Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Bridging the Word and the World

10/4 2019

Inside the PTS Curriculum: Introduction to Urban Ministry


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The “Inside the PTS Curriculum” series gives you an inside look at what students are learning in their courses at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Each article focuses on one class, its subject matter, what students can expect to learn, the required texts, and the kinds of assignments students can expect. We’ll let you know whether the course is required or available for the Master of Divinity (MDiv), the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS), or Master of Theological Studies (MTS). Each article will include the professors’ bio.

This week’s course is “Introduction to Urban Ministry.”

Drew Smith, Professor Urban Ministry

About Introduction to Urban Ministry

During this term, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary students will be learning about urban ministry with the Rev. Dr. R. Drew Smith in the class “Introduction to Urban Ministry.” This is a required course for the Graduate Certificate in Urban Ministry and is also open to students in the Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree, Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS) degree, or Master of Theology (MTS) degree program.

This course . Attention is given to helping students discern their vocational call in the context of city life and Christian witness in this arena. Further, this course explores social factors and theological premises impacting and influencing ministry approaches to urban contexts, circumstances, and populations. Students also learn about analytical tools (both theological and sociological) that are helpful in critiquing ministry approaches to ever-evolving demographic, cultural, psycho-social, and sociostructural complexities of 21st century urban life.

As to required texts, student will read Urban Ministry Reconsidered: Contexts and Approaches, edited by Dr. Smith, Stephanie C. Boddie, and Ronald E. Peters. Students will also complete three two-page discussion papers plus a final paper and presentation.

About the Instructor

Both a political scientist and a clergyman, the Rev. Dr. R. Drew Smith has initiated and directed a number of projects related to religion and public life which have collected research data on political involvements, community development activities, and outreach ministries of churches, especially African-American churches. He has also conducted similar research in South Africa, including while serving in 2005 as a Fulbright professor at the University of Pretoria. His overseas involvements additionally include serving in 2009 as a Fulbright senior specialist at Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Cameroon and lecturing in many international venues including as part of the U.S. State Department’s Speakers Bureau. He has served since 2010 as co-convener of the Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race, an initiative that convenes scholars, religious leaders, and community activists from across the transatlantic region for purposes of advancing progressive approaches to persistent racial problems in various contexts. An ordained a Baptist clergyman, Professor Smith is a graduate of Indiana University and Yale University.

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