The role of pastors in vibrant churches is established in the literature, but the nature of their influence as shepherd-teachers has not been probed. This case study looks at how a senior-pastor shaped congregational culture, impacting educational vision and adult faith formation at a Congregational church in New England. Through careful listening to stories of pastors and church members and participation in various faith events, the researcher sought insider perspectives to the research question. The study revealed an effective pastor as a servant shepherd-leader who has earned the trust of his congregation over many years and who possesses a pastoral imagination to respond appropriately to unique faith contexts. The study also suggests that an effective pastor is an adaptive shepherd-teacher who views faith formation as integrated within the total life of the congregation ad creatively shapes core ministries into faith-forming experiences. This ethnographic study, applied in congregational contexts, emphasizes the importance of Christian education in the theological curriculum for the formation of shepherd-teachers. It also teaches seminary students that effective pastoral ministry always begins with attending to the rich and textured stories of the people they serve.
Key Words: pastors, ethnography, theological education, educational leadership, congregational culture
While a syllabus can helpfully outline the various topics and expectations for a course ("explicit" curriculum), it is increasingly realized that all learning is framed by an "implicit" curriculum. These "implicit" values and convictions about pedagogy that instructors (and students) bring to the classroom greatly influence the quality of learning, but they are often unexamined or unexpressed. Effective learning happens when these values are shared, explored and critiqued in the class. In this essay, the author provides practical ideas and suggestions to explore the pedagogical values of instructors and students. His goal is to deepen the learning experience through fostering community and a culture of learning in the classroom.
The purpose of this qualitative, cross-sectional study of Master of Divinity students in Toronto was to explore their understandings of spirituality and its relationship to public life and social issues. While there were shared themes in the seminarians'?? perceptions of spirituality across the theological traditions, this study demonstrates significant differences exist regarding how spirituality is best expressed. Apart from students in the Jesuit tradition, there was little connection between Christian spirituality and public life. The essay concludes with theological reflections and educational implications