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Online Practical Theology Short Courses
Trinity College Glasgow & Theology & Religious Studies, University of Glasgow

Course Description

This course offers a way of reflecting on and engaging with the cultural challenges to faith and Christian practice since the rise of digital media and the recent rapid move into church presence online. Biblical and theological perspectives combined with insights from history and the social sciences will provide lenses through which to understand and evaluate a variety of online church and mission practices. Opportunities that digital technology offers for mission and ministry will be explored along with the development of some skills in crafting material for the online environment. This course is suitable for participants in church and mission environments looking for a practical theology based introduction to the digital ministry field and those thinking through the leadership implications for their ministry and vocation.

This is an open access course available as a 10-credit course (accredited by the University of Glasgow) or audit-only for those who just wish to engage with the learning programme for their own personal benefit.



John Drane and Olive Fleming Drane have shared a passion for a radical approach to Christian discipleship since they were young teens. John has written many books on missional topics as well as two best-selling books on the Bible which have been translated into more than ninety languages.

Olive has extensive experience of working with Christians of many different traditions, notably through her use of clowning in ministry which is the subject of her book Clowns, Storytellers, Disciples. She is also the author of Spirituality to Go: rituals and reflections for everyday living, as well as numerous articles in journals and encyclopaedias.


They bring extensive experience of online teaching, most recently with doctoral candidates at Fuller Seminary, California, where they have been teaching together for more than 20 years.


They have both been involved in Fresh Expressions from its inception and were instrumental in the development of the mission-shaped ministry course. Olive is a Visiting Fellow of St John’s College, Durham, and John is also currently co-chair of the Mission Theology Advisory Group (a partnership between the Church of England and Churches Together in Britain & Ireland).


Timetable & Duration

Jan 23rd - March 27th, 2023

This course will take place online on Monday evenings, 7.00pm-9.00pm. This course will be taught over 9 weeks (incuding a break on 27th February) via online real-time meetings & instruction and after class activities.


Introduction to the course

This course will aim to:

  • Introduce participants to perspectives with which to interpret changes to the practice of Christian devotion and church life brought on by the accelerating move into digital culture.

  • Develop confidence and skills in negotiating new challenges to ministry and mission at individual and community levels by exploring creative resources, digital religion and fresh approaches to church.

  • Offer a learning experience that engages in practical theological reflection using participants experience and concerns.

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Explain key factors shaping the shift to digital ministry and mission.

  • Analyse some challenges this presents to existing faith and church practice.

  • Apply approaches from historical & contemporary, liturgical, and digital sources, to the creative task of navigating hybrid ministry and mission within digital culture.

  • Practice skills in digital multi-media to present their learning.


Course information

This course is conducted online. The directed online instruction will be explored in weekly real-time conversations along with materials and interaction using the learning platform Moodle. Zoom as an online meeting tool will be used for the real-time conversations and online group times. Access to these tools will be supported by the course administration. More information about the use of these will be provided once enrolled.

Learners may choose to undertake assessments, and thus qualify for 10 credit points towards a Higher Education certificate or Glasgow University approved theology programme, or may engage with the learning programme for their own personal benefit without the final assessments. 

If you take the course for credit, the formal assessment for this course consists of the following:

  • a written review of two books from the reading list, including an account of how the author’s concepts or argument challenges frameworks and practices of ministry and mission in your own setting (800 words, 40%).

  • portfolio: a collection of 5 short (3 minute) digital journal reflections (using video blog or other audio-visual forms) canvassing key learning themes and materials from the course, and presented in social media broadcastable form (60%).



*Priority Area subsidy available for this course. Please contact for more information.

Funds or subsidies may also be available through your own church for training or study purposes and we encourage you to approach them with the details of the course.

Closing date

Applications close Wednesday 7th December 2022.

How to Apply


Formal Applications open Autumn 2022. Notify your interest now via email:


These courses are delivered through the University of Glasgow. We will contact you with more information and guidance regarding applying, completing your details and payment in time for the course start date. If you have any questions regarding the process, you can contact us on the above email address. 

If you have any difficulties with this process – please contact Heather (office administrator) at:

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