This fall, I am planning to begin a four-year journey: the Doctor of Ministry program at the Anderson University School of Theology. This is the seminary at which I earned a Master of Divinity degree before coming to serve at Mt. Haley. The Doctor of Ministry (or DMin for short) is a professional, applied, and terminal degree. I have discussed the particulars of this opportunity with the Church Council, and today I would like to share with you why I am excited to take on this challenge.
First, some details: The DMin is designed for people actively serving in pastoral roles. It is a part-time distance program; I will continue serving as the full-time senior pastor at Mt. Haley for the duration of this degree. Over the next four years, I will take one class per quarter, excluding summers. Almost all of my studies will take place at home, except for a week-long set of “intensive” classes in Anderson each term. The final year of this degree will include a “Professional Project” that will directly apply to our ministry together at Mt. Haley.
This journey’s benefits to our church will, I believe, be tremendous. Down the road, I will choose between two tracks in the program: “Spiritual Formation” and “Leadership Development.” At this point, I am leaning toward the former; spiritual formation has to do with growing deeper in the faith, building stronger relationships with God and others, and learning to follow Jesus more closely. (I have used the term “discipleship” to describe this in the past couple of years.) The classes I take each term will certainly find direct application in our life together as a congregation. My desire is that this process will strengthen Mt. Haley spiritually even as it strengthens me professionally.
The overarching theme of all programs at the Anderson School of Theology is “Biblical Reconciliation.” This DMin program is no exception. The curriculum is designed to emphasize God’s work of reconciling humanity to himself, as well as our work of reconciling with each other and with God. Restoration of relationship is at the core of this idea. To study spiritual formation through the lens of God’s desire to love, heal, and forgive – this is especially appealing to me.
I am excited to begin this program and to share its benefits with you! Please keep me in your prayers through this process. If you have any questions about the DMin program, its requirements, or its impact on Mt. Haley, come and talk with me any time. Your input is valuable to me!