Pastors are given two weeks of Continuing Education each year as a part of their Terms of Call. The reason for this is so pastors can always be learning and growing. The more I learn and develop spiritually and vocationally, the more I can teach and assist the congregation in their efforts to learn and grow.
I have prayerfully decided to dedicate the next three years of my Continuing Education to pursuing a Doctorate of Ministry through Union Presbyterian Seminary (Charlotte Campus). This program is designed for pastors who are working full-time. Therefore, we only meet in-person for two weekends each semester. The rest of the work will be done through Zoom. I’m excited to pursue this area of study in order to better equip me in leading this congregation.
Here is how Union describes the program:
In our Doctor of Ministry program, students will articulate advanced understanding of the contemporary church and expressions of culture, and relationships between the two. The degree will enhance ministry competencies in areas such as proclamation, evangelism, education, interfaith relations, and community advocacy and engagement based on personal and vocational interests. Students will gain a deepened capacity for theological reflection on the practices of ministry, especially with respect to social justice and witness.
One of the reasons I chose Union Presbyterian Seminary is because of its impeccable reputation in the Charlotte area. Union is known for engaging the contemporary culture in meaningful ways through a theological lens. The world has changed dramatically over the past decade and too often congregations are slow to catch up. I am inspired by Union’s emphasis on the church and the world. I am excited to learn more about the constructive ways we can lead the church into the world of the 21st century. The message of the gospel is timeless, but the church’s approach to sharing this message should change as the world changes.
A Doctor of Ministry (DMin) is different than a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). A PhD in theology is most often focused on research and teaching in a university setting. A DMin is focused on developing pastors in their service to the church. Since my focus is on serving Unity, I believe a DMin will better prepare me to serve this congregation.
My first two years of the program will be spent on coursework. The third year will be spent developing a research project. I have not completely narrowed down my topic yet, but I believe it will involve studying the future of the church (i.e. how the church can adapt and grow in a rapidly changing world).
My program begins this fall. Please be in prayer for me as I undertake this new adventure!
This Sunday the Presbytery’s General Presbyter, Rev. Dr. Byron Wade, will be preaching. Enjoy!