Why More and More are Enrolling in DMin Programs

From Andy Rowell:

5 reasons why there are so many people doing D.Min. programs today

1. A Ph.D. is too painful and a D.Min. is just right. I think it is too expensive, long, and painful to get a Ph.D. for most people. The average time for a Duke Ph.D. in Religion is 5.8 years and that is one of the very best stipends and student-friendly programs anywhere. And, even if you survive for 6 years living on $20,000 a year (at best), it is very difficult to get a job. A D.Min. is not a Ph.D. or Th.D. but does demonstrate initiative, a zeal to learn, and perseverance.

2. A D.Min. is a way of carving out space to learn. Yes, there are enormous resources available on the web for pastors and many superb books to read but it is of course very difficult to find time to get away from the daily hectic routine and learn. Some ministry leaders are capable of getting away enough to cultivate vision, assess themselves, even write books, but for many ministry leaders, a D.Min. program (with the discipline of coursework and time away) is ideal for carving out time to study, learn, and find solace and friendship with other pastors.

3. Sometimes churches help with the cost. Sometimes churches will share some of the cost of the D.Min. program knowing that it benefits them to have a more balanced, rejuvenated, learning pastor. However, there are some churches who have had their clergy leave to a larger church after getting a D.Min. so they feel resentful toward what they paid. The church should structure their payments knowing that a pastor may leave because of course this can happen at any time for any reason; They may for example pay 1/2 of tuition right away but gradually pay for the whole thing if the pastor stays for 5 years after completing the D.Min.program. (There are a number of costs also for D.Min. programs that are away from home such as plane tickets and housing for intense courses but these trips are so rich-in-experience that few seem to complain about the costs).

4. D.Min. programs are getting better with the web. Rather than just reading at home by yourself before the intensive courses on campus, with online course components, ministry leaders can now bond, share, empathize, and learn online with other pastors in their class before meeting.

5. D.Min. programs have tracks for all sorts of specializations. You can do a D.Min. in spiritual formation, executive leadership, marriage and family counseling, preaching, leading parachurch organizations, etc.

Which brings me to the new DMin program we are developing at Northern, and Northern’s Press Release follows:

We are very excited about the interest and applicants to our new DMin at Northern that I will be directing. Here’s our announcement:

Northern is excited to announce a new Doctor of Ministry in New Testament Context.

“The DMin in New Testament Context will give pastors the opportunity of a lifetime.  In my speaking and conversations with pastors, preachers, and lay folks, one of the most illuminating features we have to bring to the church is clarifying the historical context of Jesus and the apostles. Time and time again flashes of insight come to Bible readers when they grasp a social custom at work, a religious controversy throbbing behind a question put to Jesus, or a historical memory that is shaping precisely what Jesus was teaching or the apostle Paul writing. Because this “background” or “Jewish context” is so important and at the same time much less accessible for pastors, the DMin in the New Testament Context will provide pastors with the opportunity to focus study on Jewish texts and this will enable them to shed light on pressing concerns in the church today.”

Joined by Dr. Joel Willitts, an expert on the New Testament and its historical context, Dr. Scot McKnight, author of Jesus Creed and The King Jesus Gospel, is directing the program which provides a theological, practical, and academic framework for pastors and congregational leaders to think critically and faithfully about the context of the New Testament.  Students will develop an ability to bring the Bible to life for the people in their ministries and help to create church cultures that learn to read the Bible better.  The cohort is limited to 17 highly motivated students.

Program Highlights

  • Creates a renewed spirit and passion for the Church’s mission and vision
  • Sharpens critical thinking through interaction with other students and contextual exegesis
  • Easy monthly payment plans for tuition
  • Content aimed developing a strong understanding of the New Testament context and an ability to communicate that effectively
  • Practical application of theology, knowledge, and skills related to understanding the context of the New Testament
  • Involvement in an action-reflection process designed to review character, ministry call, and direction
  • A trip to Israel to study the context of the New Testament first-hand

Cohort Details

The first New Testament Context cohort will begin in June 2014.  To be considered for admission, please complete the Doctor of Ministry application form by March 1, 2014.  Follow and complete all application instructions found on the DMin application.  We will begin announcing admission decisions upon receipt of completed applications.  This is a highly competitive program and special consideration is given to highly motivated, talented students who have a passion for Christ’s church and who want to make a difference in their current context.

In addition, once admitted you must submit a $500 tuition deposit to reserve your place and join the cohort which begins in June.  This deposit is applied to your first two monthly tuition payments.  This tuition deposit is refundable only if you complete the entire application process and are denied admission.  Your DMin application must be accompanied by the non-refundable, $50 application fee in order to be processed.

A Note from McKnight

I made a commitment some 15 years ago that I wanted to make the knowledge we have about Judaism more accessible to the church, and to do that we have to learn to “translate” those details and complicated discussions into language that not only can be understood but that matters for ordinary people living ordinary lives in ordinary churches. The DMin in the New Testament Context is designed to help pastors create church cultures that learn to read the Bible better.

Pastors routinely tell me they don’t have time to read all those Jewish sources, so we want to carve out time for pastors to progress in a degree that leads them into great Jewish texts that are behind our New Testament. The DMin in New Testament Context will give pastors the opportunity of a lifetime, time to investigate Jewish texts in order to enhance our perspective of the New Testament.  In doing so, the DMin in the New Testament Context will give pastors texts and tools to do this for themselves and for their congregation and show their congregations how they can do it too!

Course Schedule

1.       Elective #1          Judaism as the New Testament Context                               Willitts      June 2014

2.       Elective #2          Jesus in Context                                                                               McKnight    Jan 2015

3.       Core #1                 Becoming Drs of the Church                                                        Kent            Jun/July 2015                                                                   

4.       Core #2                 Biblical/Theological Methods                                                      Willitts  Jan 2016

5.       Elective #3          Apostles in Context                                                                        McKnight Jun or Jul 2016

6.       Elective #4          Context of the Holy Land (Trip to Israel)                               McKnight Winter/Spring  2017

7.       Core #3                 Thesis Design                                                                                     Kent  Jun  or Jul 2017

Request Information

To express your interest in the program and receive more information, please complete the information request form below.

Or, to tentatively secure your place in the cohort, complete the same information request form and then submit your tuition deposit using the online payment method below the form.  It is also recommended that you begin the application process right away.  Priority is given to qualified applicants who apply early.  Once the cohort is filled (17 students), additional applicants must wait until a new cohort is formed.  Please Note:  The program information request form is NOT the application for admission.  Visit our “How to Apply” page for program application instructions.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Mark Stevens

    Please stop teasing me! :)


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