Poorman brings together ethics and pastoral practice in an interactional model that captures the distinctive character of Christian pastoral counseling. His work is especially important in a culture that often confuses pastoral counseling with therapy. It also challenges traditional notions which portray the pastoral minister as an instructor who dispenses the church's moral teaching. Poorman distinguishes the pastoral task from that of therapist or teacher, while drawing on the best resources of contemporary psychology and moral development theories. He brings moral theology into lively conversation with pastoral experience; at the same time, his clear presentation brings a critical method of moral discernment to Christian ministry which is rooted in faith and the wisdom of the community.