I'm Going Back to School

First of all, don't worry--I'm not going anywhere. I have enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program at Emmanuel Christian Seminary, which is almost entirely online. I will only be spending about 2 weeks a year on campus. I will still be here serving alongside you at Turner Christian Church. So what's a doctor of ministry program?
The normal degree for a pastor to get is called a Master of Divinity (MDiv). You take about 2 years worth of theology classes and a year's worth of practical ministry classes. When I went to seminary, I thought I was going to become a teacher, rather than a pastor, so I got a "Master of Arts"--which is two years of theology and no years of practical ministry classes. Low and behold, God called me to ministry anyway, which makes me really wish I had taken those other classes!
The Doctor of Ministry (DMin) is a three year degree that is designed for pastors who have a master's degree, and several years of ministry under their belt, and want to get more training in the art of being a pastor. The goal of getting a Dmin is to get the best training you can in ministry. The degree is designed for pastors to take while they are serving in ministry (which is why it's almost entirely online), and every class is meant to help pastors with the ministry they're currently doing.
So why am I getting this degree?
I am definitely not getting this degree in order to change degrees or churches. While my calling is always up to God, Casey and I are very grateful to be part of Turner Christian Church and we are committed to the ministry we are doing here with you.
I am enrolling in the Doctor of Ministry program for three main reasons:
  1. I want to be better equipped to be your pastor. This program will help fill in some of the gaps in my training--especially in counseling, pastoral care, and leadership--so that I can better fulfill the whole range of tasks I have as a pastor.
  2. I want to do some deeper research and work on my particular area of passion in ministry. In the politically-divisive times in which we live, I want to learn how pastors can help their congregations to focus on changing the world through the church rather than partisan politics.
  3. It's really inexpensive! If you remember, once a year we host a dinner that raises money for the Pacific Northwest Scholarship, which supports students from the PNW who want to study at Emmanuel. That scholarship is one of the main reasons I can afford to do this program. So thank you to everyone who has supported that scholarship throughout the years!

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