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    Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
    Doctor of Ministry Office
    130 Essex Street
    South Hamilton, MA 01982
    Fax: (978) 646-4574
    Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. M-F

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    Take a look at our Doctor of Ministry tracks.

Pastoral Skills

First Residency Dates:

April 27 - May 8, 2015 (South Hamilton entry), or October 19 - 30, 2015 (South Hamilton entry) or February 1-12, 2016 (Charlotte entry)

Campus: Hamilton (April or October) or Charlotte (February)
Primary Faculty Mentors: Dr. Ken Swetland, Dr. David Currie
Other Mentors May Include: Dr. David Horn, Dr. Gordon Isaac, Dr. Mary B. Havens
  Read this article by Dr. Currie.

Advanced Standing for Military Chaplains
Advanced Standing for Arrow Leadership
Advanced Standing for Th.M. in Preaching

Informing spiritual passions by...

Forming mentored learning communities, thereby...

Transforming ministers and ministries for a lifetime.







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When the church entered the 20th century, she fought battles unknown in the 19th century. Now as she enters the 21st century - and the third millennium - new times demand new skills and new understandings of the pastoral calling and task. What will it take to minister effectively in these postmodern times? This specialization focuses on updating and upgrading your skills for pastoral ministry in the light of new challenges. Pastors are under great pressure to be all things to all people. Where are the pastors who understand the Scriptures and are anchored in a theology of ministry that applies biblical truth to life? Where are the pastors who understand the changing needs of people and can minister to them with integrity, without engaging in fads that either compromise the gospel or weaken the calling of the church to worship and service? This Doctor of Ministry track addresses the person of the pastor and the tasks of pastoral ministry as the new century dawns.

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As a Doctor of Ministry student, you attend three, two-week intensive residencies which consist of lectures, case studies, participant reports and individual consultations. The classroom sessions are collegial in style and stress learning within a community context. In preparation for each residency, you read between 2,000 and 3,000 pages of assigned and collateral reading. Sample readings include:

The Pastor as Person

  • Baxter, Richard. The Reformed Pastor. (Originally published: 1656) Any modern edition, e.g. Banner of Truth, Sovereign Grace, etc.
  • Edwards, Gene. A Tale of Three Kings : A Study in Brokenness. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1992.
  • Hansen, David. The Art of Pastoring: Ministry Without All the Answers.Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994.
  • Howatch, Susan. Volumes 1 (Glittering Images), 2 (Glamorous Powers) 3 (Ultimate Prizes), or 6 (Absolute Truths) of her Church of England Novels series. Any edition.
  • Karon, Jan. Any of the Mitford novels with Father Tim Cavanaugh (e.g. At Home in Mitford, A Light in the Window, etc.). Any edition.
  • Laniak, Timothy S. Shepherds After My Own Heart: Pastoral Traditions And Leadership in the Bible (New Studies in Biblical Theology). Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2006.
  • Lawrenz, Mel. The Dynamics of Spiritual Formation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000.
  • Lischer, Richard. Open Secrets: A Memoir of Faith and Discovery. Any edition.
  • Peterson, Eugene. The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993. Also his trilogy on pastoring: Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980. Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987. Under the Unpredictable Plant: An Exploration of Vocational Holiness. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992.
  • Peterson, Eugene and Dawn, Marva. The Unnecessary Pastor: Rediscovering the Call. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000.
  • Piper, John. Brothers, We are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002.
  • Pue, Carson. Mentoring Leaders: Wisdom for Developing Character, Calling, and Competency. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2005.
  • Stott, John. Basic Christian Leadership: Biblical Models of Church, Gospel And Ministry. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006.
  • Thrall, Bill, McNicol, Bruce, & McElrath, Ken. The Ascent of a Leader: How Ordinary Relationships Develop Extraordinary Character and Influence. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1999.

The Pastor As A Preacher

  • Haddon Robinson, Biblical Preaching
  • Duane Litfin, Public Speaking Handbook for Christians, 2nd edition.
  • Sidney Greidanus, The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text.
  • Thomas Long, Preaching and the Literary Forms of the Bible.
  • Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth.
  • Bryan Chappell, Christ-centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon.
  • Mark Galli and C. Larson, Preaching That Connects.
  • Haddon Robinson and Torrey Robinson, It's All in How You Tell It.
  • Keith Wilhite and Scott Gibson, The Big Idea of Biblical Preaching.

