I’m in the final stages of my Doctor of Ministry degree. I frequently get asked why I didn’t do a PhD since I seem to have an academic bent. That’s a good question.
I was originally in a Doctor of Theology program (equivalent to a PhD) at a different school that I’m at now. For a number of reasons, I voluntarily withdrew from that program and that school. It was then that I decided to apply to the Doctor of Ministry program at Acadia Divinity College.
Although the DMin is not considered by many to be as prestigious of a degree as the PhD, I don’t regret my decision. Before coming to Queen Street Baptist Church, I had the opportunity to wrestle with my calling. This included a fairly heavy teaching load. I absolutely loved that time of teaching but I also discovered that my primary calling is that of a pastor (although with a teaching emphasis). The DMin is designed more to equip me in my pastoral role.
One of the reasons that I don’t regret being in the DMin program is that Acadia Divinity College (unlike many other schools) requires biblical and theological courses in addition to ministry courses. During my studies, I had the opportunity to learn from such great scholars as Craig Evans, Larry Hurtado and Ron Sider. I definitely did not miss out on learning opportunities.
Generally, a PhD is designed for teaching and research. People who intend to teach normally seek a PhD. But in my case, I have had the opportunity to teach many courses (see my CV) with the degrees I have. In addition, I have had a number of articles published in scholarly journals. I’m not trying to brag but rather to say that such goals can be achieved with or without a PhD.
This is not an attempt to discourage people from PhD studies. I’m simply saying that I’m content with the opportunities that my education has provided. In addition to pastoring, I continue to teach two courses a year at Tyndale University College. Once my thesis is completed, I will likely be submitting more journal articles.
I love to bridge the gap between the church and the academy, but my primary burden is the church. For that, my DMin will do just fine.