Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)

Module THMN40930: Story and the Narrative Mode in Christian Mission and Liturgy

Department: Theology and Ministry

THMN40930: Story and the Narrative Mode in Christian Mission and Liturgy

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None.


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To enable theological reflection on the narrative mode of communication in contemporary Christian witness and worship, engaging critically with appropriate scholarship; to develop relevant communication skills for today’s post-literate culture, with a particular emphasis on creating and presenting story in several forms; to acquire a basic familiarity with the structure and process of developing a personal narrative, and employ sophisticated tools for crafting personal stories in a spiritually formative environment.


  • Programme Areas:
  • The Place of Story
  • Story: Engaging the Imagination and Finding Meaning
  • Narrative Theology, Parables and Metaphor in Religious Discourse
  • Storytelling skills • Narrative techniques in television, literature and the spoken word
  • The Place of Narrative in Evangelism and Nurture
  • The course will examine a range of storytelling genres in contemporary culture. The module will begin with three introductory sessions:
  • 1. Storytelling, the Bible and Western Culture: The place of narrative the transmission of faith and values;
  • 2. Resources available to help the storyteller. Examples of good practice.
  • 3. Learning a story: How stories are internalised so that they may be told rather than read. The practical considerations in working with story in different media.
  • Students will be expected to work with storytelling in a practical and systematic way, and will also be invited to develop, to an appropriate level, creative and technically proficient expressions of Christian story using other contemporary media such as writing short stories, screenplays or story in song.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the course students will have:
  • The ability to reflect theologically upon different forms of narrative communication in a secular and a Christian context
  • A critical understanding of a range of strategies for incorporating personal narratives into preaching and teaching
Subject-specific Skills:
  • The ability to hear, read and analyse storytelling forms, demonstrating a critical understanding of their complexity and dynamics.
  • The facility to analyse and to evaluate the role of narrative in theology.
Key Skills:
  • A developed understanding of how to communicate stories with intelligence, clarity and conviction, expressing Christian themes in ways appropriate to context.
  • The ability to model good practice and to supervise the development of storytelling ability in others.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Staff and Student led seminars, discussion groups, joint teaching, multi-media environment. 30 hours contact time which will be delivered in two periods of residence. Some individual consultation will be available during these periods and on-line and students will be expected to work in an e-learning environment between the two periods of residence.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours

Summative Assessment

Component: Presentation/Performance Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written or audio/visual presentation of narrative communication OR 3 x videoed storytelling performances 100%
Component: Critical Evaluation Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Critical evaluation of content and execution/perfomance 2000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Two pieces of formative assessment: a 2,500 book review and a student-led seminar, which would be a theological reflection on practical church communication, on which there will be written feedback. Feedback to students will comprise dialogue in seminars, and written feedback on formative work. Staff will also be available for individual consultation.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University