Home > Academics > Degree Programs > DMin Degree > Intercultural Community

Transformational Leadership in Intercultural Community

Specialization Coordinator: Dr. Sarah Morice Brubaker

Loving one’s neighbor requires knowing one’s neighbor.  Pastors and nonprofit leaders need new ways of working as good neighbors who embrace opportunities for cultural diversity. We need strong competencies in navigating cultural difference and teaching others to be more open in intercultural communication.  Even groups that think of themselves as mostly homogenous engage in conversations about these differences through global economic system and the internet. Talking across cultural divides – whether of nationality, religion, socioeconomic status, racial identity, ethnicity, political persuasion, region, urban vs. rural culture, or other variable – requires practices of listening, reflecting, learning, translating, cue reading, relationship building, acknowledging painful histories, and receiving and offering forgiveness. This specialization gives focused attention to those skills, and the conceptual knowledge necessary to support those skills.  It is designed for students who find that intercultural community building is a major part of their work, who care about doing it well, and who are excited by the challenges and rewards of intercultural dialogue.

Successful graduates of this DMin program will be able to:

  • Appraise and implement diverse models of dialogue and collaboration.  These models will be drawn from the theological disciplines as well as other discourses such as philosophy of education, social science, community organizing, and the arts.  Graduates will understand the models’ basic features and terminology, will be able to compare the models with each other, will skillfully choose and apply models to different types of situations, and will assess their own skill in practicing these models so that they are able to teach them to others. Finally, graduates will demonstrate deep investment in dialogue being done well.
  • Prioritize theologically informed self-reflection.  Successful graduates will be able to courageously consider how their identities have taken shape within a matrix of systems that amplify some voices and silence others.  They will neither avoid thinking about their own unearned privilege and/or internalized oppression, nor will they become unproductively stalled by guilt over it.  Rather, they will have a regular practice of reflecting on their actions with attention, compassion, and a willingness to acknowledge and learn from mistakes.
  • Articulate and implement reparations and reconciliation models.  Successful graduates will understand what their own tradition says about confession and forgiveness, and will also understand several other visions of healing, repair, and reconciliation from diverse discourses.  They will have the skills to teach this understanding to others in their contexts.  In addition, successful graduates will appraise ways in which power and privilege can influence expressions of, and calls for, confession and forgiveness.   They will transfer this skill beyond the content of the program’s courses and apply it to new situations that they encounter in ministry.
  • Develop responsible use of their own voices.  Successful graduates will have cultivated a public voice and platform appropriate to the work of intercultural dialogue in their contexts; they will also know how to use their power to promote other voices that would have a harder time getting a hearing.  Moreover, they will be able to encounter new situations and thoughtfully discern which approach to use, and give their reasons for doing so.

Specialization Course: Intercultural Encounter in an Unjust World

Students will engage with this inquiry with deep attention to a particular context: the community of Tulsa, and the legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Accordingly, students will have the opportunity to speak with several local experts and to take trips to sites around Tulsa. Students will prepare by completing reading assignments that will help them be responsible theological interpreters of what they witness in Tulsa.  Through their work in this course, students will generate an annotated guide to practices of confession and forgiveness appropriate to their contexts.  In this course, students will engage theologies of confession and forgiveness drawn from multiple historical and cultural contexts.  Students will analyze the operation of power in these models, by considering such questions as: who rightly has the power to forgive? Who rightly has the power to insist upon forgiveness?  What must confession consist in, and who gets to decide? Who can say when amends have been made? Students will collaboratively generate and discover ways in which intercultural encounter can go amiss, leading to greater isolation and misunderstanding.  Students will then consider models and practices of intercultural encounter that attempt to address these possibilities of misunderstanding; and will collaboratively evaluate these models and practices with attention to their own contexts.

Specialization Course: Global Hermeneutics and Religious Identities

In this course, students will be introduced to the religious experiences, practices, and expressions of minoritized and/or formerly colonized communities.  Each time the course is taught, the instructor(s) will choose a particular community to devote the class’s attention to.  Students will uncover the implicit theologies operating within discourses of power, empire, colonialism, and resistance; and will learn how those discourses shape religious life and biblical interpretation.  Students will learn to reflect critically on their own role as observers and overhearers of forms of life which are not their own, and to which they only have subjective and partial access.   As a final project for the course, students will generate a toolkit for reading scripture in intercultural contexts, and will have the opportunity to workshop their toolkit with their colleagues and invited guests/community partners.

Specialization Course: Immersion Course

Students in this DMin track are required to take one immersion course offered by Phillips Theological Seminary.  (For information about taking immersion courses offered through other organizations, please see material on immersion courses in the Phillips Theological Seminary Course Catalog.)  Since some immersion courses are offered in 3 credit hour masters-level formats, DMin students are asked to contact the instructor in advance of the course to customize the requirements and assignments for DMin-level work.  In addition, students in this track must normally take Practices of Intercultural Encounter in advance of their immersion course.

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
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