Doctor of Ministry
The Fuller Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree program is a learning community encouraging and equipping leaders for mission and ministry in changing times.
The Doctor of Ministry is a professional degree granted by the School of Theology. The DMin degree is designed to serve the needs and ministry goals of pastors, missionaries, mission executives, church leaders, and other ministry leaders. The DMin program is a distance-learning program, ensuring that students are able to remain active in their ministry while they complete the components of the degree.
The program of study combines rigorous, theological reflection with theoretical and tested ministry models, applied to the student’s ministry context. Courses are taught by experienced professors with proven expertise in developing and sustaining a continually growing ministry. The classroom becomes a learning community where students come to share as well as to learn.
General standards for admission to Fuller Theological Seminary may be found in the Admission Standards section of this catalog.
Admission to the Doctor of Ministry program at Fuller Seminary requires:
- One of the following theological master’s degrees: A Master of Divinity (or its equivalent), a theological Master of Arts of at least 80 quarter units (54 semester units), or a Masters of Arts in Global Leadership of at least 72 quarter units (48 semester units) from an approved accredited school. Those holding an MDiv degree may be admitted to the 48-unit DMin program; those holding an MA degree may be admitted to a special 60-unit program (plus language); those with an MAGL degree may be admitted to a special 64-unit track (plus language). To learn more about MDiv equivalency, please contact an advisor at 626.584.5315 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A current ministerial leadership position. The DMin program is designed for ministry leaders to earn their degree without leaving their current ministry context .
- A minimum of three years of ministerial leadership experience after receiving the MDiv, MA, or MAGL degree.
- A cumulative graduate grade point average of 3.0 or higher (3.0 on a 4.0 scale).
- One course in either New Testament Greek or Old Testament Hebrew. This requirement may also be met through a course in the DMin program.
- Evidence of academic writing and critical thinking ability in the form of a writing sample (see the online application for details).
- If the native language is not English, or the medium of instruction for all postsecondary education is not English, applicants must either submit an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 600 (paper test), 250 (computer test), or 100 (internet test) taken within the past two years, or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Academic Format, with a minimum score of 7.0 taken within the past two years. Note: Applicants for the Latino Ministry Cohort are not required to take the TOEFL or IELTS exams.
The Doctor of Ministry degree requires the completion of 48 quarter units of credit beyond the Master of Divinity degree, or 60 quarter units of credit (including language) beyond a two-year (80 quarter units or 54 semester units) theological MA degree, or 64 quarter units of credit (including language classes) beyond a two-year (72 quarter units or 48 semester units) theological MAGL degree.
Phase 1: DM711 Exploring the Contours of Ministry (4 units). All students in the Personalized Track begin with this 10-week online course. For the Personalized track, this course is the gateway to the Doctor of Ministry Program at Fuller and serves as a general orientation to the program and an introduction to the theological method and practices of the program.
Phase 2: Mentoring (4 units). After completing DM711, students in the personalized track will enter into a two-year mentoring/coaching course led by Terry Walling and Leader BreakThru. This practical seminar focuses on moving beyond just attending classes – and onto integrating a student’s DMin learning into a comprehensive personal growth experience. The goal is to maximize the intended learning and ministry transformation from their Doctor of Ministry program. It is achieved through the integration of personal learning and the assistance of a leadership development coach.
Phase 3: Seminars/Electives. After completing DM711, students in the Personalized Track will complete 32-48 units of electives (depending on program) from any courses under any subject area listed below. Students may choose from multiple Personalized Track subject areas:
- Spiritual Formation/Discipleship/Mentoring
- Personal and Congregational Care
- Culture and Theology
- Evangelism, Church Growth, and Church Planting
- Multicultural and Urban Ministries
- Preaching, Worship, and the Arts
- Missional Theology and the Missional Church
- Church Planting
- Pastoral Counseling
Courses are taught by faculty drawn from all three schools (School of Theology, School of Intercultural Studies, and School of Psychology), as well as adjunct professors who bring additional expertise. Personalized Track courses are taught as one-week intensives.
Phase 4: Doctoral Project (8 units). For additional details, see below.
The doctoral project is divided into two parts:
- DM710 Developing Your Doctoral Project Proposal, a 2-unit online course focused on developing the Doctoral Project Proposal. This course is offered three times a year, in the Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters.
- DM706 Doctoral Project. After the proposal is approved, students will register for the 6-unit Doctoral Project Writing course. In addition to tuition, there is a $250.00 fee, which covers two professional style and format reviews.
For additional details, see below.
Phase 1: Seminars (40 units).In cohort concentrations, the same group of students meet together online and for one- or two-week segments following a preset curriculum focused around the areas of interest listed below.
The students may join one of the cohorts currently available:
- Christian Spirituality
- Lideres Latinos en un Mundo Multicultural
- Urban Ministry
- Youth, Family, and Culture
- Spiritual Direction
- Holy Spirit Leadership
- Leading Change
- Urban Ministry
- African American Church Leadership
- Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation
- Recovery Ministry
- Lifelong Leadership Formation
Phase 2: Doctoral Project (8 units).
The doctoral project is divided into two parts:
- Students work with the cohort mentor to develop their Doctoral Project proposal. The cohort mentor will approve the final proposal.
