Lipscomb University will launch a new doctoral degree in ministry in fall 2011, Provost Craig Bledsoe recently announced. The Doctor of Ministry degree (D. Min.) in missional and spiritual formation is offered through a partnership with Lipscomb’s Institute for Christian Spirituality and the Hazelip School of Theology.
The D. Min. program will focus on the practice of ministry, equipping students with knowledge to enhance personal ministries. The first cohort of students begin the program in summer 2011.
“Lipscomb’s D. Min. program prepares students to live missionally in the world. The degree focuses on spiritual formation as the primary tool for leading. Students are provided the training to equip those under their spiritual care to fully participate in God’s mission for creation,” said Earl Lavender, executive director of the Institute for Christian Spirituality.
“We want to train leaders to deepen their participation in the missional heart of God through the spiritual disciplines. Recent studies have shown that the lack of spiritual depth of congregants is a factor in many of the difficulties faced in today’s church. A new type of leader is needed, one that is capable of training believers to grow deeper into the purposes of God.”
John York, director of the D. Min. program, said that the ultimate goal of the program is to “increase not only the minister’s capacities within a congregation, but also to develop a congregation’s role as the primary location for doing theology.”
The Lipscomb D. Min. is a 36-hour program that combines four two-week residencies as well as online and research courses. It is designed to be completed over the course of three years. The D. Min. builds on three years of master’s level work, such as the Master’s of Divinity or its equivalent, and a minimum of three years’ ministry experience.
York said the program focuses on:
• Experiences and practices that the Holy Spirit uses to transform;
• Becoming spiritual companions with others who encourage continual growth;
• Participation in communal learning, within cohorts and congregations, and the generative theology of shared faith and practice;
• Drawing out the gifts that have been given by God to serve the world and training individuals and communities to use them appropriately;
• Biblical and theological reflection on the church’s location in the world as image of Christ and outpost of the kingdom of God;
• Training in the spiritual practices and ministry performances that, in turn, become competencies to train others; and
• Critical awareness of one’s social and cultural context, along with best practices of leadership necessary for enactment of the Gospel.