D.Min. Focus Groups

Contact: admissions@united.edu

Below is a list of D.Min. focus groups:

A Theology for the City: Urban and Community Ministry in the
21st Century

Dr. Kwame Abayomi and Dr. L. Eugene Vaughn

Historically, cities have been the places of governance, commerce, arts, and culture, and places that draw those in need. Cities have also been the places in human experience where needs and resources intercept. Now, because of both dwindling resources and concern by those in power, the city has become the place of last resort for the poor, and a refuge for no-one. This Focus Group provides instruction, training and empowerment of the student in the development of their project-thesis. It will equip leaders in the principles of Community Development, and how to organize the stakeholders in their respective communities through Urban Ministry to confront the systems of power which have created and perpetuate urban and social dysfunction.

A 21st Century Model for Church Administration and Preaching
in a Multi-Cultural Context

Drs. C. Dennis Williams and Ralph E. Williamson
See Mentors Directory

In today’s ever-changing environment a minister must be multi-faceted; an astute administrator and dynamic preacher. This Focus Group is an in-depth study of biblical and theological principles, church administration and the process to build and sustain the 21st century church. Participants will research and analyze current ecclesiastical issues and various leadership styles to plan, implement, and execute church programs. Special emphasis will be placed on understanding and applying biblical concepts and models to successfully manage effective and efficient ministries and church finances.

The group will also challenge participants to research theological themes that particularly resonate with congregations and address the sovereignty and providence of God in a covenant community. To enhance the participant’s research on the study and origin of preaching with a special emphasis on preaching in a multi-cultural context, various tools will be utilized: lectures and selected assigned readings will help enhance the student’s knowledge base. The combination of these two facets, church administration and preaching in a diverse multi-cultural context, will prepare the student for building the kingdom of God in the 21st Century.

Biblical and Ethical Engagement for Social and Moral Imperatives

Dr. Sharon Ellis Davis
See Mentors Directory

The weight of apathy and feelings of hopelessness surround and engulf many members of our faith community. People attend church and ask, “Is there a word from the Lord that speaks to what I am going through?” The social and moral imperative of pastors and leaders is to develop ministries of teaching, preaching, and pastoral practices that critically and ethically engage Biblical text and theological assumptions toward developing new paradigms in ministry that will address the social ills and moral dilemmas people are challenged with today.

Biblical Storytelling in Digital Culture

Dr. Thomas E. Boomershine
See Mentors Directory

This Focus Group will provide education and training in the understanding and implementation of a new paradigm for the communication and interpretation of the Bible in post-literate, digital culture based on the recognition of the original character of the Bible as compositions to be performed for audiences by heart. Participants will demonstrate a mastery of the basic theory and practice of biblical storytelling and performance criticism in ministry including the performance of the Bible in worship and education, the enabling of others in biblical performance, and the study of biblical compositions as performance literature. Participants will explore and develop biblical tellings that are responsive to the current digital media culture. The projects will explore original action research in the implementation of this new framework in the practice of ministry.

Church Renewal and New Wineskins

Dr. Peter Bellini
See Mentors Directory

Be involved in this cutting-edge community for Church Renewal through the development of new apostolic wineskins for ministry and mission. Post-Christendom has settled in and the church is challenged to put aside building our own kingdoms and to be about Kingdom building. This Focus Group will instruct postmodern leaders in the ancient craft of birthing, that is new congregations, new ministries, and new mission, and in Ezekiel’s ministry of breathing and prophesying on dry bones. The global West is filled with vacuous and cavernous museums that were once called churches, but are now motionless bodies on life-support. Interact with leaders who have academic and practical experience in turning around and reigniting dying churches, planting vital new congregations and developing new contextual ministries for the renewal and equipping of the church for mission.

Collaborative Leadership in the 21st Century

Drs. Daryl Hairston and Lucius M. Dalton
See Mentors Directory

Collaborative leadership is defined as allowing people to utilize their potential to create community through teamwork. This Focus Group will explore ways to be creative and innovative in meeting the needs of the congregation and community through synergistic means; a “Relational Collaborative model,” that will allow church leaders to work with other entities to achieve greater effectiveness and efficiency in creating community (w)holeness.

