Pastoral Leadership in Homiletics

Specialization Coordinator: Dr. Richard Ward 

Word. Image. Energy. Justice. Passion. Learn to weave these strands into effective preaching that meets the demands of our age. In this specialization we are seeking to help pastors gain clarity and insight into the art and craft of preaching, a major function of congregational leadership. Through this 32 semester hour program, pastors will develop their gifts in preaching and proclamation of God’s work in the world.     

The “Pastoral Leadership in Homiletics” (PLH) specialization is designed to enable pastors to gain greater clarity in preaching as a major function of congregational leadership. Students enrolled in the PLH will normally begin Specialization phase courses in January of their second year in the program.

Graduates of this DMin program will be prepared to exercise advanced skills in homiletics including abilities to:

a. articulate an understanding of preaching as a function of pastoral leadership that is grounded in theological and biblical reflection and responsive to the history of Christianity particularly as it is reflected in student’s own denominational heritage

b. utilize comprehensive analysis of a congregational setting as a tool for understanding the effectiveness of preaching in a given situation

c. demonstrate advanced skills in biblical exegesis, sermon construction, and oral and visual communication (e.g., spatial considerations, use of digital and electronic media).

The following courses comprise the Specialization phase of the PLH: 

1. Preaching for Change  DPLH 724                                                                                                       
This course introduces students to the study of congregations and their social contexts as demonstrated in persuasive speech and preaching. The course includes study of examples of sermons from recent social movements that led to changes in public policy such as the women suffrage movement, the labor movement, and the civil rights movement. The use of multiple PTS faculty and others as guest speakers will be a major feature of this course. 

2. Media and the Church DPLH 723
Ministry takes place in an intense media environment, sometimes with awareness, often without. This course will involve an extensive investigation into media: what it is and what its history is. We will explore both the critics of media and its supporters. The goal of this course is not primarily to enable the student to use media, but to understand the implications of employing media. A major component of our study will be to understand the ethics of media. Like myth, one either thinks with media or it thinks for you.

3. Core Homiletic Seminar DPLH 720
In this course we will build upon the preceding foundational courses in Constructive Theology and biblical hermeneutics by taking a homiletical turn. We will critically examine and assess our embedded theologies and practices of preaching in relationship to emergent ones. The aim is to develop, articulate and embody fresh approaches to the preaching ministry, framing them as congregational leadership.

4. Elective Research Practicum DMIN 
Each student is responsible for arranging one elective that will help him or her in the development of a project in consultation with the

The following is a description of the courses offered for this concentration,
distributed in three phases:

Foundation Phase:  9 hours in Foundation Courses:     

  • Pastoral Leadership in Context--3 hours
  • The Biblical Message and the Praxis of God--3 hours
  • Constructive Theology of Ministry--3 hours

Specialization Phase:  16 hours in Specialization Seminars:

  • Preaching for Change--4 hours
  • Media and the Church--4 hours  
  • Core Homiletics Seminar--4 hours
  • Elective related to DMin project--4 hours

Project Phase:  7 hours in Proposal and Project Courses:

  • Project Development Seminar I--0.5 hour
  • Project Development Seminar II--2.5 hours 
  • Project Proposal Course--2 hours
  • Project Course--2 hours

The  application deadline for: 

January enrollment is October 15, application fee is waived if submitted by September 15. 

June enrollment is March 15, application fee is waived if submitted by February 15. 

Phillips Theological Seminary offers Christian graduate theological education
in service of intelligent, just, and compassionate religious and civic communities. We welcome
students to a safe space for truth-seeking conversations about the Bible, Jesus, and faithful living.
Courses available on campus and online for certificate, diploma, MDiv, MAMC, MASJ, & MTS
programs, and on campus for the DMin program.

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