New Doctor of Ministry for 'Reflective Practitioners'

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Back in september, I posted about a possible new D.Min programme, that I was asked to plan, and set up, then lead for George Fox University.

I got some great feedback and comments from some of you back then. So I thought I'd update you with the progress and planning for this new D.Min.

Below are some of the highlights of the programme, from my latest planning document, and the URL for the web site where the programme will be detailed is at http://gmldmin.georgefox.edu

I. Global Reflective Practitioners: Reflective Practice Many church leaders are dissatisfied with the current separation between theory and practice. They are tired of the idealized theories about church that have not translated into practice, and positive concrete measurable change. They are also discontent with the programmed practical approaches to church that continue without theological reflection and thinking. They are looking for something different.

This new breed of church leader wants to engage in theological reflection that informs practice, and practice that is informed by theological reflection. We call this new breed of theologically aware leaders, ‘reflective practitioners’.

It is for these emerging ‘reflective practitioners’ that the Global Missional Leadership Doctor of Ministry (GML DMin) track had been designed.

‘Reflective practitioners’ are leaders who:

• Want a 'thick', and comprehensive understanding of our culture, and the problems the church faces • Want to be stretched theologically, and to develop theological reflection skills to use in this task for the rest of their lives • Are in love with the body of Jesus, and are looking for hopeful and inspiring directions and possibilities • Are not shy of critiquing the church in all it’s forms, including the ones most dear to them • Want to grow and integrate all this learning into their own leadership development • Want to connect with others in a learning environment committed to relational learning, and mutuality • Are looking to bring themselves as a resource to the program and their peers • Are looking for a coaching and mentoring environment from a body of peers, that would mutually inspire each other • Want to learn from experiences of other ‘reflective practitioners’ from around the world

II. Contours of the Global Missional Leadership Doctor of Ministry Program The GML DMin seeks to equip these ‘reflective practitioners’ by exploring three key domains, through three key methods, with real world experience in three continents.

A. Three Domains There are three key areas that we are seeking to map, explore and understand as ‘reflective practitioners’, of the World, Church, and Leadership.

1. World and Culture: We will orient ourselves to Global Emerging Culture. We will explore and trace the philosophical, cultural, political, sociological, religious and scientific developments that are occurring in our international emerging culture. We will also seek to identify some of the key challenges our world faces, that the church must address.

2. The Nature and Purpose of the Church: What is the nature and purpose of church? We will make a detailed exploration of the history and theology of the church, and it’s various practices in history. This will enable us to formulate suitable ecclesiological response for our current culture and context.

3. Leadership in a Global Context: We will then explore and describe the nature and appropriate conception of leadership for the contexts we find ourselves in. What kind of leadership is coherent, and consonant with the context and challenges we have identified? What does all this mean for the ministry contexts we find ourselves in as ‘reflective practitioners’ today, and for the future?

B. Three Key Approaches As ‘reflective practitioners’ we are not content to have our contexts described by sociological tools and metaphors, or be restricted to abstract theological analysis. Instead we seek a rigorous and vigorous combination of theological/biblical reflection, historical location, and sociological analysis. In other words we want produce our ‘thick’ understanding of the three domains of world, church and leadership with the following tools:

1. Theology 2. History 3. Sociology

C. Three Continents We gather as ‘reflective practitioners’ face to face three times during the first two years of our program in three continents:

1. Europe 2. Africa 3. Asia

We will meet at sites that are historically significant for theological reflection and discussions. We will visit locations and use the environments we find ourselves in to facilitate our discussions and conversations. We will also meet with and hear from, local church leaders and theologians, to engage and learn from their global perspective.

Our hope is that we will form international relationships for ongoing research and ministry support, as well as deepening our understanding of the global and historical church.

This enables us to:

• Interact: With other ‘reflective practitioners’ from outside our contexts, to enter into their worlds, and church leadership experiences, to better understand and reflect on our own. • Develop friendships: To develop global friendships and relationships that might resource us in our ministry contexts for the present and future • Engage in peer learning: To provide space and time, for us to gather as peers, and share together our learning and any specialties that we have developed during the program. • Clarify and deepen one’s learning: To ensure we understand and take deeper what has been learned in the program modules • Encourage one another: To coach, encourage, inspire and support each other in the ministry contexts we find ourselves in