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THEO 6710 Introduction to Practical Theology (Drovdahl)


Course assignments:

1.  Major project (8-10 pages or equivalent material):  The usefulness of a course in practical theology depends on improving the practice of ministry.  Learning in practical theology which does not translate into improved experiences of Christians under our influence is surely “use-less” learning.  In a chosen area of practical theology (for professional formation), design a means of responding to a current situation important to your ministry practice (Objectives #2 and #5).  Your goal is to answer this question: How would we practice ________ more faithfully if we listened carefully to people’s experience and discerned God’s guidance for our practice?  80 points

      Evaluation Rubric:  The paper/project will be evaluated based on accomplishing Osmer’s four tasks of practical theology:

      1. Does the project effectively describe the situation (priestly listening)?   

      2. Does the interpretation of the situation demonstrate insight and perspective, using social science research and theory (sagely


      3. How well is the normative theological rationale developed (prophetic discernment)?

      4. How creative and workable are the pragmatic design elements of the project (servant leadership)?

2.  Two book reviews (4-5 pages each): This assignment provides an opportunity to read practical theologians working in the area of professional formation and either personal formation or public formation.  Choose a topic (or theologian) you wish to explore in two of these three areas:

Personal formation: forgiveness, hospitality, spiritual disciplines, death/dying, etc.

*Professional formation: Homiletics, pastoral care, catechesis, evangelism, etc. Public formation: poverty, education, environment, health, war, etc.

Public formation: poverty, education, environment, health, war, etc.


*One of the two reviews must be in a professional formation field

Find five sources (books or scholarly articles) on this topic.  Choose one of the books and prepare a review of the book (Objectives #1 and #3).  Include a bibliography for the five sources.  40 points each review

      Evaluation Rubric: The reviews will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

      1. Does the review evaluate the book using Osmer’s four tasks of theology?

      2. Are specific examples of each task identified?

      3. How well is the quality of the source identified and defended?

      4. What is the quality of the “Top Five” resources for this topic or theologian?

      5. How well does the review critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the book?

3.  Article review (Outline and presentation): I decided not to include an anthology or reader in practical theology as an assigned text.  This means we do not have a required text that introduces us to key writers in the field.  Since an important outcome in any introductory course is to learn something of the history, “major players,” and schools of thought in a discipline, this assignment will help achieve this outcome (Objective #4).  You will be asked to read a particular article, prepare an outline of the article, and explain to the class what this article contributes to the field of practical theology.  20 points

Power Point Presentation