Summary of Doctor of Ministry Program

A. On-Campus Seminars (12 hours of credit; 6 hours of Seminar Preparation credit)

Students will attend three on-campus D.Min. seminars of three weeks’ duration each. The seminars will be scheduled for the July term each year, but may be scheduled at other times of the year depending on enrollment in the program. Each seminar will be a combination of core requirements including reading, reports on reading, written presentations integrating the seminar subject with one’s ministry, and additional readings and assignments negotiated with each student. A variety of assignments may be expected including case studies, research papers on a ministry topic, or examples of ministry from one’s setting (sermons, verbatim, organizational analyses, contextual studies, etc). Students are required to register for two hours of Seminar Preparation in the semester prior to the scheduled seminar with completion of the core preparation two months prior to the scheduled seminar. The additional student-negotiated research and writing for the seminar will be completed on a schedule approved by the seminar faculty leaders.

Seminars may be completed in any sequence. Normally each student will complete one seminar each year of the three year program. The three seminars and their course descriptions are listed below. A common syllabus has been developed by the faculty for each seminar and will be available to the student in advance of registration for each unit of Seminar Preparation. 

Biblical/Theological Foundations for Ministry

     Seminar Preparation DMIN 720

     Seminar  DMIN 732


Course Description: This seminar pursues biblical and theological promptings toward the mission of the church and the role of the minister. It will include a brief overview of recent methodologies in biblical exegesis and ministry-oriented themes in contemporary theology. It will involve the participants in the habit of theological thinking about pastoral issues and hermeneutical moves from biblical texts. The seminar will also focus on the selection and integration of texts and theological themes for specific ministries to which the student is involved as related particularly to project theses.


Contextual Ministry and Culture Today

     Seminar Preparation DMIN 733

     Seminar DMIN 734


Course Description: This course will study the dynamics between congregations/organizations as systems within which ministry occurs and the cultural, community, and local environments which impact strategies for mission, evangelism, and service. Students will complete analyses of their community context, interpretations of the impact of cultural change on ministry, and explore the role of organizational identity in adapting to changing environments. Emphasis on the importance of ethics as a constructive response to culture will be given.


Ministry Skills

     Seminar Preparation DMIN 730

     Seminar DMIN 731


Course Description:   This course will deepen the student’s understanding and practice of a variety of core skills and meta-skills that are essential for all types of ministry. Students will make changes to improve their ministry and assess their strengths and weaknesses in each area. These skills may be applied in whatever tasks of ministry are appropriate for the student’s context including preaching, teaching, pastoral care, administration, evangelism, Christian education, spiritual guidance, and leadership. Competence will be enhanced in the following areas: 1) self-awareness; 2) other awareness; 3) self-management; 4) social skills; and 5) spiritual awareness and leadership.

B. Ministry Coaching (6 hours of credit, 2 hours for each four month unit)

Most students will engage in a unit of Ministry Coaching as the first requirement of the program. This unit of study, reflection, and conversation with one’s Ministry Coach will identify the student’s sense of calling, important factors in one’s current place of ministry, goals for the D.Min. program, a projected course of study, and the subject for a potential project thesis. As a part of the unit, the student will propose a Faculty Supervisor consistent with his/her potential Project Thesis. The written work of the unit of Ministry Coaching will be available to the requested Faculty Supervisor as a part of the faculty member’s agreement to provide Faculty Supervision.

Ministry coaching is at the center of the design of D.Min. program for the integration of theory and praxis, classroom and church, research, and ministry. Three units of Ministry Coaching will be completed as follows:

Ministry Coaching I: Passion for My Calling. DMIN 740  


Course Description: Readings/reflections/conversations around the issues of identity, spirituality, and fit in present ministry. Completed prior to selection of a faculty supervisor.


Ministry Coaching II: Evaluating My Ministry. DMIN 741


Course Description: Readings/reports/conversations focusing on current ministry setting, specific areas of change, potential project directions. Negotiated with coach/faculty supervisor.


 Ministry Coaching III: Projecting New Initiatives in Ministry. DMIN 742


Course Description: Foundational readings for biblical/theological/historical/ministry/ research literature for project thesis. Negotiated with coach/faculty supervisor.


