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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.

Ministry to Emerging Generations

First Residency Dates: June 1-12, 2020
Campus: Hamilton
Primary Faculty Mentors: Dr. Walt Mueller, Dr. Adonis Vidu, Dr. Duffy Robbins, and guests

Informing spiritual passions by...

Forming mentored learning communities, thereby...

Transforming ministers and ministries for a lifetime.




"The make-up of this track sets it apart. We're excited to include and address issues and ministry beyond the demographic boundaries of traditional youth ministry. Including those who minister to the emerging generations (children, college students, young adults, etc.) will force us all to think and strategize about how best to consistently communicate the Gospel and facilitate Christian nurture throughout the course of the first half of one's life." -Walt Mueller, D.Min., '05, mentor

Request more information or apply today!

Watch this video to hear D.Min. Mentors Walt Mueller & Duffy Robbins.


Jesus commands his followers to “go and make disciples of all nations.” Fulfilling the Great Commission in a rapidly changing, post-Christian world requires the church to think seriously about responding to the unique “nation” and culture of young people living in our midst. We need also to develop effective paradigms for understanding and reaching cultures of future emerging generations. In fact, the label “Emerging generations” is no longer limited to just teenagers. In addition, “adolescence” is no longer limited to those whose chronological age places them in their middle and high school years. Our growing understanding of early, middle, and extended adolescence has expanded the boundaries on both ends, resulting in a world where youth culture is shaping individuals in the emerging generations from birth through young adulthood.

This track will help those ministering to the emerging generations - youth pastors, children’s ministers, college/young adult ministers, and pastors - to work through the practical implications of living obediently to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ in today’s rapidly changing cultural context (including the changes yet to come). Members of the cohort will be equipped to embrace the task of “dual listening” as defined by John Stott: “We stand between the Word and the world with consequent obligation to listen to both. We listen to the Word to discover even more of the riches of Christ. We listen to the world in order to discern which of Christ’s riches are needed most and how to present them in their best light.” (The Contemporary Christian)

"I finished my Master of Divinity six years ago, and continue to be grateful for the experience; it was a good general preparation for pastoral ministry. However, I have been serving specifically in ministry to young people since then, something directly addressed by only one course in either of my previous degree programs. Over time, I am becoming increasingly aware of how badly the Church needs leaders who have received the specialized training necessary to minister well to children and youth, and of a call to be one of those leaders." -current DMin student


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:

  • Arnett, Jefferey. Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road from the Late Teens through the Twenties. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • Blamires, Harry. The Post Christian Mind. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Vine Books, 1999.
  • Borgman, Dean. Hear My Story: Understanding the Cries of Troubled Youth. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 2003.
  • ________. When Kumbaya Is Not Enough: A Practical Theology for Youth Ministry. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1997.
  • Caputo, John. What Would Jesus Deconstruct?: The Good News of Postmodernism for the Church. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007.
  • Clark, Chap. Hurt: Inside the World of Today’s Teenagers. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2004.
  • Conde-Frazier, Elizabeth, S. Steve Kang, and Gary A. Parrett. A Many Colored Kingdom: Multicultural Dynamics for Spiritual Formation. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2004.
  • Dean, Kenda Creasy. Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling Us About the American Church. Oxford University Press, 2010 (216 pages).
  • Garber, Steven. The Fabric of Faithfulness: Weaving Together Belief and Behavior During the University Years. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1996.
  • The Heidelberg Catechism, (any edition.)
  • Horton, Michael S. Where In The World Is The Church?: A Christian View of Culture And Your Role In It. Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R Publishing, 2002.
  • Kinnaman, David. Unchristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity. . . and Why It Matters. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007.
  • Larson, Scott. At Risk: Bringing Hope to Hurting Teens. Loveland, CO.: Group, 1999.
  • __________. Risk in Our Midst. Loveland, CO.: Group, 2000.
  • __________. When Teens Stray. Vine Books, 2004.
  • Loder, James E. The Logic of the Spirit: Human Development in theological Perspective. San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 1998.
  • Mueller, Walt.Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture: Bridging Teen Worldviews and Christian Truth. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2006.
  • __________. Opie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore: Where Faith, Family, and Culture Collide. Cincinnati, Oh.: Standard. 2007.
  • __________. The Space Between: A Parents Guide to Teenage Development. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2009.
  • __________. Youth Culture 101. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2007.
  • Optiz, Donald and Derek Melleby. The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Brazos, 2007.
  • Parrett, Gary A. & Kang, S. Steve, Teaching the Faith, Forming the Faithful: A Biblical Vision for Education in the Church. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2009.
  • Penner, Myron. ed. Christianity and the Postmodern Turn: Six Views. Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2005.
  • Peterson, Eugene H. Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology. Eerdmans, 2005.
  • Plantinga, Cornelius, Jr. Engaging God’s World: A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning, and Living. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2002.
  • Robbins, Duffy. This Way To Youth Ministry: An Introduction to the Adventure. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2004.
  • Robbins, Duffy and Doug Fields. Speaking to Teenagers: How to Think About, Create, and Deliver Effective Messages. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2007.
  • Romanowski, William D. Eyes Wide Open: Looking For God In Popular Culture. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Brazos, 2001.
  • Smith, Christian and Melinda Denton. Soul Searching: The Spirituality of American Youth. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • Smith, Gordon T. Beginning Well: Christian Conversion and Authentic Transformation. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2001.
  • Smith, James. Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006.
  • Stott, John R. W. The Contemporary Christian: Applying God's Word to Today's World. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1992.
  • Thiselton, Anthony C. Interpreting God and the Postmodern Self. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995.
  • Twenge, Jean. Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled—and More Miserable Than Ever Before. New York: Free Press, 2006.
  • Wells, David F., The Courage to be Protestant: Truth-Lovers, Marketers, and Emergents in the Postmodern World. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008.
  • Willard, Dallas. Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2002.
  • Wolters, Albert M. Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for Reformational Worldview. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1985.
  • Wuthnow, Robert. After the Baby Boomers: Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings Are Shaping the Future of American Religion. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.

