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The Department of the Church's Ministry

The Department of the Church's Ministry engages in practical theology, which consists of critical and constructive theological reflection on the practices of the community of faith. God calls people through the church to engage in a number of diverse practices in the course of Christian ministry. This department organizes these practices into the following areas: Christian Education, Leadership and Administration, Mission and Evangelism, Pastoral Care, and Preaching and Worship. Each of these areas of theological inquiry finds its roots in scripture, its foundational doctrines articulated within the tradition, its practices changing throughout history, and its methods in conversation with the social sciences. Consequently through biblical and historical study, theological analysis, and interdisplinary dialogue, this department assists students to gain the understanding and skills necessary to being faithful participants in the ministry of the church.


To view videos from each of the professors in the department, click on their "profiles" below.

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Rev. Dr. Philip Helsel

Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care 
Faculty Information
Department(s) Church's Ministry Department, Faculty
Title(s) Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care
Contact Information
Work Phone
Trull #111 
Other Information

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Listen to Dr. Helsel's sermons here



BA, Anderson University, 2000, summa cum laude, Bible and religion

MDiv, Princeton Theological Seminary, 2004, pastoral counseling

PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary, 2012



Dr. Philip Browning Helsel joined the faculty of Austin SEminary in 2016. He previously served on the faculty of Boston College School of Theology and Ministry in Brighton, Massachusetts, where he has been assistant professor of pastoral care and counseling since 2012. His courses there included: Introduction to Pastoral Care and Counseling, Integrating Faith, Counseling, and Services of Justice, and Trauma and Addiction. Active in many organizations, he has served as co-chair of the Group on Interreligious and Intercultural Pastoral Theology for the Society for Pastoral Theology, and he was a member of the Advisory Group on Clinical Pastoral Education for the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Committee on Ministry for Boston Presbytery.

Helsel earned his PhD in pastoral theology and practical theology from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2012. He also holds the MDiv in pastoral care and counseling from Princeton Theological Seminary (2004) and the BA, summa cum laude, in Bible and religion from Anderson University (2000). Helsel is ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and was parish associate for pastoral care at Freehold Presbyterian Church in Freehold, New Jersey.

Helsel published his first book, Pastoral Power Beyond Psychology’s Marginalization: Resisting the Discourses of the Psy-Complex (Palgrave Macmillan, New Approaches to Religion & Power Series) in 2015 and has authored numerous journal articles and book chapters. He also serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling.


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