Pastoral Theology

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Christian Ministry Resoures

Pastoral Theology for Church Leaders

**See the closely related guide on Ministry Ethics and Ministry Burnout/Self-Care.


First, let’s define the term. Many whose training has been more pragmatic and “skills-based” (which is good, but not adequate in itself) may be unfamiliar with pastoral theology. Others who are more theologically trained may prefer the term “practical theology” over “pastoral theology.” Not all would draw a distinction between the two, but the literature of the field usually does.

As used on, practical theology, sometimes called “applied theology,” applies the classic theological truths of Christianity to the practices of the church such as worship, mission, preaching, etc. A theology of preaching is a practical theology, as would be a theology of pastoral care, etc. Pastoral theology is a kind of practical theology, but with a narrower focus on the role of Christian leaders. As pastoral theology, it reflects theologically on work of “pastoring” or “shepherding” the flock. Authors often use the terms practical and pastoral theology interchangeably, and there is enough common ground between them to merit this. But when categorizing the literature, especially that which comes from the United States, it often helps to separate them.

There are many other sections of practical theology on this site. Please refer to the bottom of the page for related resource listings. See especially the closely related guide on Strengthening and Renewing the Ministry Call.

Introductions to the Importance of Theological Work

Introduction and Overview of Pastoral Theology

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General Works on Pastoral Theology

Theologies Based on the Ministry of Jesus

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Theologies Based on the Ministry of Paul

Theologies Based on Other Biblical Characters

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Theologies Based on Social Backgrounds and Biblical Metaphors

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Theologies Based on Classical Traditions

Theologies Based on the Tasks of Ministry

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Theologies for those New to Ministry

Related Ministry Resources

See Other Resources on Minister Self-Care and Preventing Burnout:

See Other Resources on Christian Leadership:

See Resources on Over 100 Areas of Christian Ministry:

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