The Arts, Ministry, and Mission - Doctor of Ministry Program

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The Arts, Ministry, and Mission

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

Dates and Locations:
Year One: May 27 – June 6th, 2025 St Christopher’s Retreat Center (Near Charleston) and Charlotte Campus
Year Two: May 27 – June 7th, 2026 Stellenbosch and Cape Town, South Africa
Year Three: June 1 – June 11th, 2027 Montreat Conference Center and Charlotte Campus
Primary Faculty Mentors: Dr. Wes Vander Lugt (Leighton-Ford Initiative) and Dr. William Barnett

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Informing

The arts in all their forms—literary, musical, visual, etc.—are embedded within the story of God and integral to Christian ministry and mission. This Doctor of Ministry track is designed to provide a strong biblical and theological framework for engaging with the arts for the sake of vital and robust ministry, mission, and worship.

There are three primary ways of integrating the arts, ministry, and mission, and each one can contribute to the beauty of the church and its gospel witness. The first approach is to focus on the ministry and mission of the arts, which celebrates the inherent gift of the arts to tell truth slant, reshape emotions, form keystone habits, sustain community, and more. The second approach is ministry and mission through the arts, focusing on the role of the arts in areas such as worship, evangelism, discipleship, and apologetics. The third approach is ministry and mission to the arts, which explores the call for Christians to be involved in the arts at every level as well as the role of the church in supporting and caring for artists. Projects within this Doctor of Ministry track may focus on any of these approaches, which enhance each other and share a common biblical and theological foundation.

Forming

As a Doctor of Ministry student, you attend three, two-week residencies (seminars), one each year for three years. The residencies consist of lectures by faculty mentors, visiting presenters and guest lecturers. It will also consist of case studies, site visits and worship/art experiences, participant reports and individual consultations.

  • Students will build an “attention collection” throughout the program that contains works of art and culture that have grabbed and sustained their attention in some formative way.
  • Site visits, art encounters, and worship experiences are a critical component of each residency and will form the basis of individual reflection and group discussions.
  • Students will be encouraged to pursue site visits, art encounters, and worship experiences in their own home contexts throughout the year.
  • Each student will interview an artist to understand the particular dynamics of their calling, work, and experience of faith and the church.
  • Each student will reflect on their own story with the arts in their personal life, church background, and ministry context.

In preparation for each residency, you read between 2,000 and 3,000 pages of assigned and collateral reading. Sample reading includes:

  • Begbie, Jeremy. Abundantly More: The Theological Promise of the Arts in a Reductionist World. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2023.
  • Fujimura, Makoto. Art and Faith: A Theology of Making. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020.
  • de Gruchy, John W. Christianity, Art, and Transformation: Theological Aesthetics in the Struggle for Justice. Cambridge University Press, 2008.
  • Prior, Karen Swallow. The Evangelical Imagination: How Stories, Images, and Metaphors Created a Culture in Crisis. Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2023.
  • King, Roberta R. Global Arts and Christian Witness: Exegeting Culture, Translating the Message, and Communicating Christ. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2019.
  • Taylor, W. David O. Glimpses of the New Creation: Worship and the Formative Power of the Arts. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2019.

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Transforming

  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.
    • Students will be able to discern the role of the arts in the biblical story and the ongoing role of the arts in the story of the church and culture around the world.
  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
    • Students will be able to develop a sound biblical-theological framework for engaging with the arts and promoting the role of creativity and imagination in Christian life, ministry, and mission.
    • Students will be able to explain key developments and traditions in the history of the church as it pertains to the arts, including the unique dynamics of contemporary evangelicalism.
  3. 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 understand and articulate different approaches toward integrating the arts, ministry, and mission, situating their project within one approach.
    • Students will be able to explain and apply the formative and missional role of the arts in their unique context and expressions of ministry and mission.
  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 and mentors will be able to encounter the arts together as a part of their residencies, creating shared experiences that will contribute to their formation, education, and friendships.
    • Students and mentors will have potential opportunities for regional connection and shared experiences outside of the residencies, which will solidify their relationships over the threeyear period.
  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.
    • Students will be able to develop a vision for Christ’s lordship in the arts. One way they will do this is by hearing testimonies from artists and learning the difference it makes to be an artist who is united to Christ, as well as the unique pressures and challenges that should inform effective ministry and mission to the arts.
    • Student will be able to grasp and support the role of artists within God’s kingdom and church.
  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.
    • Students will be able to grasp the importance of Christian culture care in every area of artistic expression.
  7. 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 understand and experience how the global arts are effective for exegeting and expressing culture, translating, and embodying the gospel message, and enriching theology, Christian formation, and ministry (as articulated by Roberta King in Global Arts and Christian Witness)

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