Experiencing the Hol(istic) Package in a Doctor of Ministry Degree
Holistic is the best single word I have for the D.Min. program at Northeastern Seminary. At one and the same time, the program is intellectually challenging and rigorous. It takes a holistic approach in terms of integrating classic theology, with an aggressive, missional, and global orientation in every single course offering, all while spiritual formation is placed in the very center of and throughout the program. NES "hits it out of the park" by bringing in the most outstanding scholars and practitioners for special course modules and conferences to supplement its own outstanding faculty.
Another great strength I found is the way doctoral candidates are allowed and given the option from the very beginning of the program to integrate our particular research and ministry interest into each of the final assignments of each course, enabling us to think through and further develop our specific interest, and filter it through each course offering, along with the input of the instructors and program colleagues. This is an outstanding exercise in doing holistic missional theology.
One of the other notable characteristics of the program is that all of the great sub-traditions of Christianity are highly respected in the NES community—including the way racial and cultural diversity is highly esteemed. My Pentecostal tradition is embraced as a vital and important part of the greater catholic church, both in the academic material and dialogue as well as experientially.
Finally, and rounding out the holism of the NES experience, NES does all this in the framework of truly authentic Christian community. I personally faced the dying and death of my wife throughout the course of the program (and several hospitalizations for myself), and yet I was surrounded again and again by genuine and practical care by not only my D.Min. colleagues but perhaps especially by the faculty and staff. This demonstrated to me that the word “community” was not simply an abstract theological term and idea but a value lived out in extremely warm and heart-felt ways by those leading the program.
What word would you use to describe the strength of a D.Min. degree?
Bob Tice, D.Min. ‘12, is pastor of RiverRock Church in Buffalo, N.Y. His dissertation: Envisioning
and Implementing a Theology and Praxis of Unity-in-Diversity in a Core-City and Multicultural Local Church in the Context of Globalization and Glocalization.