Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module THMN44630: Money Matters and The Church: The Theology and Practice of Good Governance in the Church

Department: Theology and Ministry

THMN44630: Money Matters and The Church: The Theology and Practice of Good Governance in the Church

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2014/15 Module Cap


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • The module will be taught over two periods of residence and will fulfil the following aims:
  • 1. To enable students to reflect critically on the Christian response to wealth and money and how it is managed by the Church, in dialogue with secular disciplines of financial management and charity law.
  • 2. To enable students to suggest new approaches to governance and financial management which will facilitate mission in the light of their own critical reflection on current practice.
  • 3. To provide students with an in depth understanding of the development of the Christian tradition of stewardship, wealth, the appropriate use of money and charity.
  • 4. To enable students to reflect critically on their personal experience of handling money and that of a local church and to relate this experience to the learning from the module.


  • The module will
  • a) Trace the development of Christian thinking concerning money, wealth and stewardship from Biblical scholarship, Christian ethics, Church history and missiology.
  • b) Consider the implications of this for the contemporary financial management in the governance of the Church at all levels.
  • c) Examine the Church as a charity, exploring how this relates to the relationship between Church and State, politics and the new charity framework.
  • d) Explore related notions of fund raising, giving, social benefit and the ‘Big Society’.
  • e) Examine the relationship between faith, risk and mission Below is an indicative summary of topics which may be included:
  • 1. Biblical perspectives on money, property and wealth. Old and New Testament approaches. Stewardship, wisdom, the nature of the Kingdom of God.
  • 2. God as provider, divine providence.
  • 3. The history of Church and its attitude towards money and use of money. The social gospel and serving the poor.
  • 4. Discipleship and personal use of money.
  • 5. Christian Ethics and wealth creation, attitudes to money, saving and spending.
  • 6. Church and State. The Charity framework and Church accounting, trusteeship.
  • 7. Effective fund raising – the issues
  • 8. Mission, risk and money
  • 9. Business planning and wise governance
  • 10. Macro business planning in the dioceses, districts, regions.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Upon successful completion of the module the students should have knowledge of :
  • The biblical approaches to money, wealth and stewardship
  • The way Christian ethics address the issue of wealth
  • The Church as a registered charity and the legal obligations this entails
  • Strategic financial planning and management for the church
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Upon successful completion of the module the students should have:
  • Reflected critically on attitudes concerning money and wealth within the Christian Tradition.
  • Set the tradition within the contemporary context and explored the implications of this for stewardship and governance within the Church
  • Critically evaluated financial management and planning in at least two case studies and examined the congruence and diversity between these and contemporary research and understanding from biblical teaching and Christian ethics
  • Demonstrated their ability to critically evaluate current financial management models and understand and apply an accounting framework to church and ministerial practice.
  • Understand financial accounts, interpreted them correctly and developed a business plan involving financial planning and risk assessment in the context of the mission and practice of the church.
Key Skills:
  • Upon successful completion of the module, students should have:
  • Acquired and synthesised information through reading and research and presented it clearly and effectively in written format.
  • Developed research based skills
  • Effectively communicated orally complex theological and ethical ideas, the evaluation of practice in a clear, concise and engaging manner.

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

  • The methods will vary, incorporating
  • 1. Lectures: to convey information and exemplify an approach to the subject-matter, enabling students to develop a clear understanding of the subject matter
  • 2. Small group discussions: to promote deeper critical engagement with the subject, to offer opportunity for developing and exploring questions relating to the subject-matter of the course and to encourage self-reflection and modelling of good practice through interaction with students and staff.
  • 3. Critical reflection in small group discussions on ‘real life’ examples.
  • Summative Assessment:
  • 1.5 hour seminar presentation of a case study of a local church’s financial management system and reflections for mission and ministry in that context. The seminar assesses the student’s ability to critique the financial management of a local church and assess the implications of this for the life of the church. The implications should be informed by the students understanding of mission and ministry in that particular context.
  • A 3000 word essay which offers a development of the theological reflection on the case study presented in the seminar. The essay requires the student to integrate their theological understanding of the use and management of money and financial matters within the life of the church. This is an opportunity for the student to develop their theological understanding of the issues they raise in the seminar.
  • Formative Assessment:
  • Create a business plan for the local church with reasoned commentary. This assessment enables students to develop the skills of analysis and planning for a church they are familiar with and give a detailed explanation for their business plan.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 12 Blocks 1 & 2 1.5 hours 18
Seminars 8 Block 2 1.5 hours 12
Case Study 2 Blocks 1 & 2 1 hour 2
Independent preparation & reading 268
Total Hours 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3000 words 100%
Component: Seminar presentation Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Seminar 90 minutes 100%

Formative Assessment:

To create a business plan for the local church

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