My piece on Barth and Bonhoeffer is up at the Karl Barth Blog Conference
Advice about exploring Karl Barth's ecclesiology in Church Dogmatics IV/2 67.4 "The Order of the Community”

Duke Divinity School announces its first D.Min. (Doctor of Ministry) program

Duke Divinity School is now taking applications for their new D.Min. (Doctor of Ministry) program starting in August 2011.  This should be exciting news for many pastors who have longed to be enriched by the theological and biblical resources of the Duke Divinity School faculty but could not relocate to Durham, North Carolina. 

Duke's new D.Min. program is modeled after the predominant model for D.Min. programs. 

It is for pastors and other leaders in Christian institutions "who have spent at least five years in full-time ministry."  Participants will continue in their ministry positions rather than move to Durham, North Carolina.  They will come to Duke Divinity School for one week sessions a few times per year.  "The D.Min. degree is structured on a cohort model that organizes learning around short-term (generally one-week) intensive residential seminars in conjunction with ongoing group interaction facilitated by online tools. Each residential seminar will be followed by a period of structured distance learning during which students will engage one another and faculty on a weekly basis."  The program will take about three years to complete.

Many schools offer the D.Min. degree. 

According to the The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada 2009-2010 data tables, Duke Divinity School is the 17th biggest seminary in the United States and Canada.  There are 228 ATS schools that offer "Basic Programs Oriented Toward Ministerial Leadership, Master of Divinity Program."  There are 138 ATS schools that offer "Advanced Programs Oriented Toward Ministerial Leadership" (p. 16).  The latter category includes these degrees (p. 162):

  • Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
  • Doctor of Missiology (DMiss)
  • Doctor of Educational Ministry (DEdMin)
  • Doctor of Education (EdD)
  • Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Duke's program is quite similar to those from: Fuller Theological Seminary, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Asbury Theological Seminary, Bethel Seminary, and Northern Seminary and probably most other D.Min. programs.  (Princeton Theological Seminary no longer offers one).  With 138 ATS schools offering degrees like these, the quality of D.Min. programs varies just as an MBA and law degree differ widely from school to school.  

Why the D.Min.?

I think D.Min. degrees are very good for pastors and for churches.  In them, pastors reflect on their ministries, find outside friendships and wisdom, recharge their batteries, and deepen their theological wells.  It seems good to me that local churches would want to provide perhaps 75% of the tuition for the degree with the pastor paying the rest. 

Can I become a professor with a D.Min. degree?  No, not usually.

The D.Min. degree is designed for pastors who plan to continue in ministry. 

If one hopes to become a professor at a seminary or theological school, a Ph.D. or Th.D. is usually necessary.  See information about Duke's degrees at: Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) and Ph.D. in the Graduate Program in Religion.  See also my slightly dated post: Advice about Duke Th.D. and Ph.D programs in theology

There are two exceptions in which a person with a D.Min. could serve as a professor.

(1) It is possible for someone with a D.Min. degree to get a job as a professor of Christian ministry at a seminary, but it is usually because the person is a prolific and distinguished author and has been a pastor for thirty years in a famous pulpit--not so much because they have earned a D.Min. degree. 

(2) It is also possible for someone with a D.Min. to be asked to teach one class a semester as an adjunct professor.  One study showed that almost 70% of courses in the USA at all universities (not just seminaries) are taught by non-tenured and non-tenure track faculty.  They often get paid about $2,500 a class which is not a whole lot.  (A full load is usually between 4 and 8 courses per year for a full-time faculty member which would add up to a salary of $10,000-20,000 per year if they were paid like an adjunct).  In other words, you may be able to find a few courses to teach as an adjunct, but this is really not a sustainable career move.  For people with Ph.D. or Th.D. degrees, here are the Assistant Professor (which is the starting position for faculty) average salaries: 4 year Public 59K; 4 year Private 62K; ATS Schools 54K. The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada 2009-2010 data tables p.82.

Duke has also announced two other new degree programs starting in the fall of 2011.  

  1. Master of Arts in Christian Practice A two year degree designed for people who are in ministry but who do not want to do the full MDiv program.  They are thinking about youth pastors as one constituency. 
  2. Master of Arts in Christian Studies A one year degree in which a lay person can get exposed to the theological disciplines.  They are hoping that some Christians tack on this degree to their undergraduate work at Duke or another graduate degree in the university.  This seems to me very similar to Regent College's Diploma in Christian Studies--a chance for a thoughtful lay person to take a year off from their normal work and deepen in their theological knowledge. 

Besides the new three, the following are the current degrees at Duke Divinity which are all very strong.

  • The core degree at the school of course is the three year degree for people who want to be pastors: Master of Divinity
  • There are also many people currently at Duke doing the two year Master of Theological Studies which is a two year degree that is mostly for people who hope to get into Ph.D. programs. 
  • They also offer the Master of Theology which is a degree that some people do after their M.Div. which prepares people for Ph.D. work. 
  • And about 9 a year get accepted to the Doctor of Theology program which prepares people for academic positions in the Christian theological disciplines.  

Other ways to experience the rich resources of Duke Divinity School: 

  • Much of the good content that goes through Duke Divinity School is being popularized and presented nicely at the Faith & Leadership website.  
  • The lists of required books for each course at Duke Divinity are listed at the Course Schedule page. 
  • Come to Duke's "Pastor's Conference" which is called in good Methodist jargon: Convocation & Pastors’ School.  It is sold out this year with N.T. Wright, Rob Bell and Andy Crouch coming.  The audio is up at this iTunes link (Oct 28 2010). 
  • There are a number of interesting audio recordings at Duke's iTunes podcasts at:
  • A number of videos and audio sermons are available at the Duke Chapel website (which is a church that meets on Sunday morning at Duke University and is led by Duke Divinity faculty member Sam Wells). 
  • Finally, you can catch the news at Duke Divinity School at its Twitter account