Feature

Informed and Transformed

Taking leadership to a new level

By

When I entered the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree program at Alliance Theological Seminary (ATS), I expected to be challenged and to gain new insight and skills for ministry. I expected the program to be informational, but I discovered it would also inspire and transform me.

In our first course we were led to consider and, more importantly, to practice disciplines and structures by which our souls receive care. To practice spiritually healthy leadership, one must be a spiritually healthy leader. The practices I learned in that course will remain important to me.

In our second class, noted missiologist Dr. Sherwood Lingenfelter led us to consider our “default patterns” of leadership. With complete but loving honesty, we helped each other identify ways in which our leadership reflected the spiritually unhealthy patterns we addressed in the first class.

I became aware of tendencies and responses I have as a leader that I had never previously considered, and I saw how I needed to address these things. I didn’t just learn about leadership in that course. I changed, and I grew as a leader.

Diversity and Unity

Throughout the program, I experienced all of this with tremendous people who live and minister in different settings from me. In my DMin cohort, I studied with pastors of urban, suburban, and rural churches in the United States.

I studied with the pastor of a church in Bangkok, with the pastor of a Vietnamese congregation, and with pastors of Haitian congregations. In one course I developed a presentation with a man who pastors a large church in Harlem, New York. The church where I serve as pastor is in central Pennsylvania. As we worked together, I was amazed to see remarkable similarities between our churches, even within the context of profound differences.

In the ATS DMin program, I witnessed firsthand the incredible diversity in the Body of Christ yet also the indescribable unity. It reminded me of the “great multitude” described in Revelation 7, comprised of people from every nation, tribe, people, and language standing before the throne. In my classes, I experienced the global character of The Alliance. I can’t imagine a better or a more inspiring learning environment.

What I Gained

I’m thankful to have had studied in the DMin program at ATS. I benefitted in many ways, and as a result my church and those I serve have benefitted. I leave the DMin program with an understanding of what it takes to maintain healthy soul care and with a commitment to do these things both personally and throughout our ministry.

I leave the DMin program with a picture of what my leadership can look like when I am spiritually healthy and with the tools to assess whether or not this is happening. And finally, I leave the DMin program inspired by a global perspective on and vision for the Church.

The ATS DMin program changed me, and I am thankful.

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