Developing Leadership for Effective Programming in the
Post-Modern Generation

Drs. Sir Walter Lee Mack, Jr. and Dr. Herbert Miller
See Mentors Directory

This Focus Group will equip pastors and leaders in the local church who are seeking to take their understanding of preaching and leadership to a new level. Students will discover new and relevant models of preaching that speak to the total person. Within this group students will be given tools to effectively communicate the gospel to changing communities and address and empower participants to become creative and innovative leaders who will transform the workplace and the world. It will ultimately prepare students to become effective servant-leaders who are willing to take risks to radically impact the Kingdom.

Effective Church Leadership and Prophetic Preaching in the
21st Century

Dr. Keith D. Lawrence and Dr. Kenneth Marcus
See Mentors Directory

This Focus Group is designed for pastors and church leaders who want to answer the question of how to retain members/partners after the Word of God has been preached or pronounced. It is a known fact that prophetic preaching will attract people, but effective church leadership will keep them. We will explore effective discipleship, evangelism and hospitality as ways in which churches retain members/partners and stop the revolving door syndrome. This group will also examine the reality of abuse and oppression and how to eradicate it from the life of the church.

Enacting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Beloved Community

Dr. C. Anthony Hunt

Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the leading theologians and church leaders of the 20th century. This cohort/course offers an historical, theological and socio-cultural analysis of the life and writings of Martin Luther King, Jr., with particular focus on the implications of King’s work on the contemporary church and society. The cohort/course will provide a foundation for the academic study of Martin Luther King, Jr. with particular focus on the historical and contemporary implications of his work and ministry within the context of congregational leadership, social justice and community building, and the development of models for realizing “Beloved Community.”

Effective Preaching and Stewardship in the 21st Century

Dr. Alfred Thompson, Mentor

The primary objective of this focus group is to challenge each student to explore the various ramifications of effective communication through preaching, along with emphasizing the importance of strong financial stewardship. The communicative aspect of preaching which includes character building components is important to the development of each student’s leadership ability, as the goal of each doctoral candidate will be to disclose their personal unique style of oration. A working definition of preaching will be disclosed by each student, as evaluations will be issued to critique the strength of audible delivery. This course will study legendary preaching styles, along with the present-day prognosticators of the Word. On-site visitations will be made to analyze live-presentations accordingly. Additionally, this course will include discussions on the critical stewardship element of church business, as it relates to the significantly large millennial generation. Expert financial consultants will periodically provide insightful fiscal presentations to the group. The financial component of stewardship will be investigated to strengthen each student to be both competent and resourceful assets to their respective churches and communities at-large.
Who is this group for? This focus group is for Doctor of Ministry students, who desire to be equipped for effective preaching, and have a broader understanding of finances as it relates to stewardship which develops church growth.

Fostering Authenticity and Personal Development in the 21st Century Proclaimer: Preaching Uniquely and Effectively to the Post Modern Audience

Dr. Robert E. Young

This Focus Group is designed to encourage spiritual self-discovery in order to preach through the trueness of one’s God-given personality. In this Post Modern era of social media that seeks popularity through deliberate self-misrepresentation, many have created fictitious profiles of persona and have lost touch with their personal character realities. Some factors including televangelism, the misuse of Twitter, Google, Instagram, Facebook, coupled with a celebrity driven theology, and the commodification of the gospel has reduced some proclaimers to mere emulation and not authenticity. This focus group is driven to believe that god wants proclaimers to function within a paradigm of divinely created uniqueness and not to merely replicate dominant figures of ones affinity. He objective of this Focus Group is to inspire what Soren Kierkegaard describes as “Personality Ripeness,” whereby forfeiture of one’s true character is not a prerequisite to preaching effectively to the Post Modern audience.

Futuring: Effective Change and Transition for the 21st Century Church

Drs. Millicent Hunter and J. Derrick Johnson
See Mentors Directory

Futuring leaders understand that all growing organisms must change and adapt to sustain viability. This group will focus on how church leaders can facilitate, foster and manage change and transition in the 21st Century church. Futuring leaders recognize that we live in a constant transition. Change readiness means that future faith leaders must prepare, promote and lead change. Going beyond the recognition of change to the actualization of change, this Focus Group will explore ways the local church can remain Christ-centered and relevant in a changing world environment.

