On numerous occasions, including a quantitative/qualitative study of pastors at a Lide-Walker Conference almost 10 years ago noted the need of ministers to be better equipped in the area of counseling and pastoral care. This need cannot be fully met by simply placing more PC requirements on M.Div. seminarians. A solution is to have new tracks that specially equip ministers with this skill set.
The primary elements of the program are as follows:
1. Built around the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) structured system. This system is used throughout the world for training ministers and chaplains, built off of 4 to 5 units of CPE. This is either done as four separate units (400 hours per unit), or one unit, and a year of residency entailing 4 more units (resulting in 5 total units). For M.Div., the program would entail completing two full units. For MA, only one full unit is required.
2. The residential CPE units are certified by both CPSP-Philippines and CPSP (US). As such are widely accepted worldwide (noting of course that there are dozens of certifiers worldwide– many of whom protect their territories with vigor). For MA, since it may be done non-residentially, it is possible that the single unit of CPE may not be CPSP recognized. However, the program must be approved by PBTS as an equivalent course of study.
3. The intent of the program is to draw deep from two wells from which modern pastoral care draws from. One of these is Historical Pastoral Care–with 2000 years of wisdom within the church. The other is the Clinical Pastoral Care movement that draws from both theological sources and the social sciences. In line with that, the trainee is expected to be able to integrate his or her own theology with practice, and have a clear sense of self as a pastoral individual.
4. The graduate should be well-positioned to transition into chaplain roles, church pastoral staffs, or mission agency support staff.