I am excited to share with the congregation the news I will begin my work on my Doctor of Ministry at the University of Dubuque Seminary this May. The program is designed for pastors in the parish and all work is done in the local congregation. I will continue to serve as Interim Pastor at the Presbyterian Church of Broomfield
I have been thinking about this journey for some time now and this winter I took the time to research and then apply for admissions. During the process I consulted with the session and other members of the church to gauge their reaction to my starting this long and consuming journey. The session was enthusiastic and supportive of my decision.
Session’s enthusiasm is critical because the Doctor of Ministry degree is rooted in hands-on ministry. In fact the admissions committee scrutinized the congregation’s willingness to partner with me as I complete my degree. In a sense the congregation will become a learning lab for my studies and all of you will see immediate results.
This year's academic emphasis is The People of God: Being Reformed through Scripture and Prayer in Community. The seminaries webpage states the following:
The Doctor of Ministry degree at UDTS is designed to help pastors revitalize their own ministry for the renewal of the church. The 2014 cohort will be led by Bradley Longfield, Dean and Professor of Church History, and Jerry Andrews, Senior Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego.
During the three consecutive years of the program the cohort will:
Engage in a close reading and prayerful study of Paul’s letter to the Romans and discuss significant theological commentaries in order to listen to God’s Word to us
Engage in a close reading and prayerful study of the Psalms and discuss theologically significant reflections on prayer in the church in order to form our response to God’s Word.
Engage in rigorous theological study and vigorous communal reflection on what it means to be the church, the people of God.
I am excited to begin this journey because I strongly believe it will have a strong and positive impact on the life of the church.
So what does this mean for the church?
1. The church will gain an academic partner and consultant. The purpose of the Dmin (Doctor of Ministry) is to empower revitalization and development in the church. The church will directly benefit as we achieve the goals stated in the curricula which are to
• Define "congregational revitalization" and show evidence of renewal within your particular ministry setting.
• Think theologically by integrating learning from the classical disciplines (Bible, history, theology, and ministry) into the life of the local congregations.
• Identify significant theological and social issues in your congregation as well as within the church catholic.
• Develop lay congregational leaders by identifying leadership gifts and skills within the congregation and by demonstrating the function of these lay gifts/skills in congregational revitalization.
2. You will hear more sermons from the book of Romans
3. A guest preacher will lead worship on May 18 and May 25. I will be on campus May 18-May 29. I will use my two weeks of study leave to accommodate this requirement. I will ensure there is pastoral care coverage for the two weeks I am in Iowa
4. You will still have access to pastoral care from me. I will still be available to the congregation for care and support all through my time as the interim pastor. I might be a bit harder to reach between the hours of 5:00 -7:00am but at other times I will still be accessible
I really do believe this will be an exciting journey for the congregation as we partner together to discern new ways to be the church in an ever-changing culture. Along with preaching more from Romans I will also be offering Bible studies
and discussion groups giving people access to the insights I gain in this pursuit.
If you have questions feel free to ask.