The Development of Core Qualities
By Dave Gemmell
Ministerial Training to be Optimized
A team of educators and ministerial directors will be meeting May 16, 17 in a continuing conversation about how to reduce redundancies and deficiencies in the four stages of pastoral development. At this meeting the Curriculum Collaboration Council will look at how each of the Core Qualities can be distributed effectively over the undergraduate, graduate, internship, and continuing education journey.
Pathway to Effective Ministry Summit
For many years the need for a more coordinated approach to the professional development of pastors has been voiced. On September 6-8, 2014, representatives from the pastoral workforce, administrators, ministerial directors, and educators came together for a Pathways to Effective Ministry Summit to assess the existing state of pastoral development and envision a preferred future where pastors could be serving at their most effective level.
One of the keys to coordination of all of the partners in pastoral development was research to discover the Core Qualities that make for effective ministry. In anticipation of the summit, hundreds of key constituents were asked to name seven things that they see in effective pastors. The surveys were filled out outline by pastors, ministerial directors, administrators, and religious educators. Thousands of descriptors came in and a research team collated the responses, distilling them down to 77. The researchers then categorized them into seven affinity groups that described the Core Qualities of effective ministry.
Next these groups and their descriptors were validated by several focus groups across the North American Division. These groups went through the same process that the online participants had engaged in. As they pinned their descriptors on the board it was discovered time and again that their descriptors seemed to match the online survey descriptors.
Another method of validation used to confirm the Core Qualities was asking conference presidents to name the most effective pastors in their conferences. These were compared to all of the pastors in the conference and the report suggested that the most effective pastors were rated higher in their descriptors then the average of all of the pastors in the conference.
Core Qualities Document
Since the initial research, Core Qualities have been refined incrementally by important focus groups. A copy of the current Core Quality document can be found here:
(Core Qualities March 2016.pdf)
North American Division Actions
Many recommendations came from the summit and were passed on to the North American Division. As a result both the NAD executive committee in December of 2014 and North American Division Board of Ministerial and Theological Education in October 2015 voted to:
‘establish a Curriculum and Praxis Council (Curriculum Collaboration Council) of college, university, seminary, religious educators and practicing ministers in association with the NAD Ministerial and Education Departments with the charge to:
1) Explore common learning outcomes for the religion majors in NAD colleges and universities and
2) to suggest proper intern mentoring and appropriate continuing education approaches during the early years of ministry.’
Four Stages of Pastoral Development
The mission of the Curriculum Collaboration Council is to integrate the Core Quality descriptors into the four stages of pastoral development:
1) Undergraduate Ministerial Training
2) Master of Divinity
3) Internship leading to Ordination/Commissioning
4) Continuing Education
To insure that there were no redundancies or deficiencies, the Curriculum Collaboration Council is currently working to divide up each descriptor into five levels of proficiency:
1 – Novice
(Is aware of this attribute, but only beginning to practice/gain knowledge about it)
2 – Emerging
(values this trait and is developing a framework of knowledge/practical skills)
3 – Competent
(possesses the basic requisite knowledge/practical skills and applies them consistently in the practice of ministry)
4 – Proficient
(is able to analyze complex situations and apply knowledge/skills related to this trait)
5 – Expert
(excels in knowledge/skills related to this trait and combine this knowledge/skill creatively with the knowledge/skills related to other traits to deal with new challenges and opportunities)
Proficiency Assignments to Four Stages
At the May 2015 Curriculum Collaboration Council the group worked on assigning levels of proficiency to each of the four stages of pastoral development. The complete list can be found in this document: (Assignment of Proficiencies.docx)
Development of Descriptor Student Learning Outcomes
As the curriculum collaboration council members begin to build Student Learning Outcomes for each of these descriptors they may wish to include these three approaches to learning:
1) Knowing (knowledge acquisition)
2) Doing (Knowledge application)
3) Being (Critical Thinking)
Tools such as Bloom’s taxonomy may be helpful in choosing verbs appropriate for each proficiency level.
Posting Descriptors Online
Collaborators are invited to share their proposals for Student Learning Outcomes with Dave Gemmell, Associate Director of NAD Ministerial, (firstname.lastname@example.org) and he will post the accumulating work of the team below. Click here to find a blank template. (Descriptor Worksheet.docx)
May 16, 17 2016 Curriculum Council
The next Curriculum Collaboration Council is scheduled for May 16, 17 at College View Church, Lincoln, Nebraska. Items for discussion include further work on the student learning outcomes and integration into curriculum.
Click on any of the Core Qualities below to look at some of the suggestions that have come in so far in building out student learning outcomes for each descriptor.