Michael S. Koppel
Howard Chandler Robbins Professor of Pastoral Theology and Congregational Care, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

A native of California, Michael Koppel is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and has served as campus minister, local church pastor, clinical pastoral education supervisor, hospice chaplain, and youth minister in California, Ohio, and New York. Dr. Koppel teaches and researches in the field of pastoral theology and care ministries, and serves as faculty advisor to the Presbyterian Student Fellowship. He has received four research awards: the Pulpit and Pew Pastoral Leadership Dissertation Fellowship (2001-2002); the Wabash Center for Teaching Theology and Religion Faculty Fellowship (2005-2006); the Yale Theological Renewal Award (2006-2007); and, the ATS Research Grant (2007-2008). Michael enjoys the self-care practices of swimming, bicycling, and hiking.

Contact Information

Courses Taught

  • Counseling Skills for Pastoral Ministry
  • Creative Play in Pastoral Ministry
  • Cross Cultural Pastoral Care
  • Death, Dying and Bereavement
  • Graceful Eldercare: Ministry With the Aging
  • Soul Rhythms: Music and Care Ministry, taught with Eileen Guenther
  • PMM: Practice in Ministry and Mission Colloquy
  • Pastoral Care and Counseling in Contexts
  • Spirituality of Pastoral Care and Counseling



  • University of California, Davis, B.A.
  • Yale University Divinity School, M.Div.
  • Claremont School of Theology, M.A., Ph.D




  • Grounded in the Living Word: The Hebrew Bible and Pastoral Care Practices, with co-author Denise Dombkowski Hopkins (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010).
  • Open-Hearted Ministry: Play as Key to Pastoral Leadership(Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2008).


  • "Pastoral Implications," Lectionary Homiletics 19, no. 6 (October-November 2008): 42, 65-66.
  • "Living for the Dance," Teaching Theology & Religion 10, no. 3 (July 2007): 184-185.
  • "Playing Church: Toward Critically Creative Pastoral Practices," Pastoral Psychology 55, no. 4 (March 2007): 431-440. Review of Spiritual Education: Literary, Empirical and Pedagogical Approaches, ed. Cathy Ota and Clive Erricker, Religious Education 102, no. 2 (Spring 2007): 234-236.
  • "Self Psychology and End of Life Pastoral Care," Pastoral Psychology, Vol. 53 (2), November 2004, pp. 139-151.
  • "Structuring Chaos," The Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling, Vol. 58 (3), Fall 2004, pp. 257- 259.
  • "A Pastoral Theological Reflection on Play in the Ministry," The Journal of Pastoral Theology, Vol. 13 (1), June 2003, pp. 3-12.
  • "Practicing Forgiveness," Weekly Disciple Companion: A Resource from Wesley Theological Seminary, (2003).
  • "An Examination of How Adult and Theological Education Literature Informs the Practice of Clinical Pastoral Care: A Critical Review," The Journal of Pastoral Care, Vol. 54 (1), Spring 2000, pp. 11-21.
  • "A Jungian Perspective on Therapy at the End of Life," Pastoral Psychology, Vol. 48 (1), September 1999, pp. 45-56.
  • "Seminar Summary of ‘Ecotherapy' Lecture by Dr. Howard Clinebell," Process Perspectives, Vol. 22 (1), Spring 1999, p. 12. 

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