There have been a lot of happy tears and “woah, God” moments this past week.
After a lot of prayer and application essay writing (like the nine hours I spent, consecutively, in Spyhouse on a Thursday), I’m so incredibly excited to say that I’ve been accepted into this fall’s Doctor of Ministry in Preaching cohort at Northern Seminary. It’s a legitimate dream come true to get to spend the next four years learning how to preach and teach more effectively alongside other excellent preachers – all under the guidance of incredible faculty like Scot McKnight. Here’s a quick rundown of the what, the why, and the how:
Why a Doctor of Ministry?
I’ve known since the start of seminary that I didn’t want my Master of Divinity to be the end of my theological educational experience. For a few years, I processed what this might look like: a Certificate in Marriage and Family Studies, a PhD, a Doctor of Ministry… I landed on a Doctor of Ministry for two reasons:
- First, I remain deeply committed to the Church. A few weeks back, I published a post about why I think our local churches matter. A Doctor of Ministry degree is the terminal degree for church leaders (though there are many effective pastors with PhDs, and many effective professors with DMins), and my deepest desire is to spend my life leading well in the Church and serving alongside God’s people as we try to figure out what it looks like to follow in the footsteps of Christ in our everyday lives.
- Secondly, I remain deeply committed to my church. Emmanuel Covenant Church has been my church home since I was fourteen, and being on staff is one of the best experiences of my life. The great thing about a Doctor of Ministry degree is that it is designed to be done while working in full-time ministry, which means that I get to implement what I’m learning right away in my role at Emmanuel.
Why a Doctor of Ministry in Preaching?
So much of my life and career – in and outside of the church – has centered on the value of great communication. I’m so passionate about the power of words and the power of the Word (the Gospel). Simply put, it’s an area that I want to experience focused growth in my whole life, and a Doctor of Ministry in Preaching will give me four years of continued growth and some fun research – like how to disciple better as a preacher in post-Christian America.
But don’t you still have to finish your Master of Divinity?
If there’s one thing my family and friends know about me, it’s that I don’t like to slow down. I have a semester plus one credit left in my MDiv at Bethel, and the folks at Northern are kind enough to let me begin my doctoral studies as I finish my degree at Bethel.
So, if you don’t hear from me in the fall, it’s only because I’m nose deep in papers and reading. Send coffee.
But wait, isn’t Northern in Illinois? Are you moving?
No way, Josè! I love Minnesota and my church and have no plans of leaving either. The Doctor of Ministry is designed to be done online with one week intensives on campus. So, you all are stuck with me.
On a scale of 1-10, how excited are you?