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THMM500 Contemporary Approaches to Pastoral Practice, Communication and Group Processes and THMM509 Theology for Mission and Ministry


THMM602 Supervision as Ministry

Teaching organisation

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning. The total includes formally structured learning activities such as lectures, tutorials, online learning, video-conferencing, or supervision. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment. 

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit introduces students to the understanding and practice of supervision as a ministry within the context of the church. It explores the way supervision is a synthesis of relationship, process, event and skill that is an essential component of pastoral ministry designed to enhance the quality of the service people offer to others. In the Christian context, supervision as ministry assists learning about, and fosters, good ministry practice. Theological reflection becomes the language of supervision in Christian ministry.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Demonstrate critical thinking about the nature of supervision in the context of ministry and its theological foundations; (GA4, GA5); 

LO2 - Critique the value of group supervision as part of the in-class experience of supervision (GA4, GA5, GA7); 

LO3 - Formulate their own approach to supervision (GA5, GA8). 

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


Topics will include:

•     Exploring a theological framework for supervision.

•     The nature of supervision, its boundaries and its context.

•     Ethical practice in supervision.

•     Learning Covenants and how adults learn.

•     Preparation for supervision, the supervisory session and building the relationship.

•     Theological reflection, models and methods, and integrity in theology.

·     Transference and countertransference in supervision

·     Evaluation and concluding the supervisory relationship

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

 This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning. The total includes formally structured learning activities such as lectures, tutorials, online learning, video-conferencing, or supervision. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment.

Adult learning theory frames this unit’s exploration of the collaborative ministry between pastoral ministers, members of faith communities and clergy in the exploration of their placement cultures. In particular, transformative learning theory informs the unit’s approach to learning about ecclesial cultures as an attitude or orientation to ministry, while guiding the development of appropriate pastoral ministry tools for pastoral planning.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. Such procedures may include, but are not limited to: essays, reports, examinations, student presentations, case studies and online interactive student performance tasks. They will be sequenced in order to provide scaffolding for learning.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Short Written Paper eg: A 500 word paperer on the theological and ecclesiological foundations of supervision in a pastoral context.



GA4, GA5

Reflective Journaling Presentation eg. Based on their reflective praxis, students will present a case to the group for a facilitated group supervision. The learning from the supervision will then incorporated into a pastoral analysis of the case.


LO1, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA8

Verbal or written presentation on Group Supervision eg: Students will compile an understanding of the way group supervision operates, the dynamics that the students observed in the class practice, the benefits of group v individual supervision, and the pitfalls of supervision by group


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8

Representative texts and references

Killen, Patricia O’Connell and de Beer, John. The Art of Theological Reflection. New York: Crossroad, 1994.

Leach, Jane, and Michael Paterson. Pastoral Supervision: A Handbook. SCM Press, 2015.

Paver, John. Theological Reflection and Education for Ministry. Aldershot, U.K.: Ashgate, 2006.

Pelling, Nadine, John Barletta and Philip Armstrong, eds. The Practice of Clinical Supervision. Brisbane: Australian Academic Press, 2009.

Pohly, Kenneth. Transforming the Rough Places: The Ministry of Supervision. 2nd ed. Franklin, TN.: Providence House, 2001.

Proctor, Brigid. Group Supervision: A Guide to Creative Practice. London: Sage, 2000.

Pyle, William T. and Mary Alice Seals, eds. Experiencing Ministry Supervision: A Field-Based Approach. Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1995.

Stone, Howard W. and James O. Duke. How To Think Theologically. 2nd ed. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2006.

Taylor, E., & Cranton, P. (2012). The handbook of transformative learning theory, research, and practice (1st ed)., Jossey-Bass higher and adult education series). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Uniting Church in Australia. “Professional Supervision: Introducing a Process of Reflection on Ministry Experience.” Assembly Standing Committee, 2011.

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