Friday, January 21, 2011


No, I'm not going to delve into the theological underpinings of a Frank Peretti novel, I'm talking about the Doctor of Ministry degree.

The D.Min is a "professional" degree (over and against an "Academic" degree) where a student takes approximately 30hrs worth of advanced classes and then write a 100-200 page project paper. This degree allows for specialization in areas such as management and goal setting, preaching, church planting, or missiology.

David Wells sees this type of a degree as troubling, because it reveals, he argues, a desire to be seen as a "professional" amidst other (secular) professionals. One of the many sources Dr. Wells uses is the Hartford Study that seems to have looked at why a student desired to get the degree (n.b.: I didn't read the study, I read the synopsis by one of the authors). In that synopsis, Dr. Carroll explains some of the reasons the degree was so popular:

Certainly the initial success of the degree was partly due to the broader continuing-education movement that gained momentum in the early 1970s among the professions in general. Without doubt the success of the D.Min. also reflects the importance Americans attach to credentials. Some cynics believe, too, that the D.Min. has provided one way in which clergy can try to bolster their status and enhance their careers.

 Other reasons cited later were increased pay and better self-esteem.

All that to say, I am certainly not disparaging the D.Min degree, in fact, I would probably complete such a program if given the chance. I love the chance to have outside assessment, and I think the D.Min allows pastors to continue to develop their mental acuity and be a continued blessing to their ministry. Of course, it could be taken for foolish or selfish reasons, but so could an associates degree.

If you'd like to continue to read more about this, see the Journal of Christian Ministry, which is online for free.

What do you think of the D.Min degree? Do you have one? Was it helpful? Would you consider getting one? 

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