Pastoral Theology in Practice (Charlotte Cohort) - Doctor of Ministry Program


Pastoral Theology in Practice (Charlotte Cohort)

Informing spiritual passions by…
Forming mentored learning communities, thereby…
Transforming ministers and ministries for a lifetime.

First Residency Dates: February 19 – March 1, 2024
Residency Location: Charlotte Campus
Primary Faculty Mentors: Dr. David Currie, Dr. Doug Carver, Dr. Mike Moses

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Watch Dr. Currie preach, “God’s History is a Love Story.”

As the church encounters the 21st century, new times demand new skills and new understandings of pastoral calling and service. Where are the pastors who understand the Scriptures and are anchored in ministry that applies biblical truth to life? You say you believe in the Trinity, but how is that reflected in your preaching or worship leadership? Where are the pastors who can minister to changing needs of people with integrity, without engaging in fads that weaken the calling of the church? You are moving to video-based sermons because it is efficient, popular, “high-tech” etc., but have you considered how this might undermine belief in the centrality of the Incarnation? This Doctor of Ministry journey updates and upgrades the ministry skills of pastoral theologians in light of these new challenges.


A Doctor of Ministry student attends three, two-week intensive residencies which consist of lectures, case studies, peer sharing and individual consultations.

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:

Deepening the Call

  • Edwards, Gene. A Tale of Three Kings : A Study in Brokenness. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1992.
  • Hybels, Bill. Courageous Leadership. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002, 2009.
  • Rohrer, David. The Sacred Wilderness of Pastoral Ministry: Preparing a People for the Presence of the Lord. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2012.
  • Wilson, Michael Todd, and Brad Hoffman. Preventing Ministry Failure. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2007.

Proclaiming the Word

  • Alcántara, Jared E. Crossover Preaching: Intercultural-Improvisational Homiletics in Conversation with Gardner C. Taylor. Downers Grove: IVP, 2015.
  • Chapell, Bryan. The Hardest Sermons You’ll Ever Have to Preach. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011.
  • Robinson, Haddon. Biblical Preaching. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001.
  • Sunukjian, Donald.Invitation to Biblical Preaching: Proclaiming Truth with Clarity and Relevance. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2007.

Caring for the Flock

  • Benner, D. G. Strategic Pastoral Counseling: A Short-Term Structured Model. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003.
  • Johnson, W. Grad, and William L. Johnson. The Minister’s Guide to Psychological Disorder and Treatments. 2nd ed. Routledge, 2014.
  • Swetland, Ken. Facing Messy Stuff in the Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2005.

To order these books through Christian Book Distributors, go to our online bookstore:

GCTS Bookstore


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

  1. 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.
  2. 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 Deepening the Call, students are asked to reflect on the biblical model of shepherd as leader.
    • During the year of Caring for the Flock, students will explore principles of pastoral counseling, including the biblical-theological basis for counseling.
    • During the year of Proclaiming the Word students will learn to appreciate the benefits of sound exegetical practice in interpreting various genres of Scripture.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 grow in their zeal for the glory of God through shared worship and community.
    • Students will participate in class discussions, case studies, sermon evaluations together – interactions that form bonds that will last a life-time.
  5. 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.
    • Each 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.
  6. 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 Proclaiming the Word project 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.
  7. To instill in students a refreshed view of their ministry as it relates to the proclamation of the Gospel among all people.

    • In Deepening the Call, students hone their ability to hear God’s voice and call on their lives.
    • In Proclaiming the Word, 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 Caring for the Flock, 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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