Do seminaries teach practical ministry?

In seminary much of the coursework, depending on where you go, is geared toward making you an effective preacher, evangelist or scholar. You can’t get out without studying original languages (except at Yale Divinity School, which was why I went there!), systematic theology, preaching, church history and so on. But are schools that train ministers effectively training them for practical areas of ministry, such as pastoral care and counseling?

I use the term “practical” here as a way to distinguish between the more typical idea of ministry from the pulpit from the ministry that happens outside of it, such as chaplaincy and counseling.

Is there a gulf between ministry and counseling? Are they seen as not incompatible but effectively separate fields?

I’m interested to find out people’s experiences in terms of their training in and for the more practical parts of ministry that they had in seminary. At YDS for example, CPE was an option but not necessarily a requirement. There were a smattering of courses offered in the areas of pastoral care and counseling, but again these weren’t a requirement and the classes were rather small.

So what were your experiences? Please comment below and keep the conversation going…