The Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) is an advanced, professional degree program designed for those engaged in the full-time practice of ministry. It is the highest professional degree offered by Westminster. It differs from a Ph.D. degree in that its focus is on competence in the practice of ministry rather than on advanced academic research. In this sense, it is better compared to other professional doctorates, such as those awarded in medicine (M.D.) or law (J.D.). This is not intended to compromise the quality or depth of the work required, but rather to communicate the emphasis of the degree program.
Therefore, the purpose of the D.Min. program is to develop reflective practitioners in ministry who will grow not only in ministry comprehension and competence, but also in character. Because it is a doctoral degree program, the student is expected to pursue a high standard of expertise in ministry reflection and practice.
While the D.Min. is built upon the biblical, theological, and professional foundations of the M.Div. degree, the student benefits from the integration of the rich practical experiences gained from years of subsequent ministry.
The D.Min. is one degree with three concentrations based upon the interests and ministry goals of each student. The student chooses one of the following concentrations: Pastoral Ministry, Counseling, or Urban Mission.
Pastoral Ministry Concentration
The purpose of the Pastoral Ministry Concentration is twofold:
First, the concentration aims to build on the shepherding skills and competencies gained through previous M.Div. studies, while integrating subsequent ministry experience for the purpose of sharpening and deepening those skills. Foundational areas such as pastoral nurture, preaching, leadership and evangelism, will be studied. Students will be encouraged to examine personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as to improve competencies in each of these areas. The challenges presented to the contemporary cultural context of ministry will also be considered. Careful attention will be given to the relationship of biblical theology to ministry practice.
Second, the concentration strives to enable the student to make a significant contribution to the field of pastoral ministry through the Applied Research Project. The program culminates in the completion of the project, through which the student is expected to demonstrate mastery in a particular area of practical theology. Ideally this work is accomplished in the student’s current ministry context. Identifying a problem, challenge or question, proposing and applying a ministry mode and evaluating this model, are essential aspects of the project. This work must be built upon a biblical foundation, taking into account both historical precedents and contemporary influences on the area in view.
The purpose of the Counseling Concentration is twofold:
First, it aims to equip students for a high degree of competence in skill areas associated with pastoral counseling. Competence includes effective functioning not only in the professional areas of relating, assessment, and problem-solving skills, but also in conceptual abilities related to personality, learning, integration, and other theoretical constructs. Underlying these performances must be the foundational abilities to do self-analysis, to discern and relate cultural patterns to ministry, and to bring all practice under the judgment of a biblical-theological philosophy of ministry.
Second, the concentration aims to enable the student to make a contribution to the field of pastoral counseling through a D.Min. project. The project is the student’s actual counseling done in an unexplored, skill-enhancing, or problematic area of counseling ministry. The project must rest upon a biblical base, take into account any previous work done in the particular area of research, define in repeatable steps the course of the project, and evaluate its conformity to biblical principles and effectiveness in reaching its goals.
Counseling Concentration Prerequisite
Students within the D.Min. Counseling Concentration are required to take the following prerequisite courses within the first year in the program:
- PTC 151 Dynamics of Biblical Change
- PTC 261 Human Personality
Students may choose to complete these courses either through Westminster or through CCEF. If the student completes these courses prior to matriculation, either through Westminster or CCEF, this requirement will be waived.
Urban Mission Concentration
This concentration seeks to develop skills for leadership and disciplined self-analysis in ministry in urban settings in North America and overseas. The student will learn to interact theologically with insights drawn from the behavioral and social sciences for a better understanding of urban cultures and urban ministries. A constant effort will be made to coordinate all the phases of the program with the concrete particular needs arising out of each student’s particular place of ministry.
Applicants for the D.Min. program who lack the M.Div. degree may meet the admission requirement if they meet the criteria stated under section 6.10.1.a (Credentials).
In the D.Min. program, a prerequisite for admission is at least three years in full-time pastoral ministry or Christian service, after receiving an M.Div. or its equivalent. Specific application of theory and methodology must be demonstrated in an extended period of ministry subsequent to entry into the program.
6.10.a Student Learning Goals
Upon graduation, the student will:
- Exhibit a deep love for the Triune God, his word, his truth and his church; and a Christ-like humility in relation with others.
- Demonstrate the ability to be a reflective practitioner in ministry through interrelating theory and practice.
- Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the integration of ministry with the various theological disciplines.
- Have made a contribution to the understanding and practice of ministry through the completion of a doctoral-level project.