Pastoral Theology in a Missional Mode by Michael W. Goheen

May 4, 2018

Pastoral Theology in a Missional Mode

Michael W. Goheen

Michael Goheen (Ph.D. Utrecht) is Professor and Director of Theological Education at Missional Training Center, Phoenix and professor of missional theology at Covenant Theological Seminary, St Louis, Missouri.

Abstract: In this article I argue for the renewal of pastoral theology from a missional mode. This approach to pastoral theology offers rich resources addressing critical areas of contemporary concern. This article is more than just academic reflection. In fact, this reflects a curricular work in progress at Missional Training Center, Phoenix, Arizona—an extension site of Covenant Theological Seminary, St Louis, Missouri. For the past six years we have been attempting some creative approaches to theological education based on the rich insights from the 1960s—1980s offered by Western mission leaders and Southern hemisphere church leaders on theological education in a missional mode. I am especially indebted to the insights of Lesslie Newbigin, Harvie Conn, and David Bosch, and will draw primarily on their work in this article.
I begin by briefly exposing the roots of this problematic view of pastoral
theology. I then sketch the missional turn in the 20th century and note its considerable impact beginning with ecclesiology, and then on theology and leadership. This understanding of mission provides a solid theological foundation for the renewal of pastoral theology. Finally, I work out some of the significant implications of this missional turn for rethinking pastoral theology.
Key Words: Pastoral Theology, Missional Ecclesiology, Missio Dei, Pragmatism, Professionalization of Ministry

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