D.Min. Projects Reflect Personal Interest While Impacting Many
April 3, 2005
As the Doctor of Ministry program at North American Baptist Seminary celebrates 30 years of producing excellent leaders for Christ, it continues to blossom.
The same can be said for the students involved in the D.Min. program. For most, the decision to pursue a doctorate is for both personal and professional fulfillment in their lifelong journeys of serving Christ.
According to Dr. Gordon Harris, NABS' Director of Doctoral Studies, there are eighteen students currently enrolled in the program, eight of whom will graduate this year. Although their backgrounds and experiences are diverse, they share a common goal: to impact the Kingdom.
Meet Randy Tschetter
Randy Tschetter decided to pursue doctoral studies six years ago after receiving several years of encouragement from his wife, Wanette.
At that time he was--and still is--serving a solo pastorate in Freeman, SD. And, although he�ll admit there were some surprises and challenges along the way, pursuing his degree has been a great experience.
"The flexibility of the program allowed me to take it at a pace that helped me do full-time ministry while getting the requirements completed," says Randy.
To help the struggling, rural church of today, Randy decided to do his doctoral project on Media-Technology Gap as a Growth Factor For Churches in Freeman, South Dakota. The goal for the research and writing of the project was to help the rural church, which many feel is losing out because of a declining population in rural America.
"Agriculture-based families are highly technical in their farming operations," added Randy. "Too often the church is lagging in the use of what is part of daily life on the farm."
His project serves as a wake-up call for rural churches and pastors, challenging them to incorporate media-technology into ministry.
Meet Rhoda Carpenter
While standing on a hill overlooking the land of the Bible, Rhoda Carpenter caught her first glimpse of a land that would deeply impact her faith journey.
Rhoda, who has been involved in teaching in a church or academic setting most of her adulthood, developed her doctoral project out of a lifelong interest in the people of the Bible. Her project, The Use of Salvation Oracles in Ezekiel to Facilitate Exploration of Self-identity in a Cross-Cultural Small Group Setting, explored the concept of self-identity in the context of exile.
Carpenter feels her project helps reinforce the priority of people over land. "I have a particular bias: that the mission of the church to all people is clarified when we hear the voices of those in exile living among us," she commented.
She also believes her project can emphasize the ways churches can increasingly recognize responsibility for the world-wide church as well as continued importance of the land of the Bible for all Christians.
Serving as an adjunct professor at NABS, Rhoda looks forward to discovering the next transition in her life.
Meet Dennis Dewey
In an effort to better fulfill his church�s mission statement, Dennis Dewey chose Intergenerational Small Group Experiences That Encourage Members to Relate as a Family Beyond the Family as his doctoral project.
For Hope Fellowship in northwest Kansas City, membership numbers increased rapidly. "As we grew, it became more difficult to make people feel a part of the church family and develop relationships as much as possible," says Dennis, who serves as senior pastor.
Dewey's project allowed church members to participate in a small group setting comparing the biographical family to the church family. This experience allowed members of his congregation to build closer, more concrete relationships. "Although some people were reluctant about participating in the small group experience, they thanked me in the end," adds Dennis. "Close relationships continue after this experience."
Dewey will graduate with his Doctor of Ministry this year and would recommend doctoral work to anyone considering it. "It will better equip you to do ministry, and help you in ministry," he adds.