I have a few friends who are currently shopping around for post-graduate programs, and all of them are at least considering a Doctorate of Ministry. Considering the fact that I’m fresh out of one myself I figured I would give a quick plug for the D.Min. program at Drew University. Here are the top five reasons that I believe I made the best choice for my doctoral work in ministry.
(1) Quality – I first became familiar with Drew when I was preparing to do post-graduate work in either biblical studies or theology as a seminary student. Drew has renowned scholars in just about every conceivable area of biblical and theological studies. Consider this list: Danna Nolan Fewell (Hebrew Bible), Stephen D. Moore (New Testament), Catherine Keller (Constructive & Feminist Theology), Leonard Sweet (Evangelism and Homiletics), and Thomas C. Oden (Theology — retired in 2004, now Faculty Emeritus). That reads like a Who’s Who list, not to mention the other members of the faculty, many of whom I encountered once I began my studies.
(2) Flexibility – I entered into the Global/Online–Ministerial Leadership program. I did a four-week residency during my three-year program. Everything else was done online. Within my cohort a wide range of faith traditions, experience, age, ethnicity, and time zones were represented. The flexibility of online learning allowed us to connect from all around the world.
(3) Relevance – In too many cases D.Min. programs have become something of a Ph.D.-Light, a scaled-down version of a Ph.D. In such cases students are asked to conduct their learning as if they were Ph.D. students, but with smaller papers, shorter hurdles, and a quicker duration. In contrast to this mentality Drew has made a concerted effort to envision and create a program that equips ministers for relevant ministry in the world. Near the end of my program I transitioned from a traditional ministry context (missionary in the Czech Republic) to a non-traditional ministry context (public school teacher in the USA). Amazingly, I have found that the skills and training I received at Drew have equipped me as much for the latter context as it did for the former.
(4) Innovation – Research is often identified as being either quantitative or qualitative. Yet, Drew has pioneered new ground that transcends this false dichotomy, and is best laid out by Carl Savage and William Presnell in Narrative Research in Ministry. Drew’s model incorporates both quantitative and qualitative elements in research, but offers more than a blended model. Narrative Research in Ministry truly develops a third way, which seeks to discover hidden narratives through collaborative story-brokering within faith communities. The results are clearer understandings of the shared stories within faith communities that lead to a deeper sense of corporate identity within its members.
(5) Affordability – While the things already mentioned warrant a high price tag, I found out that Drew’s D.Min. program is more than competitive with its pricing. In fact, it was significantly more affordable than almost all of the other programs that I was considering before making my choice.
I guess you can get the picture at this point that I could not be any happier with my doctoral experience than I was at Drew. I would encourage anyone considering D.Min. programs to take a serious look at their D.Min. program.