The Gardner C. Taylor Scholars: Prophetic Leadership-Social Justice
and Political Action

Drs. Jamison Hunter and Lester McCorn
See Mentors Directory

The purpose of this Focus Group is to empower preachers and pastors to fulfill the prophetic mantle placed upon them by way of their ministerial calling. This will be done through an examination of the prophetic preaching tradition within the Scriptures as well as within the history of the African American Church. Focus will be given to the historical background and contemporary relevance of both preaching and ministry that address the social and political realities of our time.

Growing the Church without Walls

Dr. G. Martin Young
See Mentors Directory

This Focus Group will address the possibility of creating an ethical and spiritual Church without walls. It will consist of pastors and leaders who are willing to wrestle with, both conceptually and practically, the issues that confront prisoners of hope in every community and examine ways in which the Church can move beyond the discussion of salvation to the act of rescuing the perishing and saving the lost. Participants will explore biblical prototypes like Rizphah, Zechariah, and of course, Jesus the Christ as models for transformative action.

Intercultural Studies

Dr. Ut Van To; Drs. Peter Bellini and Wendy Deichmann, Faculty Consultants
See Mentors Directory

Intercultural Studies is the interdisciplinary field that seeks to advance the student’s understanding of various peoples, cultures and nations of the world that the student may be better informed and equipped to assist in carrying out the missio Dei. The intent of this Focus Group is to train students in an intercultural approach to theology and mission within a local context that may be either indigenous or cross-cultural. Students are equipped to lead and serve effectively in their own culture and in other cultures.

Intercultural Studies is by nature interdisciplinary. Students can work within and draw from any one or more of the following areas: cultural anthropology, evangelization, discipleship, contextual theology, leadership development, world religions, philosophy of religion, and history and theology of mission, Projects will be tailored to the students own gifts, graces, calling and context through a culture of education, impartation, incubation, formation, maturation, and production.

Leadership Coaching: A Healthy Approach to Pastoral Professional
and Personal Development
Dr. Raymond A Bell, Jr.

This Focus Group is a balanced combination of peer group discussions on Coaching Education, Leadership, clergy renewal/self-care and research writing. Lectures will introduce the foundations of coaching as an alternative approach in pastoral leadership styles. Therefore, preaching, teaching, vision casting, small groups, etc., involves elements of the coaching process. Focus Group readings structure additional contributions for critical analysis, exploration, and reflection in this field of study. Peer discussions are regularly used in order to question, teach, and transform ones perspectives on coaching and leadership development. The course concludes with the development and implementation of an effective ministry model for pastors/clergy, a future story and a dissertation for review.

Leadership Development for Apostolic Empowerment and
Socio-Political Responsibility

Drs. J. Elvin Sadler and T. Anthony Spearman
See Mentors Directory

The purpose of this Focus Group is to assist leaders of apostolic reformations and religious denominational professionals (bishops, presiding elders, district superintendents, pastors, etc.) with developing the skill sets, tools and resources necessary to create, promote and sustain models for greater congregational leadership and organization development within their respective denominations/reformation movements.

The group will cover the following topics ranging from: leadership trait development, vision casting and strategic planning, organization dynamics and team building, denomination/reformation structural design/development/revision/refinement and ecclesiastical mentoring, administration and supervision.

Leadership in the Wesleyan Spirit
Rev. Dr. Andrew D. Kinsey
317.736.7962 | pastorandy@frankingrace.org

This Focus Group will explore the nature of “Leadership in the Wesleyan Spirit,” with special attention given to the importance of the General Rules in the practice of leadership. The Group will work on examining leadership within the Wesleyan theological tradition and explore ways of developing a critical framework for understanding the purpose of that leadership in the participants’ respective ministry settings. Members of the Group will also study key works from the field of leadership studies, within and without the Christian tradition, as well as ask questions about crafting the skills and habits of practical theologians in the Wesleyan tradition.

Ministerial Leadership Development with the ICF Coaching Certification
Rev. Dr. HiRho Park, Faculty Mentor and Rev. Dr. Val Hastings, Faculty Consultant

Get a D. Min. degree and an ICF Coach Certificate at the same time!

