Pastoral Theology

In the Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Theology, we help foster intellectual and spiritual growth for those in a pastoral vocation by focusing on key aspects of the pastoral calling from biblical, theological, and practical angles.

The role of the pastor is undergoing tremendous change and challenge. In this time of change, there are many ideas about what makes a pastor effective. But are these ideas consistent with a biblical notion of pastor? How do we become more effective in a time when pastors are losing their sense of identity and vocation as shepherds? What is pastoral theology and how can this equip us in day-to-day ministry?

To answer these questions, students will examine biblical, theological, and historical resources, as well as engage with a variety of ministry practitioners who have been effectively serving as pastor-shepherds. Dr. Joel Lawrence, the cohort mentor, has served as associate professor of systematic theology at Bethel Seminary since 2005.

What Students Gain

From understanding multiple models of pastoral theology to learning the value of self-leadership, students become equipped to lead in transformational ways.

Students will:

  • Explore the foundations and core concepts for pastoral theology
  • Develop an understanding of the process of integral research and doctoral writing
  • Engage with historical and theological models of pastoral theology
  • Understand of the role of the pastor within the church community from the perspective of ecclesiology and pastoral praxis
  • Explore how God forms pastors by engaging the role of spiritual formation and disciplines for pastoral praxis
  • Investigate the pastoral/theological emphases that undergird the relationships between pastors and the people they serve

Program Model

In the cohort program, students take 7 course units and write a thesis over 4 years, meeting for week-long resident intensives each summer and winter in St.Paul, Minnesota.

Sample Courses

  • Shepherds After My Own Heart: Foundations of Pastoral Theology
  • Integral Research and Writing
  • Models of Pastoral Theology
  • The Ecclesial Pastor
  • Spiritual Preparation for Pastoring
  • The Care of Souls: Pastors and People
  • Thesis Proposal Workshop

Academic Catalog