- DM706 Doctoral Project. After the proposal is submitted and approved, students will register for the 8-unit doctoral project. In addition to tuition, there is a $250.00 fee, which covers two professional style and format reviews.
For additional details, see below.
The Doctoral Project serves as the culmination of the degree, providing students with an opportunity to integrate coursework and reflection, applying this learning to a particular ministry context. The intended result is a unique and practical contribution both to the student’s ministry and to the broader Christian community.
This project is a major ministry project: A biblically-based, theologically sound paper that explores and develops a strategy to address specific aspects of ministry in a particular context.
The Doctor of Ministry Office requires that students start their Doctoral Project at least two years before the time they hope to graduate and before their fourth year of study. Students are allowed to formally begin the Doctoral Project process once the following items have been completed:
- All admission requirements have been satisfactorily met, such as biblical language requirements, special projects, and changes from probation or special status to regular status in the program; and
- At least half of the coursework units must be completed and grades for this coursework posted to the student’s transcript.
Each course has three major components:
- Preparation, which must be completed prior to the class, consisting of various combinations of reading (up to 4,500 pages plus an additional 20 hours of class time for a 12-unit course; 3,000 pages for an 8-unit course; or 2,000 pages for a 4-unit course), working with audio or video tapes, and written assignments;
- A one- or two-week intensive period of classroom interaction; and
- An extensive post-seminar project, which synthesizes reading and class work and applies them to the student’s ministry situation, to be completed within four months after the class ends
The grade range is A, A-, B+, B, and B-. The lowest grade one can receive to pass a course is B-. The only grade below B- is an F. One grade of B- or lower will result in academic probation. Two grades of B- or lower will result in dismissal from the program.
Course Locations and Residency
Courses are primarily offered on the Pasadena campus. Courses are also scheduled at selected external sites. At least half of the degree course units must be completed on-site at a campus location.
Coursework for the Doctor of Ministry degree must be spread out over at least three years. However, all work for the D.Min. must be completed within six years from the time the first course is taken (eight years for the 60-unit and 64-unit tracks).
Christian Spirituality Cohort. The Christian Spirituality Cohort features a variety of different learning environments and structures that will allow students to engage spirituality both conceptually and practically. Students will explore the history and theology of Christian spirituality, the connection between spirituality and nature with special focus on Jürgen Moltmann’s theology of creation, and a cultural hermeneutic applied to the world in which they find themselves every day.
Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation Cohort. If the church is to make a difference in the 21st century, it needs to help its members integrate their faith and their work in a meaningful way. Increasingly, Christians are yearning to live whole lives in which their faith informs everything they do. They want to know that their work matters to God, that it makes a difference in the world for God’s kingdom, and that they are responding faithfully to God’s call through their daily work. Church and parachurch leaders are beginning to address this desire for integration and significance by investigating how work, economics, and vocation are essential to vital Christian faith. This Doctor of Ministry cohort challenges leaders to clarify the mission of the church as they investigate what the church is doing to equip disciples so they might devote their whole lives, including their work, to God and his purposes.
Holy Spirit Leadership. Fuller’s Doctor of Ministry cohort in Holy Spirit Leadership & Ministry Practice offers a unique learning context for students to engage in an ongoing, in-depth, sustained study of the life of the Holy Spirit within the Bible, theology, and Christian history that will transform the students approach to leadership, church, ministry, and life. Each year’s cohort will be led by the lead mentor—alongside a distinguished guest lecturer—for a face-to-face experience during a 10-day (Mon-following Wed) retreat in Pasadena, California on the Fuller campus. The time between face-to-face experiences will include ongoing mentorship, a robust and expansive reading curriculum, and monthly virtual lectures that create space for enhanced learning while students are in their local contexts. The mentorship component will strategically pair students with a mentor in their field, helping deepen the student’s awareness of the Holy Spirit in life, vocation, and ministry.
Leading Change Cohort. In a rapidly changing world, the primary task of leadership is to energize a community of people toward their own transformation in order to meet the challenges of the uncharted terrain before them. It is what Ronald Heifetz calls “adaptive leadership” and defines as “the practice of mobilizing people to tackle tough challenges and thrive.” Transformational Leadership is the product of a leader’s own personal competency, relational congruence and adaptive capacity. The key thought is this: Transformational Leadership is absolutely dependent on the leader’s own ongoing transformation and ability to lead others into a process of shared transformation through ongoing learning and navigating loss.
Lifelong Leadership Formation Cohort. The Lifelong Leadership Formation cohort will help to develop leaders according to God’s unique shaping work. Leadership Emergence Theory is the body of research related to how God shapes leaders, over a lifetime. The three core components of time-analysis, processing and leadership development patterns will be explored and used to interpret and provide insight to a leader’s life. The class will also examine the integration of leadership development theory with both Biblical Theology and Spiritual formation. The development of a leader’s interior journey and the understanding of Biblical discipleship will be the primary focus of this class, along with models for practice. This cohort will lastly examine the missional communities model, its structure and core postures, as well as integrate learning from the Cohort into a pathway for leadership development.