United Theological Seminary is offering an exciting Doctor of Ministry degree program in conjunction with offering an Associate Coach Certificate (ACC) from the International Coach Federation (ICF).

Students will learn an interdisciplinary approach of theological reflections on leadership in a global context that is biblical, multicultural, multiracial and multigenerational with the ICF accredited curriculum. It is our intent that those who participate in this program will be equipped to be a more efficient Christian leader with an in-depth theological understanding and have a core-competency of coaching skills.

The program will use a comprehensive method of teaching which will include the following; an in-class learning opportunity, small group meetings and online learning. for the program.

The Missional Church
Dr. Duane Anders, Mentor

This Doctor of Ministry Group will explore the identity of the Missional Church and its passion to get the church into the world, rather than the world into the church. The Missional Church emphasizes not how many are attending, but how many are serving. Participants will engage how to reclaim the apostolic DNA of the early church, which is a refocus on the call to become a disciple of Christ rather than simply making a decision for Christ. By minimizing brick and maximizing mission, the Missional Church of the present and future concentrates on the micro rather than the macro of the church growth movement, seeking multiplication through planting and starting new worship venues instead of expansion (getting bigger in one place).

Pastoral Care and Counseling

Drs. Jerome Stevenson and Thomas Francis
See Mentors Directory

This unique Focus Group is designed to empower and inform clergy who want to focus their ministry on pastoral care and/or counseling. It will have two foci: Student will participate in the appropriate session for either pastoral or counseling certification. The overall objective of this program is to help the student focus on a project conducive to his/her context of ministry.

Program Requirements

• Each student must have completed one unit of CPE or be enrolled in an accredited program to be completed within the next 24 months.
• Each student must have completed the required coursework in an accredited program with a M.Div. degree or equivalent in Pastoral Care and Counseling.
• All fees for these requirements will be paid by the student in addition to United tuition and fees. Federal student loans are available through our Financial Aid office.

Preaching and Leadership

Dr. Terry Thomas
See Mentors Directory

This Focus Group is designed to help pastors and clergy who want to focus on preaching to the present and next generation of people. It is designed to help pastors explore present day issues for communicating the gospel in the new century by engaging colleagues, examining resources, and involving the laity. The overall objective of the program is to produce the next generation of highly effective preachers/leaders.

Prophetic Congregational Development Using 21st Century Methods, Establishing Strong Leadership

Drs. Angela Washington and Donnell J. Moore
See Mentors Directory

This Focus Group is designed to create contagious excitement for today’s congregations by tailoring their ministries based on some of the leading congregations throughout the country. Our goal is to equip and provide transformative tools for empowerment, development and redevelopment toward prophetic ministry engagement. We will concentrate on healthy and vital church growth while looking at a variety of administrative models and systems that bring measurable results. Simultaneously, we will elevate and illuminate the voice of women who have shaped and are shaping the topography and context of how vital and effective congregational life is conceived, nurtured and developed from divergent women’s perspectives. Over a three-year period, we will visit leading men and women ministry leaders in their contexts and ascertain key methodologies for ministry success in the 21st Century. Ministry participants will be equipped with hands-on models of ministry that radically change the way ministry is practiced today. This program promises to prepare the participant to be a more prophetic servant leader for the 21st Century church.

Prophetic Preaching and Praxis

Drs. Robert Walker and Kenneth Cummings
See Mentors Directory

This Focus Group is designed to enable clergy and faith-based leaders to enhance their ministry effectiveness by becoming more intentional in linking proclamation and praxis. We will focus on all aspects of preaching with a particular emphasis on addressing the relationship between hermeneutics and Practical Theology. The group will function with the understanding that “Praxis” is central to the proclamation and its manifestation of God’s justice in the local church context and the community at large. It is a metaphor for the church’s engagement in the world beyond its walls, the civic society where decisions affecting our common lives are made through government, culture, business, entertainment, etc.

Students will develop projects that demonstrate congruency between proclamation and action/practice in their contexts. The projects will also be informed by prophetic preachers and models from the past and contemporaries (i.e. Harry Hoosier, Samuel DeWitt Proctor, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gardner Taylor, Leonard Sweet).

