New Doctor of Ministry program: Can you help me?

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The new doctor of ministry program that I will be leading/directing for George Fox Seminary, has been in development for 18 months, and now has accreditation and authorisation and is gearing up for launch January 2010.

You can now download this prospectus for the Global Missional Leadership D.Min program.

I am so excited about the possibilities for this program, in particular:

1. Theological: A vigorous and rigorous theological exploration of leadership, church and culture 2. Relational: Co-hort based, and with face to face experiences 3. Global: The face to face experiences in Europe, Africa and Asia, meeting with leaders, churches, missions on the ground, and the online international community around the program. 4. Open Source: The learning community around the program that is open to anyone who wants to be involved whether they are on the program or not. 5. Social Media: The use of social media and technology that will be integral to the program delivery and learning activities.

In trying to get the word out, could you forward this to friends, tweet, facebook, and blog with a link to the program? Thanks in advance for all your help.

Some more highlights from the program prospectus are below:

Purpose

Many Christian leaders in the churches, in various mission communities, and in NGOs recognize that the world is rapidly becoming inter-connected economically, technologically, culturally, and politically. Consequently, they find themselves struggling to adapt in order to fruitfully and effectively proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in this context.

Presently there appear to be two general classes of response to the rapid changes. On the one hand, forms of “fundamentalism” emerge that tend to reflect an “us-against-them” mentality. These responses often ghettoize the gospel and doctrine or they try to assert cultural and social hegemony. These critiques often lead to an inability to engage in church as a genuine public with a concrete real-world mission despite the desire to do so. On the other hand, various forms of liberalism arise, which tend to deconstruct the Church in its practices, forms, and doctrine and to collapse the Church into culture. These sorts of response often lead to alienation, de-conversion, and lack of confidence in the Church, Christian leadership, and the mission of the gospel.

Moreover, in the increasingly consumer-oriented market-based society people often regard churches of all stripes as a matter of personal preference and convenience. At the same time, leaders are often culturally aware, yet they lack any confidence and grounding in scripture, church history, and theology. As a result, both responses are in danger of forming ways of doing and being church that fail to lead to genuine Christian transformation.

Rather, we believe that we must pursue a third way that reconfigures leaders into reflective practioners, who possess a ‘thick understanding” of the emerging global culture and know how to engage it missionally.

Global: We are convinced that to understand and to engage our own local contexts we must take into account the increasingly globalized world in which we live. Our world is rapidly shrinking and the global community is becoming a daily reality. Technology is making information and resources more accessible. Local communities and nations are increasingly interconnected economically and culturally.

Missional: We accept the loss of Christianity as the “center” of society and culture. To the degree that a global community necessarily entails religious pluralism, we propose that we adapt accordingly. Mission in a global village means increasingly moving beyond the ideal of sending select people from a “Christian country” to other countries who have not heard the good news. Instead, we need to think of mission as equipping Christians to serve in their own context.

Leadership: Finally, the program seeks to cultivate and form a new breed of Christian leader who engages in theological reflection that informs practice and vice-versa. We call this type of theologically aware leader a “reflective practitioner.” These leaders have a “thick understanding” of global culture and ecclesiology. While they may critique churches at times, they are committed to constructively carrying out the mission of the gospel. They are committed to relational and mutual learning and want to learn how to integrate technology in their lives and ministry.

Program Content

As reflective practitioners, students will focus their learning around the following:

* We will explore and trace the philosophical, cultural, political, sociological, religious, and scientific developments that are occurring worldwide. * We will seek to identify some of the major challenges of our global context for effective Christian mission. * We will reflect biblically, theologically, and historically to formulate suitable responses to these challenges. * We will then explore and describe the ethics, spirituality, and practice of leadership necessary for a international global context. * We will integrate all that we have learned as reflective practitioners into our own ministry contexts and practices.

Additionally, students will select an area for specialization under the supervision of their faculty advisor. Students will select one of the following topics related to issues of global and missional concern:

* Secularism, consumerism, and religious fundamentalism * Colonialism * Social justice * The environment * Family and gender-related issues

Program Delivery Model

Mentor-led

Dr. Jason Clark will serve as the lead mentor for the Global Missional Leadership DMin track. As lead mentor, Dr. Clark will teach six of the courses, lead each of the three F2F experiences, and facilitate online experiences.

Jason Clark serves as a full-time pastor of Vineyard Church Sutton in Sutton, London (UK), which has grown to around 300 adults and 120 children in an area of London where 1% of the population is connected to a church.

He also directs the www.deepchurch.org.uk project and regularly blogs at www.jasonclark.ws regarding his research, teaching, and leadership experience. Dr. Clark’s blog has a 2,500-member mailing list and has over 250,000 visits per year. He is currently working on several book writing projects and articles. These include two chapters in a book coauthored for Baker Academic’s Church and Post-Modern Culture Series and author of a book on ‘Deep Church’ for Paternoster UK.

Cohort-based

The Global Missional Leadership DMin track will seek to foster the development of life-long relations among students and advisors. We will organize students into groups of 20 that journey together through the entire program. A new cohort will launch each academic year. Cohorts will meet annually at the F2F experiences. By means of online synchronous and asynchronous, cohorts will critically discuss and probe course-related issues and topics with an eye toward their own ministry contexts.

Advisor-directed

From the outset of the program, we pair students with an individual faculty advisor who helps them develop and focus their areas of specialization in the customized courses. Faculty advisors ensure the academic integrity of their students’ work by helping them to sharpen their critical thinking, writing, and source-documentation skills. Faculty advisors will go on to serve as their students’ dissertation advisors.

Hybrid and Web 2.0

The Global Missional Leadership DMin track will utilize a hybrid model of learning that includes both F2F experiences and continuous online interaction.

F2F experiences

Dr. Clark, students, faculty advisors, and local scholars and Christian leaders will gather as reflective practitioners for nine days in three international contexts for an immersive learning experience. Where possible we will also visit missional church communities in these locations that are engaging in ministries that support the focus of this program. To this end, we have established partnerships with seminaries in the following locations:

Europe * London School of Theology (LST) in London, UK * Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford University * Tabor Seminary in Marburg, Germany

Africa * Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST) in Nairobi, Kenya

Asia * Malaysian Theological Seminary (STM) in Seremban, Malaysia

Online Participation

The Global Missional Leadership DMin track will leverage online communication tools to bridge the distance among students and advisors and to allow further collaborative learning. While the lead mentor and faculty advisors will provide course content and expertise, students will also create significant content for their cohort and for the public.

We will use various public Web-2.0 social-media tools and services that are available free of charge such forums, video sharing (youtube.com), image sharing (flickr.com), microblogs (twitter.com), social networking (ning.com) and so forth. Students and advisors will sign up to use each of these services individually and create their own private accounts.

Students and advisors will add specific metadata to any program-related material that they post using the ‘dmingml’ tag. A centralized online web site will ‘mashup’ or aggregate all tagged content. This will allow students to use popular public online services to create content that simultaneously loads to the Global Missional Leadership DMin hub.

The benefit of this approach is that students gain experience in using modern communication tools as they interact with one another and their own private networks. We will use our secure Course Management System, FoxTALE, to ensure privacy for instructor feedback and grades.