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Pastoral Leadership in the Renewal of Christian Vocation


Specialization Coordinator:  Dr. Mindy McGarrah Sharp

The vocation of all Christians, says Thomas Merton, is to share in God’s life and in God’s kingdom.  He writes, “For each one of us, there is only one thing necessary: to fulfill our own destiny . . . to be what God wants us to be.”

This may be a truism, but too often ministers use the word vocation to refer exclusively to the vocation of a professional class of clergy, inadvertently forgetting that vocation is a matter of concern for all people.  At Phillips Theological Seminary, we say the vocation of all Christians is to follow the way of Jesus in all aspects of our lives—in families, in workplaces, in markets, in towns, in faith communities, in nations, and as global citizens we believe that churches also have unique vocations to be more than a replication of what they once were. Churches also are called to embrace new models of faithfulness and mission to the God who calls all people into life.

Pastors as teaching ministers are uniquely placed to help all people discover or re-interpret their own vocation as witnesses to the work of Jesus. As such, pastors must continue to develop practices in interpreting the various contexts in which Christians live and work, in re-appropriating resources in the Christian tradition for perceiving the way of Jesus in these contexts, and in teaching Christians to attend, discern, and respond to the activity of God in the world.

The following courses comprise the Renewal of Christian Vocation: 

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: Vocation--3 hours


Specialization Phase:  16 hours in Specialization Seminars:

  • Ethics of Christian Work and Life--4 hours
  • Ecclesiologies and Communal Life--4 hours
  • Pastoral Leadership for the Learning Congregation--4 hours
  • Elective related to DMin project--4 hours


Project Phase: 

Proposal and Project Courses--7 hours:

  • 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 is April 15th to begin in June, or November 1st to begin in January.

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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