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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.

Spiritual Formation for Ministry Leaders

Dates: May 22 - June 1, 2018

South Hamilton & at off-site retreat.

There are very special aspects to each of the three residencies; two share the rhythm of one-week at a local retreat center in Mystic, CT and one-week on campus in Hamilton, while one will take place in Orvieto, Italy.

Primary Faculty Mentor: Dr. David Currie, Dr. Steve Macchia
Guest Presenters: Dr. Susan Currie, Dr. Jeremy Stefano, & Adele Calhoun, faculty with Selah, are regular presenters


Read this article by Dr. Currie.
Read this article about Dr. Macchia.

Informing spiritual passions by...

Forming mentored learning communities, thereby...

Transforming ministers and ministries for a lifetime.





Request more information or apply today!



“What do we hope you will gain from participating in this track?... The ability to echo Asaph in your ministry leadership: “But as for me, it is good to be near God.”—Psalm 73:28, as amplified by Abraham Kuyper, the great Dutch evangelical of the turn of the last century: ‘To be “near” is to be so close to God that your eye sees, your heart is aware of, and your ear hears him, and every cause of separation has been removed.’” Steve Macchia & Dave Currie

For ministry to be truly “pastoral”—shepherding a flock—it must involve the “cure of souls,” including the shepherd's own. However, pastors and churches (and ministry leaders and ministries in general) tend to overlook this kind of soul work in the press of institutional demands and cultural expectations. The classic spiritual disciplines revolving around attending to God in the Word, prayer, and reflection are neglected for the unspoken, unholy trinity that drives much of the contemporary church: “bodies, buildings, and bucks.”

The Doctor of Ministry track in “Spiritual Formation for Ministry Leaders” seeks to equip pastors and other ministry leaders to nurture individual and corporate life with God. Check out this definition/philosophy of Spiritual Formation.

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As a Doctor of Ministry student, you attend three two-week intensive residencies (seminars), one each year for three years. The first days of each residency will be on retreat at a retreat center. The residencies 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 reading for the first residency includes:

  • Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. The Cost of Discipleship. New York: Touchstone, 1995. (320 pp.).
  • Casey, Michael. Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina . Liguori, MO: Liguori/Triumph, 1996. (151 pp.).
  • Edwards, Jonathan. A Jonathan Edwards Reader. Edited by Minkema, Kenneth; Smith, John; Stout, Harry. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003. (384 pp.)
  • Fee, Gordon. Listening to the Spirit in the Text. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000. (180 pp.).
  • Ford, Leighton. Transforming Leadership: Jesus' Way of Creating Vision, Shaping Values & Empowering Change. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993. (320 pp.)
  • Foster, Richard. Streams of Living Water: Celebrating the Great Traditions of Christian Faith. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1998. (448 pp.).
  • Fryling, Alice. Disciple Makers’ Handbook: Helping People Grow in Christ. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1989. (211 pp.).
  • Hall, Thelma. Too Deep for Words: Rediscovering Lectio Divina . New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1988. (120 pp.).
  • Imbach, Jeff. The River Within: Loving God, Living Passionately. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1998. (288 pp.).
  • Issler, Klaus. Wasting Time With God : A Christian Spirituality of Friendship With God. Colorado Springs: InterVarsity Press, 2001. (296 pp.).
  • Lawrenz, Mel. The Dynamics of Spiritual Formation. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2000. (173 pp.).
  • Lewis, C.S.. Reflections on the Psalms. Fort Washington, PA: Harvest Books, 1964. (168 pp.).
  • Lovelace, Richard. Dynamics of Spiritual Life: An Evangelical Theology of Renewal. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1979. (455 pp.).
  • McGrath, Alister. Christian Spirituality: An Introduction . Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1999. ( 204 pp.).
  • Mulholland, M. Robert. Invitation to a Journey: A Road Map for Spiritual Formation. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993. (173 pp.).
  • Packer, J.I.. Knowing God. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993. ( 286 pp.).
  • Pennington, Basil. Lectio Divina. New York: Crossroad Press, 1998. (160 pp.).
  • Peterson, Eugene. Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005. (368 pp.).
  • Peterson, Eugene. Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987. (200 pp.).
  • Piper, John. Desiring God: Meditations of A Christian Hedonist. Sister, OR: Multnomah, 1996. (356 pp.).
  • Willard, Dallas. Renovation of the Heart: Putting On the Character of Christ. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2002. (269 pp.).

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

Following each of the first two residencies, you complete a project related to the residency topic. After the third residency, you complete a major thesis-project under the guidance of the directing faculty.

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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.
  • Students will be able to explain how all authentic spiritual formation must flow out of the truth of God's Word and filled with the same Holy Spirit who inspired Scripture.
  • 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.
  • Students will be able to begin formulating their own “spiritual theology” or “theology of the Christian life” that will inform how they live out their own relationship with God and how they seek to encourage others to do so.
  • "Theologically I am encouraged.... All along the Bible has supported spiritual formation but the curriculum brings clarity to the topic." — Barbara Peacock, D.Min. candidate, cohort 2009
  • To provide students with the skill set 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 be able to explain how believers can experience God more fully individually, 1-on-1, and in small and large groups through a variety of classic and contemporary forms of encountering God through Scripture, and will be able to encourage such encounters through wise employment of these skills.
  • 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.
  • Students will be able to experience corporate dimensions of spiritual formation as the cohort --as a whole and in smaller sub-units-- engages in various practices together, both on retreat and in the classroom. The goal will be to encourage everyone to consider one another as “soul friends,” as well as fellow students and scholars.
  • "The relationship with the mentors and the peers in the cohort have been a tremendous blessing. The love and care for others is obvious." — Barbara Peacock, D.Min. candidate, cohort 2009
  • To develop in students a deeper understanding of Christ's lordship in all areas of life for the common good of the contemporary world.
  • Students will be able to experience and explain the classic Benedictine dictum often etched upon the archway from the chapel to the fields “Work is prayer” and its counterpart on the opposite side, seen when returning from the fields to the chapel: “Prayer is work.”
  • "This track provided a real experience and understudy of God, as well as an education. A very well done track." — Doug Mitts, D.Min. candidate, cohort 2009
  • 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.
  • Students will be able to bridge the “credibility gap” between what they profess to believe and what they are actually experiencing in their relationship with Christ, leading to more authentic, compelling witness.
  • "This track helped me understand in a practical way practices that foster a well-formed soul." — Doug Mitts, D.Min. candidate, cohort 2009
  • To instill in students a refreshed view of their ministry as it relates to the proclamation of the Gospel among all people.
  • Students will be able to experience and explain that spiritual formation is not a form of sanctified self-help but the foundation of the Great Commission, as they grow in appreciating the reality of Christ’s living presence in their lives: “And surely, I am with you always”—Matthew 28:20
  • "This program has helped me understand that the call to spiritual formation is still relevant in the 21st century." — Barbara Peacock, D.Min. candidate, cohort 2009

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