On a search for continuing education

Continuing education is important for pastors.  As a pastor, within my letter of call, I am allowed two weeks each year in order to take some time out for continuing education classes.  If I could do this within the next 5-6 years, part-time, while I continue my work in parish ministry, that would be a dream come true.  I have been surfing the internet looking through the plethora of programs that are available–D.Min., Th.D. Doing a Th.D/Ph.D. requires a commitment of lots of time and money–neither of which I have an abundance of.  The D.Min. route seems to be the easier but I won’t rule out doing a Th.D. either.  I feel kind of lost in the forest of  programs that are available.

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Author: Kevin S.

A follower of Jesus, a husband and a father. Hobbies include biking, keeping fish if they don't die on me, blogging when I can, theologizing and ministry, and pondering about world affairs.

9 thoughts on “On a search for continuing education”

  1. TC, thanks for that word of advice. Sometimes I feel like I know what I want; then at other times, I change my mind. My wife advised me to just wait and see if I become more clear before making a decision.

    At one point, I remember you were considering going for a PhD. Have you made a decision yet?

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  2. Kevin, your wife is onto something. She knows you better than I do. 😉

    I got accepted into two overseas ThD programs but had to defer for obvious financial reasons at the moment. Perhaps I’ll reconsider someday.

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  3. TC, that`s great you got accepted but it is too bad money can stop to many of us from getting our higher education. That`s why I plan to take it slowly and save up for tuition fees while I work in ministry. I would not quit my pastor job to do a Ph.D.

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  4. My wish would be a PhD to exist where I could stay pastoring and complete that work. I’m in a no-man’s land. I finished a M.A. and have 20 plus years of ministry experience. Regardless of that experience, DMin programs want me to complete a MDiv. Sigh.

    Then, the PhD programs I’ve seen require residency (in the U.S. programs)

    Ugh.

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  5. Dan, isn’t it odd that D.Min degrees ask for an M.Div. but a Ph.D. asks only for a 2-year M.A.? (at least the one’s I’ve checked out in Canada).

    If I remember correctly Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in San Francisco requires that you only fly back and forth for week-long intensives, but you have to pay for airfare, which means more $$$.

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  6. Presumably, the differences are explained by the Ph.D. being a research degree, while the D. Min. is a professional degree. It is a little like the difference between completing a medical degree and a Ph.D. in biology.

    If we do not limit ourselves to theology, but range across all fields, it is not unusual for professional degree programs to have more rigid requirements than research degree programs — but on the other hand, the job market for those with professional degrees is often better than those with research degrees. (A research degree ideally trains the recipient to be a researcher — which in practice often means being a professor — and there is limited demand for researchers.)

    In fact, many Ph.D. programs don’t even require a master’s degree — simply an undergraduate degree.

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  7. Theo, thanks for your input. I do value research and believe it’s necessary to scholarship within the church but demand for pastors with ThD/PhDs are not high. That’s why I’m leaning towards a professional degree like a D.Min. in order to improve my practical skills and knowledge in ministry. Seminary seems to fall short in this area.

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