This past Thursday evening, I received word that my thesis project was given final approval and I will be receiving a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary on May 9th, 2015. I started thinking about the reasons I decided to move forward with a doctorate degree. I would like to share some of those here in an attempt to give pastors and other ministry leaders some insight into what the Doctor of Ministry is and the reasons I chose to pursue it.
- Further learning: "Leaders are readers." I am not sure who first said this, but it is a truism, which I have seen many times. A leader must continue to pursue his or her learning process, and I believe pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree is one way that forces you to do this. Through the readings, the seminars and the projects I will completed, I constantly had the chance to explore new ways of doing ministry and then the opportunity to put those into practice.
- For the good of the church: Whether you are a pastor, a staff member, a denominational servant or work in some other area of ministry, I feel we should all want to be the very best we can be to expand the Kingdom. The doctor of ministry degree placed me in a position to strive for further excellence in my career. I have learned that we are not, as some are in the habit of doing, coasting through ministry just to get to the end.
- For further ministry opportunity: Having a doctorate degree will open certain doors of ministry, which nothing else typically will. If my main priority is the good of the church, then being in a position for greater levels of responsibility to be open up to me is a proper motivation for furthering my education.
If you decide to pursue a Dmin degree, please keep in mind it is not a PhD and is unlikely to help you land a position in a institution of higher learning. The Dmin is a professional degree, which can help you to mold and shape the church. My encouragement to any church leader considering the DMin is to examine your own heart and motivation and to do your research. Pick a subject you are passionate about and find a school that does it well. If you would like to talk through this further, please feel free to contact me. I would be glad to talk through this process with you. By the way, we have some excellent Texas Baptist seminaries, such as Logsdon and Truett that offer great programs of study you may be interested in.