Líderes Latinos en un Mundo Multicultural. La globalización está trayendo giros veloces que afectan el ministerio profundamente. El líder latino se encuentra en medio de muchos cambios. La constante migración desde América Latina plantea una serie de retos, mientras que la adaptación al mundo pos-moderno estadounidense presenta otros. Y esto se da en medio de una migración mundial que está trayendo a personas de todo el mundo a los Estados Unidos. El líder latino tiene el reto de re-imaginar el liderazgo cristiano para dirigir a una iglesia fiel en este contexto urbano multicultural. El Doctorado en ministerio con énfasis en Líderes latinos en un mundo multicultural le dará herramientas a pastores y líderes latinos para ampliar su visión del ministerio, por medio de conocerse a sí mismos y mismas, conocer su comunidad y aprender a visualizar a la iglesia latina como una iglesia misional.
Recovery Ministry Cohort. The Recovery Ministry Cohort will examine biblical and theological foundations critically important for recovery ministry. Numerous theological questions emerge in the process: questions related to theological anthropology, ecclesiology, pneumatology, eschatology, and many other matters. The cohort will seek to dig deeply into these topics in order to suggest best practices for theological reflection in a recovery context and to provide a foundation for future reflection.
Spiritual Direction Cohort. The Spiritual Direction Cohort will offer a variety of different learning environments and structures that allow students to engage spiritual direction conceptually and practically. Each year meet for a 10-day course in a retreat setting local to the Pasadena, CA campus. The curriculum will focus on blending advanced helping skills with classical and evangelical approaches to spiritual direction
Transformational African-American Leadership Cohort. What does the reality of an ever-increasing multiethnic and multicultural mission field within the United States of America mean for the future of the African American church and its pastoral leaders? How do social issues such as racism, the increase in Black males in the prison industrial complex, urbanization, gentrification, the widening of the economic gap, and the continuing evolution of hip hop culture impact the worship, discipleship, and witness of the African American church? Must African American pastors become post-Black in order to stay relevant? These critical questions and more will be explored as part of this Doctor of Ministry cohort developed to further equip African American pastors theologically, increase one’s organizational leadership skills, and expand one’s ability to engage communities and cultures for transformation.
Urban Ministry Cohort. The complexity of the urban context requires theological depth and the ability to formulate and contextually apply a relevant and robust urban biblical theology. In this cohort, we will seek to gain experience in engaging in a social cultural analysis to understand the nature and context of urban ministry. Analysis of the social context will move us towards the formation of a relevant urban theology. Through biblical analysis, spiritual reflection, and communal discernment we will move toward a theology of urban ministry that will provide the foundation for impactful engagement with complex urban systems. We will study how the practice of an urban pastoral theology is a fulfillment of the pastoral office and the ongoing work of the urban church. We will affirm that contextualized urban ministry transforms both the congregation and its community, and therefore requires informed, intentional leadership.
Youth, Family and Culture Cohort. The Youth, Family, and Culture cohort is an online/on-campus hybrid cohort that focus on the theology and strategic issues of youth and family ministry, psychological development of adolescents, developing the spirituality of adolescents, emerging models of youth and family ministry and an integrated approach to youth and family ministry.
Korean Doctor of Ministry Program. The School of Theology offers a specialized Doctor of Ministry program for Korean pastors and missionaries based on instruction in the Korean language. Admission to the Korean Doctor of Ministry program, requires an ATS-accredited Master of Divinity degree or its educational equivalent with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above. An English language test score is not required for students enrolling in the program. However, students may not attend courses in the English language program unless the TOEFL or IELTS requirement has been met.
The Korean Doctor of Ministry program has been offering quality course work seminars in the following four concentration areas: (1) biblical studies and preaching, (2) Christian spirituality and pastoral care, and (3) church, leadership, and culture, (4) Global missions and cross-cultural ministries.
Dr. Euiwan Cho is the program chair for the Korean Doctor of Ministry Program in the School of Theology. For further information on this program, including course descriptions and schedules, please contact the Korean Studies Center at (626) 584-5651.
Courses of Study: School of Theology DMin Program
Variable Units Option
Courses in the DMin program are offered for 8 units per class. Students have the option of taking a course for either 4 or 12 units through a petition process. Course reading and writing assignments will vary depending on the units.
CF 704 Incarnational Coaching: Life and Ministry Transformation. This practical seminar focuses on moving beyond just attending classes, and onto integrating a student’s DMin learning into a comprehensive personal growth experience. The goal is to assist students to maximize the intended learning and ministry transformation from their Doctor of Ministry program. It is achieved through the integration of personal learning and the assistance of a leadership development coach. Many show up at the Doctor of Ministry program at a crossroads. They are wanting to retool themselves for greater effectiveness, and desiring to glean new insights for future direction and decision-making. Fuller DMin classes are designed to do just that, offering some of the best in training and community learning. But often, a leader goes back to their place of ministry still not certain how to process the implications of their studies. This class goes with a student, over time, helping him or her gain the true benefit from their investment and learning. (4 units only)
CF 729 Practicing the Way of Jesus. A guided exploration of Jesus’ embodiment and teaching of the Kingdom of God and practices by which Jesus’ actions and teachings might be emulated and obeyed in our postmodern context.
