Palmer Seminary’s pioneering Doctor of Ministry in Contextual Leadership focuses on helping Christian leaders grow as responsive agents of God’s transforming power. The program affirms a vital relationship with Jesus Christ as the source of renewal. It looks inward at the transformation of individuals and churches, and outward at the transformation of communities and the world. In short, it captures the essence of what it means to be the Church.
Note: This program is designed for pastors and others who have a Master of Divinity degree and at least three years of subsequent ministry experience. It requires 4 two-week periods of residency at our near our Philadelphia area campus over the course of three years.
Dynamics of Transformational Leadership
We learn what it means to be a servant leader, to be a systems-transforming leader, to be a leader who knows how to come alongside, to deal with conflict, to analyze strengths and weaknesses within systems, to partner and to shepherd under the leadership of the Good Shepherd.
We look at the church in connection with global mission, assessing the new missionary situation in the world determined partly by the shift of Christianity to the Southern hemisphere and by migration movements toward partly developed nations. We explore the biblical and theological foundations for the missionary nature of the local church through the use of practical tools for the promotion of global mission — as well as local mission —in the local congregation.
Congregational and Community Missional Church Renewal
We look at congregational and community renewal — grappling with the nature and the mission of the church at this juncture in time, learning when to abandon outgrown structures and how to re-engineer the church-based on changes in size, constituency and resources. We learn to assess our communities and to conceptualize and work towards neighborhood and community health.
Three Major Papers
Requirements of the program include the development of three professional papers of at least 40 pages in length. The first of the three focuses on (a)developing a lifestyle of spiritual discipline that will facilitate an ongoing experience of spiritual renewal and personal discipline and (b)providing a biblical theology that undegirds such a lifestyle. The second paper requires students to examine the role of leaders and systems in the transformation of congregations; to articulate a missional focus as part of this transformation; and to evaluate the cultural perspectives that affect congregational transformation and the effort to become missional. The final paper integrates theological instruction, field experience, quantitative research, and analytical insights as each student creates a missional strategy (strategic plan) in his or her ministry context.