C. Project Thesis Workshops (2 hours credit, 1 hour per workshop)


The culmination of the D.Min. program is the completion of a Project Thesis. The Project Thesis should reflect the research skills learned in the program and demonstrate the student’s capacity to integrate biblical, theological, historical, and contextual research with a specific ministry project that is practical and reflective of the student’s abilities as a leader and minister.


                        Project Thesis Workshop I. DMIN 750


                        Project Thesis Workshop II. DMIN 751


It is recommended the Project Thesis Workshops be taken relatively early in the program. At least one seminar and Ministry Coaching I are prerequisites to enrollment in the workshops. Each workshop will be scheduled for one week, M-F sequentially. Students may enroll for either or both, as long as Workshop I is completed before Workshop II. The workshops will guide the student in the processes of conceptualizing a ministry project including the specific ministry to be performed, foundational academic research related to it, and social research methods for analysis and evaluation. Attention will be given to the development of a Project Thesis Proposal, Mercer University expectations for Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, necessary writing skills, and form and style expectations of the school will be reviewed. Completion of the IRB approval or IRB Exemption approval is required for the completion of Project Thesis Workshop I. Completion of a Project Thesis Proposal worthy of submission to the D.Min. Committee is required for the completion of Project Thesis Workshop II. If both seminars are completed together, both expectations must be met within the time frame of the course.

D. The D.Min. Project Thesis (6 hours of credit, 2 hours per unit)

If the Project Thesis Proposal is approved by the D.Min. committee, the student may begin work on the Project Thesis, under faculty leadership. If the proposal is not approved, it will be returned to the student’s faculty supervisor who will ask the student to correct any problems and to re-submit the proposal to the committee for review. Failure to receive approval of the proposal the second time will result in the student being required to re-take the final project thesis workshop. If, for any reason, the student fails to achieve approval after re-taking the final project thesis workshop and resubmitting the proposal, the student will be asked to withdraw from the program.

  Project Thesis Writing I. DMIN 755


Once the Project Thesis Proposal is approved, the student will begin writing with supervision from the faculty supervisor who approved the proposal. Submission of all materials requesting IRB approval from the university should be sought before actual writing begins. One may enroll for Project Thesis Writing and a Ministry Coaching unit at the same time, but may not enroll a for seminar preparation course while enrolled for Project Thesis Writing.


Project Thesis Writing II. DMIN 756


Enrollment in Project Thesis Writing II requires a written schedule for completion of at least one third of the anticipated final draft approved by the Faculty Supervisor. All written work should be submitted to both the Faculty Supervisor and Ministry Coach for review.


Project Thesis Writing III. DMIN 757

The student should enroll for this course of supervision during a time frame the final draft of the Project Thesis will be completed. The final copy shall be submitted to the D.Min. office no later than January 15 of the year in which the student plans to graduate in May. 

E. Oral Examination (1 hour of credit). DMIN 758

An Oral Examination is given to the candidate upon completion of the Final Project Thesis by the Faculty Supervisor, Ministry Coach, and a second faculty member. Upon passing the oral examination the candidate is eligible for graduation from the program.

F.  Changes in Doctor of Ministry Requirements

Requirements of the program are effective for each student at the point of first admission. The faculty reserves the right to change any requirements, but will work with students individually to accommodate any hardships created by program changes.

G. Costs of the Program for Students Entering 2010-2011

Tuition costs per credit hour may change from year to year for the D. Min. Program.  The per-credit-hour tuition fee is $335 per credit hour for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Based on the current level of tuition of $335 per credit hour or $11,055 for the program, the following summary of course requirements and costs for the program should be anticipated. A typical expectation for fees for tuition would be:


                 Year One                    $3,350

                 Year Two                    $3,350

                 Year Three                  $4,355

            TOTAL                     $11,055


Costs of books, travel, living on campus, some costs for Spiritual Practice, fees for Project Thesis binding, and commencement regalia will be in addition to these fees.

Financial Aid

Need-based financial aid is available for qualified students enrolled for at least 3 hours credit through loans, the federal work-study program, and the Montgomery GI Bill. Information concerning need-based financial aid, including monthly payment plans, is available at the service counter in the Enrollment Services Center or by calling 678-547-6134 or by going to the Financial Aid Information website.

Michelle Brooks Garber would love to speak with you  more about the structure of the program and  completing the application for admission.  We hope you will take a moment to get to know us and give us a chance to get to know you.  For more information please contact the Doctor of Ministry degree office at 888.471.9922.
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