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


Here is how your studies will transform you and your ministry:

  • 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. You will:
  • More fully embrace your calling to know both Word and world, believing that doing so is an obedient response to the Great Commission, while working out what that means in our rapidly changing culture.
  • Understand culture and its function in the lives of members of the emerging generations, developing skills in cultural exegesis along with how the results of that practice informs and shapes responsible and effective ministry.
  • Understand and critique the general history of ministry to the emerging generations in the recent history of the evangelical church.
  • Understand and develop ministry responses to the nuances of contemporary culture and how it shapes the emerging generations.
  • 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:
  • Develop tools for evaluating the biblical and theological assumptions undergirding various ministry to emerging generations methodologies through increased awareness of varied theological and pragmatic perspectives concerning ministry to children, youth, and young adults.
  • Formulate their own biblical theology of ministry to the emerging generations as informed by the history and contemporary practice of a variety of ministry traditions, with a view toward developing a philosophy of ministry that is faithful to Scripture and that fits their ministry setting.
  • 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. You will learn to:
  • Plan and implement ministry to the emerging generations that results in effective communication of God’s unfolding historical-redemptive drama, along with effective strategies for the spiritual formation of those God brings into his story.
  • Grow in awareness of historical and contemporary literature on ministry to children, youth, and young adults.
  • Develop competence in your understanding of developmental stages and theory.
  • Develop competence in assessing/exegeting the cultural environment and needs of your unique ministry constituency, the global macro-culture of that constituency, and nuances of their particular constituency’s local culture and its subcultures for more effective evangelism and discipleship.
  • After the first two-week residency, "I walked out of these two weeks with plenty to continue thinking about. We have already had one parents’ meeting to think more deeply about some of these issues, and I hope to find ways to draw more of us (my congregation) into thinking deeply together about our ministry to young people." - current DMin student
  • 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. Cohort members will:
  • Bond together as a ministry community not only through their studies together, but also through shared experiences of worship and fellowship.
  • Develop an appreciation of the responsibility of the minister to the emerging generations to give and receive in the context of a supportive community of fellow ministers who endeavour to sharpen one another in their ministry efforts.
  • 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:
  • Understand how the God who made all things good is working out his historical-redemptive plan through his Kingdom-seeking people in this world, and finally and fully in the new heaven and new earth, and that their calling is to lead the emerging generations to more fully understand and embrace this calling throughout the course of their lives.
  • Be able to develop a Biblical theology of the relationship between Christian faith and contemporary culture, developing insights for evaluating the various ways God’s people have understood and embodied this relationship.
  • 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. As a Doctor of Ministry learner, you will be able to:
  • Critique your ministry in light of biblical and theological perspectives on ministry to the emerging generations.
  • Apply these principles to your own ministry setting.
  • Interpret and help effect change in ministry to the emerging generations within your congregations in ways that draw young people more fully into conformity to the image of Christ, effectively nurturing Christ’s Bride for effective ministry in God’s world both now and in the future.
  • Teach other leaders within your congregations and beyond how to understand, plan, and lead biblically-faithful ministry to the emerging generations.
  • To instill in students a refreshed view of their ministry as it relates to the proclamation of the Gospel among all people. You will be:
  • Challenged to rethink and redefine the marks of effective ministry to the emerging generations, challenging and breaking down the sacred cows that have inhibited rather than advanced effective ministry to the emerging generations.
  • Able to discern principles of evangelism and discipleship that have played a key role in effective ministry to the emerging generations.
  • Learn to explore, understand, and implement principles of cross-cultural witness in today’s rapidly changing post-Christian culture.