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.

9 thoughts on “On a search for continuing education

  1. 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.


  2. 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.


  3. 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 $$$.


  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)



  5. 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.


  6. 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.


  7. 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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