CN 705 The Minister’s Personal Growth.What has made this the longest running course in the Doctor of Ministry Program and just as relevant today? Pastors are under stress like no other time in recent history and they need to learn how to take care of themselves. Dr. Hart will teach you how to pay attention to a pastor’s personal and family life, problems of anger, depression, assertiveness, and relationship, as well as address the fuzziness of role definition and role conflicts.
CN 711 Pastoral Counseling: A Short-Term Approach (Online). This course introduces students to the discipline of pastoral counseling as a specialized form of pastoral care. Pastoral counseling brings theological resources into conversation with the social and behavioral sciences in order to provide care in an interdisciplinary, spiritually-integrative manner as an extension of ministry. A survey of short-term, postmodern counseling theories will be explored from an interdisciplinary, integrative perspective (particularly narrative therapy and solution-focused therapy), with attention to particular ministry issues and contexts to prepare students to provide care in congregational contexts.
CN 725 Innovations in Healthcare Chaplaincy (Online). This online course addresses many of the ministry tasks and competencies that serve as a foundation for professional chaplaincy. They include finding your personal strengths, the integration of spirituality and healthcare, empathic listening as a core skill, assessing the spiritual needs of patients, expanding your cultural competence, ethical decision-making in a healthcare setting, understanding grief and bereavement, the infrastructure of spiritual care, spirituality and health research, and the importance of resilience and self-care. Students will have the opportunity to expand their understanding of chaplaincy ministry and explore ways to enhance their abilities as healthcare chaplains. Students will also have the opportunity to contribute to professional chaplaincy through original research.
CN 731 Trauma and Faith. Victims of crime, survivors of abuse, combat veterans, and civilian survivors of disaster are just a few of the groups of people who may struggle with the emotional and spiritual consequences of trauma. The psychological and physiological symptoms of the trauma response show strong commonalties across populations. This course will provide a basic understanding of the post- trauma reaction and the etiology of traumatic distress. In addition, the course will address the dialogue between psychological and theological insights in trauma response and recovery. Students will practice skills developed for supporting recent trauma survivors and engage in experiential exercises to increase empathy for trauma survivors in their communities.
CN 732 Theological and Biblical Foundations of Recovery Ministry. This class provides an exploration of the theological and biblical perspectives which form the foundation for recovery ministry. Particular attention will be given to the theological context of twelve step programs. Students will become well-informed about the theological and biblical foundations of recovery ministry and will understand the connections between biblical and theological resources and the pragmatics of effective ministry design.
CN 736 Ministering in Traumatized Communities (Online). This course provides a foundation for engaging in ministry with communities who experience repeated exposure to traumatic events. You will obtain a basic understanding of post-traumatic stress, complex traumatic stress, and vicarious traumatic stress and how they are similar and different. You will examine how trauma as a way of life impacts a person’s development, behaviors, and theology. We will pay specific attention to confounding issues of culture such as cultural expression, systemic oppression, racism, barriers to treatment, and stigma and how these impact traumatic stress. This course will include intentional reflection on artistic expressions of pain, healing, and resilience. The course will develop basic skills needed when ministering in traumatized contexts (triage, addressing spiritual concerns, connecting with community partners, fostering psychologically healthy church/ministry culture, and referrals). The course will consider effective ways to develop self-care to protect the minister or ministry leader from burn-out and vicarious traumatization.
DM 710 Developing the DMin Doctoral Project Proposal (Online). This course is designed to help students learn how to craft a DMin doctoral project proposal for a ministry focus (strategy) paper. It will offer guidelines to identify a suitable topic and will familiarize the student with the DMin theological model and the related three primary components of the doctoral project. The course content will include project examples and specific research tools for each of these three components. The student will become knowledgeable of the elements of the proposal itself, from thesis statement to bibliography, and learn how to identify both the characteristics of a strong proposal and the common problems in developing ones. (2 units)
DM 711 Exploring the Contours of Ministry (Online). This online course is the gateway into the Doctor of Ministry Program. This course should be taken immediately upon admission to the program and serves as a general orientation to the program and an introduction to the theological method and practices of the program. Students are invited to discover and share personal and ministry reflections within the context of a local community of support. This is a required first course for all students on the personalized track. (4 units)
ET 702 Military Ethics (Online). This course provides an overview of the nature and history of institutional ministry, including the chaplaincy’s identity, purpose, and functional roles. You will examine the biblical and theological foundations of a ministry of presence, which often comprises the core of chaplaincy ministry. You also will review the various types of chaplaincy and explore the commonalities, distinctives, and expectations of military, health care, public safety, correctional, sports, campus, and disaster relief chaplains. Additionally, the course will develop a professional comprehensive range of biblical-theological knowledge, skills and abilities for ministry leadership in chaplaincy. Supplemental areas of expertise will be introduced at a basic level focusing on specialized skills in pastoral, caregiver and emotional/spiritual support for a chaplain. The emphasis is to develop a basic understanding of how chaplaincy impacts organizations with the Gospel message in military, institutional and organizational communities.