The Pastor As A Caregiver

  • Benner, D. G. (2003). Strategic Pastoral Counseling: A Short-Term Structured Model. 2 nd ed. Baker. (Highly recommended)
  • Berkley , J. (1989). Called Into Crisis. Carol Stream, IL: CTi. (Out of Print)
  • Collins, G. (1988).Christian Counseling. Waco, TX: Word Books
  • Corsini, R. & Wedding (1995) (6 th ed). Current Psychotherapies. Itaska , IL : Peacock Publishers
  • Crabb, L. (1977). Effective Biblical Counseling. Grand Rapids: Zondervan
  • Egan, G. (1994) (7 th ed). The Skilled Helper. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
  • Jones, S. & Butman, R. (1991). Modern Psychotherapies. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity.
  • Kollar, C. A. (1997). Solution-Focused Pastoral Counseling. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
  • Sanders, R. K., ed. (1997). Christian Counseling Ethics. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity.

To order these books through Christian Book Distributors, visit gcts.christianbook.com.

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Here is how your studies will transform you and your ministry by seeking to fulfill our general Doctor of Ministry goals in some track-specific ways:

  • To resource students through a biblically-grounded educational program taught by faculty who are committed to God's Word and the application of principles of Scripture to the issues of contemporary culture.
  • Dr. Ken Swetland's two books, Facing Messy Stuff in the Church & The Hidden World of the Pastor, illustrate his passion for the whole being of the pastor and a pastor's relationship with a triune God.
  • With 26 years of pastoral experience, Dr. David Currie has spent considerable time applying principles of Scripture to the issues of the pastorate.
  • To form in students a sound foundation of theological and biblical inquiry in their professional doctoral program's specialized track that they are able to integrate into the life of Christian ministry.
  • During the year of Pastor as Person, students are asked to reflect on the biblical model of shepherd as leader.
  • During the year of Pastor as Counselor, students will explore principles of pastoral counseling, including the biblical-theological basis for counseling.
  • Students will learn to appreciate the benefits of sound exegetical practice in interpreting various genres of Scripture during the year of Pastor as Preacher.
  • To provide students with the skill sets and understandings in a specialized area of ministry to such an extent that they can impact their congregation or community more powerfully for God.
  • Students will enhance their preaching skills and grow as persons who lead others in Christian and spiritual maturity.
  • Students will develop and refine listening and responding skills that will enhance counseling skills and aid in assessing the needs of others.
  • To create through the cohort model of the program a dimension of Christian community and spiritual nurturing so that students form strong friendships with one another and enter long-term relationships with the scholars who guide the learning experience.
  • Throughout the residencies, students will participate in class discussions, case studies, sermon evaluations. These interactions will be the basis for bonds that will last a life-time.
  • To develop in students a deeper understanding of Christ's lordship in all areas of life for the common good of the contemporary world.
  • Each residency brings the topics back to Scripture and what God says about each area of discussion.
  • A student's Personal Learning Covenant is developed, refined and tracked throughout the residencies to make sure that God is at the center of all aspects of a student's life.
  • To cultivate within students through critical reflection and careful research through the residencies and projects an enriched Christian witness in the places of society they are called to serve.
  • Each post-residency project is designed to engage the student with their ministry context, applying what they have learned.
  • The Pastor as Preacher project actually asks students to engage with select members of the congregation in sermon analysis, using tools learned inside and outside the residency.
  • Tools like the RAVE Project are presented to students as resources to use in ministry contexts.
  • To instill in students a refreshed view of their ministry as it relates to the proclamation of the Gospel among all people.
  • In Pastor as Person, students hone their ability to hear God's voice and call on their lives.
  • In Pastor as Preacher, students will be exposed to different ways of preaching. They will also be given the opportunity to preach to their colleagues and receive thoughtful feedback.
  • In Pastor as Counselor, students will become familiar with specific topics and problems commonly encountered in pastoral settings in order to develop strategies of intervention and possible help in treating such conditions. Students will also be helped in setting up healthy boundaries in the area of counseling.

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