Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module THMN44730: Ministerial Development in Trinitarian Perspective

Department: Theology and Ministry

THMN44730: Ministerial Development in Trinitarian Perspective

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Not available in 2014/15 Module Cap


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • The module will be taught over either 2 blocks or as a summer school of 5 days and will fulfil the following objectives:
  • 1. To enable students to discuss the value and importance of ‘doing theology’ as they wrestle with contemporary issues at the cutting edge of pastoral ministry.
  • 2. To enable students to readily appreciate the dynamic relational core of ministry, grounded in an understanding of God as a transcendent immanent Trinity of grace.
  • 3. To enable students to reflect critically on the essence of the gospel in terms of both its exclusive claims and its inclusive embrace of all humanity.
  • 4. To enable students to appreciate the contextual nature of the church in both its traditional and emerging forms, and to appreciate the tension between alternative approaches to pastoral leadership.


  • The overarching theological framework for the module is Trinitarian, and its conceptual core is shaped by the two key themes of participation and theologia viatorum (a theology for pilgrims on earth).
  • The module challenges what might be characterised as a myopic approach to pastoral ministry which focuses on a limited – and limiting - view of what is essentially a multifaceted pastoral reality. It will explore a range of issues that those in pastoral ministry today may need to address as they open their minds to different ways of thinking theologically about the nature and practice of Christian ministry. Below is an indicative summary of topics which may be included:
  • The Trinitarian shape of pastoral ministry
  • The value of thinking within a ‘both-and’ paradigm
  • Mystery, paradox and ambiguity in pastoral ministry
  • Theological perspectives on God and the gospel and their implications for ministry
  • Alternative ways of understanding the nature and role of the church Different theological perspectives on the nature of ministry
  • Perspectives on the nature of pastoral leadership
  • The eschatological orientation of Christian ministry

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Upon successful completion of the module students should have knowledge of:
  • 1. The contribution of Trinitarian thinking to the practice of pastoral ministry.
  • 2. The presence of paradox, ambiguity and mystery implicit in Christian ministry.
  • 3. The essence of ministry as participation in all that God is doing in his world.
  • 4. Insights into the nature of God, the gospel and pastoral ministry grounded in a paradigm of ‘both-and’ rather than the narrow perspective of ‘either-or’.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Upon successful completion of the module students should have:
  • 1. Developed skills in critically evaluating alternative theological approaches to Christian ministry, resulting in the development of new insights and perspectives within the framework of the doctrine of the Trinity.
  • 2. Reflected theologically on selected doctrinal and ethical issues in formulating a coherent and systematic understanding of their significance in a clearly-articulated theology of ministry.
  • 3. Learned how to apply conceptual tools in a wide range of ministry contexts, enabling personal ministry growth in addressing contemporary issues at the cutting edge of pastoral ministry.
  • 4. Learned how to apply knowledge and skills in a variety of practical ministry settings, demonstrating a mature judgment, independent decision-making and personal accountability.
Key Skills:
  • Upon successful completion of the module, students should have
  • 1. Demonstrated their ability as self reflective, critically aware practitioners
  • 2. Acquired and synthesised information through reading and research and presented that information clearly and effectively in written format
  • 3. Effectively communicated complex theological ideas orally 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 practical ministry situations.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures (including small group discussion and plenary sessions) 16 Blocks 1 & 2 1 hour 16
Tutorials 2 Block 2 2 hours 4
Seminars 8 Blocks 1 & 2 1 hour 8
Practical 2 Block 2 1 hour 2
Independent Preparation & Reading 270
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3000 words 100%
Component: Minor paper or context-based project Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Minor paper or context-based project 2000 words 100%
Component: Seminar-based presentation & submitted notes Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Seminar-based presentation & submitted notes 30 minutes & 1000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Review of a book dealing with a theological evaluation of contemporary pastoral ministry – the review to be taken from a select bibliography or of a book agreed with the module co-ordinator. The assignment to be in note form of 1,500 words – weighting 100%

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