ET 703 The Christian Faith in the Public Square. This course brings together Christian theology with engagement in the public square. In an intensive setting, students will engage a number of writings on political theology, using these writings and in-class discussion to develop and hone their own political theology. They will examine popular sectarian critiques of Christians engaging in politics, and develop responses to them. By the end of the course, the student will be able to articulate and defend their theology of public engagement, stating first what it means to be a faithful follower of Jesus and then how to live that out in the political realm. To give students a sense of how others have understood and embodied this dual role for Christians, students will be given the opportunity to interact with other non-profits in the DC area. There will be at least one opportunity to visit Capitol Hill, giving students the change to experience direct engagement with Congressional offices. In addition, guest lecturers will be utilized to assure a thorough engagement with the topic.
ET 725 Sexuality and the Church. This course is designed to help ministry leaders navigate the complex matters related to human sexuality as they impact local ministries and churches. The course will explore theological and psychological dimensions of human sexuality, providing a framework for course participants to make informed and compassionate pastoral decisions in their ministry context.
ET 745 Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King Jr. was the undisputed voice of the most known movement for civil rights in the 1950’s and 60’s. That movement helped to bring about a sunset on centuries of overtly racist laws in the United States, and compelled the political and legal systems in the country to grant equal opportunities to people of color, in favor of foundational national values. King was a Baptist preacher, advocating a kind of criminality that he argued in favor of with a black church hermeneutic, and with inspiration from Gandhi. The Christian criminal was a paradox that stood over and against the paradox of Christian white supremacy. It is in this paradox, justice vs. divinized white ascendancy, that we come to a crossroads of different types of Christianity, and competing Christian claims. Viewed in this light, the civil rights movement becomes a clash of competing gospels, and Martin Luther King Jr. is the most vocal theologian of the movement. What can we learn from Dr. King about discerning the will of God in the context of competing Christian claims? The faith claims that fueled the civil rights movement demonstrates that the gospel is not the good news of Christ if it seeks primarily to secure our entry to heaven, or to make us moral and obedient citizens of the state. The gospel is the good news of God removing obstacles that prevent our ability to be together in community.
EV 715 Reinventing Evangelism: Telling the Jesus Story through Life, Word and Community. This course explores the theory, strategy, and methodology of evangelism. It argues that to do effective, wholistic, biblical evangelism that takes seriously the culture and needs of those one seeks to reach, it is necessary to build a proper theoretical foundation (that sees the Bible with fresh eyes), adopt an appropriate strategy (that makes sense to the given situation), and understand the wide range of methodologies that exist for doing evangelism (by exploring an array of outreach options).
EV 733 Enchanting Faith: Worship, Spiritual Formation, and Evangelism in a Secular Age. The defining feature of our modern, secular age is “disenchantment,” pervasive disbelief in the supernatural. The impact of disenchantment is most clearly evidenced in the rise of the Nones, along with increasing rates of agnosticism and atheism. Belief in God, to say nothing of miracles, angels and the power of prayer, is increasingly difficult in our disenchanted age. If so, disenchantment is the single greatest challenge facing the modern church. The course will examine the cultural and historical forces driving disenchantment and explore resources for “enchanting” faith in worship, spiritual formation, and evangelism.
GM 720 Spirituality and Ministry. This seminar is designed to give understanding and experience of the spiritual life and its disciplines, as defined by the New Testament and the history of the disciples of Jesus. To do so, it is offered in a retreat setting. The course will include a study of classics in the field of Christian spirituality, along with some historical and systematic treatments. This is to be substantially completed before the seminar sessions. A special focus is placed on the spiritual life and disciplines in the context of Christian ministry.
LD 705 Kingdom-Focused Leadership. The missional renewal and reorientation of the Western church requires a different focus in its leadership content and character. The Christendom church-centric paradigm created the need for institutional development and management as the predominant leadership agenda. The new contextual realities in the West, however, call for a different kind of leadership focus and behavior. The Kingdom of God is a movement that spills over into every aspect of life, beyond just the walls of the church. Giving leadership to a Kingdom-biased movement carries different demands than does managing institutionally-based religion. This course explores Kingdom-focused leadership, including key aspects of how it is cultivated and how it expresses itself.
LD 706 Visionary Leadership for the Church. Every church has a unique expression of the Great Commission. This course will familiarize students with the thought framework to develop vision clarity and the leadership skills to uncover the unique expression in a local congregation. This course would ask the five irreducible questions of vision clarity and provide students the tools to answer these questions for a local congregation: 1. What are we doing? 2. How are we doing it? 3. Why are we doing it? 4. When are we successful doing it? 5. Where is God taking us?
LD 721 Rhythms of Healthy Christian Leadership. Pastors and Christian leaders often embody stressful, emotionally-taxing, and fast-paced lifestyles that leverage great demands on their own personal well-being. When not attended to, they can become, in the words of Will Willimon, “quivering masses of availability.” This course will help the pastor and Christian leader to think through, theologize, and embody rhythms and life-styles that nurture long-term, sustainable ministry on spiritual, emotional, intellectual, physical, and relational dimensions. Together, professor and students will study and enact historic Christian disciplines necessitated by this distinctive identity such as Sabbath-keeping, silence, exercise, virtues, counseling, confession, spiritual direction, friendship, prayer, and reading & receiving the Word. This course will give the student a new theological and practical framework to orient their lives around rhythms that bring health and well-being, with particular attention given to pastoral work.
