Posted by: Petros | April 2, 2009

No DMins need apply! The Dminology of the Barnabas Venture

The Barnabas Venture received application for the our doctoral scholarship from a pastor from Burkina Faso who is a candidate for the DMin at Laval University in Quebec City.  I explained to him that we do not give scholarships for the DMin.  The DMin is aimed at practitioners of Christian ministries to enhance their current ministry and is a therefore a practical not an academic degree.  Typically, it  is offered in modular format while the pastor is in full-time ministry.  It differs significantly from a PhD, which is a full-time academic degree which trains a person for employment in academia in research and teaching.

The Barnabas Venture is concerned to raise the level of theological education in French-speaking Africa by training African professors who can serve in seminaries on African soil.  At some point, these seminaries may wish to offer DMin programs and that could possibly be a good way to offer continuing professional development for African pastors.  But the practical nature of DMin means that it cannot ideally be offered in the West for pastors in Africa.  How is a Western seminary or university going to help an African pastor think through issues he or she faces in the parish?  They are ill-equipped to do that.  Ministry is so highly contextuality, as to render foreign DMin programs dubious.

We recognize that theological education in general must be contextual to address specific cultural issues.  How much more is that true of a program intended to provide practitioners of ministry continuing education?


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