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PAST320 Church in Mission: Theology in Changing Cultures

A theologically rigorous and culturally informed understanding of re-forming Christian communal identity, bringing together perspectives of global theology, contemporary cultures and ecclesial study in a critical and constructive dialogue.

Paper title Church in Mission: Theology in Changing Cultures
Paper code PAST320
Subject Pastoral Studies
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $868.95
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,656.70

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One 200-level PAST or PASX
MINS 412
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Theology
Any student can study Theology, whether they are of the Christian faith, another faith or of no religious faith at all. Theology is an examination of the scriptures, history, content and relevance of the Christian faith, but it presupposes or requires no Christian commitment from students. All it requires is an inquiring mind and an interest in those skills that can be gained through the study of any subject in the Humanities.
Academic Liaison: Professor Paul Trebilco (
Teaching staff
Rev Dr Doug Gay
Rev Dr Steve Taylor
Paper Structure
This paper will cover 8 topics:
  • Being church in context: Theology
  • Being church in context: Culture
  • Mapping cultural hermeneutics
  • Critical voices 1: Church in resistance
  • Critical voices 2: Church in innovation
  • Critical voices 3: Church in indignity
  • Leading change: Agency
  • Leading change: Systems
  • 2,500-word case study (40%)
  • 2,500-word field study (40%)
  • Online group wiki assignment (20%)
Teaching Arrangements
This paper is taught as a compulsory intensive block course in Dunedin, from Monday 22 January to Friday 26 January 2018.
There are two required textbooks for this paper:
  1. Norman Thomas (ed), Classic Texts in World Mission, Orbis, 1995.
  2. Steve Taylor, Built for Change, Mediacom, Australia, 2016.
A coursebook containing additional required readings has been prepared.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Global Perspective, Cultural Understanding, Critical Thinking, Information Literacy, Research Skills, Self-Motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
By the end of this paper the students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a global and in-depth understanding of the resources of the Christian tradition in relation to the interaction between theology and culture.
  2. Give a comprehensive account of the particular ecclesiological issues which arise from engaging in contextual mission and the development of new ecclesial communities.
  3. Analyse the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of theological responses to church in changing cultures.
  4. Identify resources to guide ministry practice in the reforming and reimagining of Christian ecclesial identity.
  5. Apply insights from the processes of the formation and development of reforming expressions of church in mission to the cultural complexity of the church in New Zealand today.

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system