LD 722 Leading in Liminal Times: Foundations of Transitional/Interim Ministry. We lead in liminal times, between a known past and an uncertain future. Coupled with increasing longevity, this affords seasoned leaders an opportunity to serve in transitional and interim roles. Depending upon the skills and experiences they’ve honed through years of ministerial practice, transitional/interim leaders may find some of their skills/experiences more relevant than others. This course will assist the student in evaluating which opportunities are best suited for their skills and experience. The course will also help the judicatory leader evaluate suitability and improve assessment of transitional/interim candidates. The course culminates in a student generated transitional/interim strategy which takes into account factors such as, but not limited to, contextualization, cultural reconciliation, conflict resolution and/or lay/staff engagement.
LG 730 New Testament Greek and Exegesis for Ministry Practice (Online). This course is designed to introduce the pastor to the basic elements of the Greek language in terms of noun and verb morphology, syntax, and the application of the grammar and syntax to the practice of exegesis. The elements of exegetical method for the study of the New Testament will be explored as well as their practice. Topics to be considered will include: the use of the exegetical tools, text criticism, lexicography and grammar, exegetical consideration of the different genres in the New Testament and several hermeneutic issues and perspectives with current New Testament studies. In addition, considerable time will be devoted to the use of the New Testament Greek and exegesis in the preparation of sermons and teaching.
OD 723 Leading Turnaround Churches. More than 85% of Christian congregations in America are either plateaued in their membership or are actively declining in the midst of a growing national population (Whitesel & Hunter, 2000:14). This course is designed to address this situation by attending the four greatest barriers to renewing congregations. The first barrier is the lack of understanding among leaders of the four forces that control change, which of the forces are present in each congregation, and what strategies are effective for bringing about change in each scenario. Secondly, a clash of modern and postmodern cultures is yielding tensions between groups in methods, goals and strategies for turnaround change. These cultural predilections will be analyzed and a strategy designed for your unique context. Thirdly, turnaround change is often thwarted by failures at change in the past, and thus a postmortem on previous change experiences will be followed by an investigation of the six-stages and five-triggers needed for bringing about unifying change. Finally, facilitating turnaround change will require leaders to adapt and shift their leadership styles and strategies as change occurs. Subsequently, from this seminar will emerge a personalized and strategic plan for assisting a church or churches in changing their course toward more effective fulfillment of the Great Commission.
OD 753 One Body, Many Frustrations. A Systems Approach to Congregations & Conflict Management: Every congregation/ministry/organization has its share of relationship difficulties. Approaching such concerns as if they were the result of individual failures alone can sometimes exacerbate the problem. This course will help participants learn how to “think systems” in a way that creates new possibilities for responding to such challenges. This course is designed to help participants understand and respond more positively to the relationship difficulties that are so common to congregational and/or organizational life, including conflicts within the families of members and ministry leaders, conflicts between leaders, and conflicts between members and leadership. Lectures will begin with a biblical and theological vision of the church and of Christian discipleship that will help ground the effort to improve congregational/organizational relationships, then draw upon what is broadly known as a “systems approach” to describe how the key insights from a variety of systemically-oriented theories can be applied to the ministry context.
OD 755 Conflict and Compassion in Churches and Organizations. Relationship is central to the biblical story and crucial for psychological flourishing, but it is also the very matrix in which we experience heartbreak, trauma, and loss. While spiritual leaders often gain competency in exegesis, doctrine and speaking, they are often ill-prepared for the complexity of relational conflict. In this course, we explore theological dimensions of conflict, systems that host conflict, dynamics of trauma and abuse, and pathways to compassion and transformation.
OD 761 Innovation in Ministry. This seminar begins with the premise that “the church as we know it is calibrated for a world that no longer exists.” We will need to re-calibrate. And that means that we will need to innovate. But there is a problem. All the literature on innovation says that the best way to innovate is to abandon the past. We cannot do that. We will never stop reading Second Corinthians and we will never stop saying that Jesus is Lord. How, then, do we innovate when our credibility is tied to continuity with the past? The goal of this course is to enable students to create ministry innovations that maintain a rock-solid commitment to the unchanging Christian gospel while designing innovative ways to present that gospel to an ever-changing culture. In short, the goal is to create ways to present the never-changing gospel to our ever-changing people. To do that the course combines Practical Theology, Human-Centered Design, and the Christian practice of discernment.
OD 778 Advancing Leadership: Practical Ministry Amidst Theological Tensions, Cultural Change, and Competing Demands. The goal of the course is to teach students how to translate their theological commitments into the day-to-day situations common to life in a religious organization. The course will introduce the range of skills and practices one needs to lead effectively. We will emphasize how these skills are grounded in theology, biblical studies, ethics, and church history. A major theme of the course will be that the listening and communication skills it takes to be a good pastor, preacher and teacher are the very skills that make a good leader.
