaknesses in the development and management of his/her personality patterns, as well as in his/her current approach to spiritual formation (Measured by assignment V. C, D, E)
  5. Choose, arrange, and explain essential elements required for personal growth and development and the practice of pastoral counseling. (Measured by assignments V. D, E)
  6. Describe and apply truths, insights, and techniques gleaned from assigned readings, assessments, lectures, pertinent research, and the Bible to his/her personal growth and development and practice of pastoral counseling. (Measured by assignments V. C-E)

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 your computer crashes, it is next to impossible to rebuild lost files. Unless otherwise stated, all assignments must be submitted through Blackboard. Do not submit assignments through email unless requested by Professor.  See Course Schedule for more details.

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading Course Guides and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Week 1>Assignments.

Research-based interactive forums are employed to resource the collaborative, cumulative learning experience:

Self-Report Tasks (4)

Four student self-reports are assessed: 1) subscription to Question & Answer Center, 2) completion of a narrated Class Introduction (via Jing, Office Mix, or other audio/video software),  3) completion of Week 1 readings, and 4) completion of 2 self-administered assessments. Further details are provided in the Question and Answer Center, Class Introduction forum, and Course Content>Assignment Instructions. See Course Schedule for due dates.

Subject Matter Conversation(s)

Subject Matter Conversations (SMC) are meaningfully developed via Weekly SnapShots and Webex or Skype for Business forums.  For example, as part of the collaborative, cumulative learning process, the first SMC will focus on getting acquainted and acclimated.

In the event a Subject Matter Conversation is missed due to extenuating circumstances or technical issues, the SMC will be assessed through a substantive response to the recorded SMC via Question & Answer Center. Specific instructions are provided in Assignment Instructions. Casual, modest dress should be worn during SMC virtual classroom meetings. See Course Schedule for dates and times.

Meaning-Making Forums (6)

Due to the nature of these collaborative, cumulative research-based forums, the meaning-making forums will have a “paper-like feel” (i.e. more is expected than in a typical discussion-based forum). In this respect, each student will write a substantive research-based thread in response to prompts in each forum.

Each thread must be at least 450 words and noticeably integrate course-related knowledge. In the same week/module, the student will write a substantive research-based reply via the forum’s QUOTE feature to 1 other classmate’s threads. Each reply must noticeably integrate course related knowledge and be at least 150 words.

Since these forums inform the cumulative learning experience, thoughtful integration of insights must be noticeably supported from the readings and/or assessments, pertinent research, and when appropriate, the Bible.

Abridged APA parenthetical citations should be used for required resources in each post; complete citations and References should be used for secondary resources in each post. All posts must be written with clarity and conciseness, without spelling, grammar, and word choice errors, and adhere to content-building forum instructions and rubric. Specific instructions are provided in the assignment folder of the course.  See Course Schedule for due dates.

Practical Book Reviews (2)

The student will write 2 book reviews; see Assignment Instructions. Practical Book Review 1 will cover the Ortberg text and Practical Book Review 2 will cover the Hess & Arnold text. The body of each review will be at least 4 pages, double-spaced, and typed in 12 pt Times New Roman font. Use of current APA format, correct grammar, and correct spelling is required.  See Course Schedule for due dates.