OD 786 Transforming Your Leadership Development. Applicable both to existing organizations and those starting new movements, this practical seminar guides students into a biblically-based, principle-driven approach to leadership development. Jesus himself started with those who were not religious, he lived life and practiced ministry alongside them. Following this pattern cultivates a leadership development process that starts with evangelism and results in the multiplication of disciples, leaders, groups, ministries, churches, and movements. Failure to incorporate the DNA and the processes of leadership development that Jesus used results in less effective leadership development, and truncates the potential growth for the kingdom. This course is designed for leaders who are tired of the status quo, and are ready to see Jesus raise up generative leaders that multiply all levels of ministry. The process will be challenging, and transforming.
PM 724 Dietrich Bonhoeffer as Minister. This course explores the life and theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by examining his actions of ministry. The course will spend particular time studying Bonhoeffer’s lectures, sermons, and essays on youth work. Youth and children’s ministry has often been seen as periphery practice with low intellectual demand. Yet, this course will show that one of the 20th century’s greatest theological minds was, at the core, a youth and children’s minister. From 1927 to 1939 Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s central pastoral ministry was with children and youth. Exploring this work the student will not only be taken into rich theological conversation but be invited to explore her or his own contemporary practice of faith-formation, confirmation, and carrying children in congregational life. Overall, through Bonhoeffer’s writing and history, students will be given an example of a theological thinker in ministry to emulate, be it in youth ministry or any other field. The course, located in Berlin, will seek to take the student deeply into Bonhoeffer’s story. With site visits and travel students will experience not only Bonhoeffer’s thought but also locales of his lived experience, helping to further connect biography, ministry and theology.
PR 722 Contemporary Options for Preaching and Teaching. This course examines unique and non-traditional approaches to preaching and teaching for ministry in the 21st century context. It will articulate practical avenues for preachers and teachers in the local church to engage their communities and neighborhoods in creative, biblically-informed, and theologically-mindful ways.
PR 744 Transformative Preaching: Forming the Church through Creative, Cultural, and Practice-based Sermons. The art of preaching is a two-fold miracle: the transformation of the preacher, and the transformation of the congregation through the preacher. This course is designed to reclaim the transformative effect of preaching in both the pastor and community. We will thoughtfully engage what it means to enhance the quality of a sermon through story, creativity and sensory experience. Further, we will engage how to expand a preacher’s cultural influence across racial, political, denominational, and economic barriers.
SP 724 The Practice of Hearing and Noticing God. This seminar is designed to give understanding and experience of the spiritual life and its disciplines, with specific emphasis on Hearing and Noticing God’s presence and activity. The rhythms will be personal and communal experiences, with guided instruction and debriefing sessions. (4 units)
SP 725 Deepening Spiritual Formation and Soul Care. This course consists of three major foci. The first is aimed at casting a comprehensive vision for spiritual formation for the local church, a vision which takes seriously both the mission of the church and a depth of care for people. The second focus aims at the care of the most troubled and difficult people in the congregation, highlighting addiction, personality disorders, and more. The Enneagram will be featured as one important tool for pastoral care. The third turns the focus on the busy and exhausted pastor, whose own wholeness and flourishing is critical for the formation and care of God’s people.
SP 727 Embracing the Stranger: Biblical and Practical Approaches to Spiritual Formation. Hospitality—welcoming “God in the stranger”—is central to missional praxis. Welcoming tax collectors and sinners in table fellowship was also a distinctive and defining feature of Jesus’ own practice and Kingdom proclamation. And yet, churches struggle mightily with hospitality. Why do churches, ostensibly following a Messiah who broke bread with the stigmatized and ostracized, so often retreat into practices of exclusion, scapegoating and the quarantine of gated communities? Seeking the origins of this disjoint with the goal of calling our faith communities into the practices of hospitality, the class will begin by exploring the biblical and theological foundations of hospitality. Upon this foundation the varieties and expressions of hospitality will be surveyed. The numerous obstacles to hospitality (from the social to the psychological) will also be identified and explored. Finally, this analysis will culminate in the argument that the “will to embrace,” which undergirds the practices of hospitality, requires a suite of capacities (and/or virtues) that must be cultivated through intentional spiritual formation.
SP 736 C. S. Lewis as Model and Mentor. This course takes place in the historic and beautiful cities of Oxford and Cambridge, England, where C.S.Lewis lived and worked most of his life. It will enable participants to visit and experience the sites most closely associated with him, as well as meet and hear some people who knew Lewis or studied him in depth. Lewis’ was the second best known voice in the UK during the Second World War and is regarded as the most influential Christian apologist and communicator in the time since. Over 200 million copies of his books have appeared in nearly 20 languages, with sales continuing to increase every year. His relationship with Joy Davidman has been turned into a successful stage play, television drama and feature film. The first major film of one of his Chronicles of Narnia is the 25th most popular film of all time and the third in he series is soon to be released. Lewis was influential in the conversion of many significant public figures during this time and his legacy even lives on in popular culture today. This course will explore the versatile, innovative and profound nature of his writings – apologetic, spiritual, fantasy, autobiographical, and fictional – with a view to asking what he can still teach today to those involved in evangelistic, pastoral, educational, spiritual, student or children’s ministries.
SP 738 Cultivating Spiritual Thriving. Informed by the fields of positive psychology and Christian spiritual formation, this course will examine the possibility of cultivating our lives of faith and community in a culture that pushes us to live shallowly and relate to other people superficially. We will look at recent writing on flourishing (including Susan Phillips’s The Cultivated Life: From Ceaseless Striving to Receiving Joy) and moral community (including Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion and Christine Pohl’s Living into Community: Cultivating Practices That Sustain Us). Practices of personal and communal development will be taught in an environment of mutual interest and respect for individual differences. This is an integrative course that explores the identity and practices of Christian community as a people called, gathered, and sent by God. Together, professor and students study and will enact historic Christian disciplines necessitated by this distinctive identity.
SP 764 Exploring the Celtic Heritage. This unique course will be based on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, off the coast of Northumberland, England, which was home to St Cuthbert (635-687), in whose honor the illuminated manuscript known as the Lindisfarne Gospels was produced. Beginning with the story of Celtic Christianity, the course will combine reflection on mission in today’s world with space for personal reflection and spiritual nurture. Each day will incorporate worship drawn from different aspects of the Celtic tradition, with input from various spiritual communities on the island. Lindisfarne is accessed via a causeway at low tide, and is the end point of the 62 mile long pilgrim journey known as the St Cuthbert’s Way, which begins in Melrose, Scotland. Some participants may wish to incorporate that journey in their travel plans for getting to Lindisfarne. After the course ends, others may wish to extend their stay to include a visit to the monastery of the Venerable Bede in Jarrow, as well as Durham cathedral, where St Cuthbert is buried (both of which are within less than a two hour journey).
SP 767 Leaders as Spiritual Mentors. This course introduces students to the principles and practices of mentoring for spiritual leadership. The class readings, presentations, discussions, and exercises focus on the question: how can mentoring form healthy staff and leadership relationships for effective ministry for today’s church? The biblical examples of Jesus and the apostle Paul as well as a careful study of the historical models that have been employed throughout the history of the church will shape this course. A critical theme that further undergirds this experiential learning is the role of the Holy Spirit in mentoring. Further, the principles of contemplative listening and discernment will guide students in developing methods for companioning others. Special emphasis will be devoted to cultivating the skills of mentoring in various ministry contexts including one-on-one, meetings, small groups, and leading worship.
TC 709 Theology and Pop Culture: The Art of Interpretive Leadership. With congregations increasingly barraged by electronic inputs, ministers must learn the art of interpretive leadership – finding God within digital media. This multidisciplinary course will engage students in a two-way dialogue between pop culture and theology, with emphasis upon music, movies, TV, art, fashion, and sports. Students will develop a biblical, theological, and sociological understanding of these art forms and a critical understanding of the advertising, consumerism, and globalization that drives pop culture.
TM 710 The Local Congregation as a Mission Outpost. Lesslie Newbigin wrote that the only hermeneutic of the gospel is a congregation of men and women who believe it and live by it. The only church that makes a difference in culture is a real, tangible, visible church. Too many congregations have very little impact on culture, choosing instead to live in isolation and irrelevance. Any congregation in any setting has the opportunity, and the obligation to be a Missional outpost. But beyond that, the local church must begin to see itself in terms of being a dynamic movement rather than a static organization. This course will explore movement dynamics and will investigate how the church can re-conceive and structure itself for multiplication and influence. We will explore the theological, missiological, as well as the sociological basis for Missional movements and how that identity emerges and is lived out in the practices of a local congregation.
TM 716 Missional Ecclesiology. Jürgen Moltmann said “It is not the church that has a mission of salvation to fulfill in the world; it is the mission of the Son and the Spirit through the Father that includes the church.” (The Church in the Power of the Spirit, London, 1977, p. 64). This articulation breaks down many traditional patterns of thinking about and practicing the church. It presents many challenges to those who would lead their churches into His Mission. It calls for a new posture for the church in the world. This course explores how to think about, practice, lead and embody the church in the world as a participant in God’s mission.
TM 753 Church Rising: New Seasons for the Church. We live in an ever-increasing multicultural, multiethnic, urbanized, polarized, and divided mission field. The church of the future must serve as a force of shalom, compassion, justice, reconciliation, and transformation in the midst of this reality. Whether the context of ministry is urban, suburban, or rural the aftershocks of tremendous cultural shifts and challenges call for a rethinking of the church fundamentals of evangelism, discipleship, and mission.
The church has a missional opportunity to reimagine its faithful and fruitful next season. Pastors play a key role in the reimagining process, uniquely called and positioned to influence healthy and flourishing congregations.
WS746: Worship Leadership: Formation and Skill (Online). This course will be a thoughtful experience for planning, leading, administering, and evaluating corporate worship, particularly from the standpoint of those who plan and lead worship, whether musician, pastor, or other leadership personnel. There will be personal and group experiences, including journaling of worship experiences, creating materials for corporate worship, principles for working with volunteers, all combined with an emphasis on spiritual formation, pastoral, and theological principles of worship leading. Students will be encouraged in the use of a wide spectrum of worship styles and resources, in addition to evaluating their use for specific purposes within sacred settings. Maximum benefit for this course will be received by the student who is an active leader/planner in a regular worship setting.