This group will share a common bibliography, engage the principles of hermeneutical interpretation, systemic and institutional analysis and covenant with one another for mutual learning and support. Each student will identify a particular point of convergence where he/she will engage research and project development.

Randy Clark Scholars: Presenting the Gospel as Jesus Intended –
In Love, Authority and Signs and Wonders

Drs. Paul King, Dr. Thomas Litteer, and Jon Ruthven
See Mentors Directory

This Focus Group will prepare leaders both biblically and practically to understand the place of, and move in, the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit in proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. We will survey the biblical evidence concerning the relationship of miraculous healing to preaching the gospel in the ministry of Jesus recorded in the Gospels, as well as tracing the same relationship reflected in the New Testament epistles. We will also survey antecedents to healing ministry found in the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament. The New Testament evidence clearly suggests that healing miracles are actually demonstrations of the gospel in action and are symbolic demonstrations of God’s forgiveness of sins through Christ. This group will also participate in prayer clinics involving practical equipping, training, and impartation of the Holy Spirit’s gifts and power, so that we can obey Jesus’ commands to his disciples to preach and to heal and to teach all believers to obey all that he commanded them.

Sport Chaplaincy

Dr. Harold Cottom
See Mentors Directory

This Focus Group examines the role and function of chaplains ministering in sport environments. The primary objective is to provide a solid biblical, theological, pastoral and practical foundation for ministering to players, coaches, and families.

Over the span of the program specialized seminars will be conducted to examine the biblical, theological, historical, practical, legal, ethical, and international issues that impact the effectiveness of sport chaplains.

All students are highly encouraged to affiliate with one or more of the following organizations that actively advocate for sport chaplaincy.

Fellowship of Christian Athletes
Athletes in Action
United States Council for Sports Chaplaincy
Sport Chaplains Roundtable
Sport Chaplains Network

Stabilizing the Church Leader and Congregation In Unstable Times
Drs. Gregory V. Baker and Jeffrey K. Rumlin

This Doctor of Ministry group will awaken the pastor and leader who is both convicted and challenged by ministry in the 21st century. This focus group is designed to create models for both church leaders and congregations in light of an increased awareness of depression, suicide and persons walking away from pastoral ministry. Students will develop new paradigm philosophies by analyzing both dynamic church leaders and their congregations that model in a practical way, managing and establishing real life expectations of church leaders.

We will also focus on the impact and necessity of using preaching and pastoral care as two major tools for church leaders and congregations. Over a three year period the student will work in their local church to create a healthy setting of church growth. This focus group will boldly maneuver through the dangerous conversations of ministry ultimately disclosing our calling as leaders in the kingdom of God.

Stephen Swisher Scholars: Church Growth and Evangelization
through Preaching and Media Impact Ministries
Dr. Stephen Swisher, Dr. Harold Hudson, Dr. Randy Grimes, Dr. Lori Reiber, (Dr. Tom Dozeman, faculty consultant)

In this program students will have “hands on” experience in learning tools for powerful preaching, dynamic social media and Church growth to impact their Church and community from one of the most dynamic ministers in the United Methodist Church today and his talented Co-mentors.

Dr. Swisher hosted his own syndicated television program, “Positive Living” which became the second largest in coverage area within the United Methodist Denomination reaching millions each week.

In addition, Dr. Swisher has pastored congregations of various sizes including small, medium, county seat, urban, regional and large membership Churches, where significant growth was experienced in membership, attendance, mission and stewardship. The last Church he pastored more than doubled in size within a year and a half. Dr. Swisher currently has over 100,000 followers on FB, Twitter, Instagram and his ministry website. He is a frequent resource person for Districts and Conferences within the United Methodist Churches in the areas of clergy effectiveness, Church growth and media ministry. Dr. Swisher is currently the Senior Pastor of Epiphany UMC in Cincinnati, one of the top 10 largest Churches in the West Ohio Conference.

He holds several advanced theological degrees including two doctorates, was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans by the U.S. Jaycees, and is a frequent Chaplain for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. Dr. Swisher also currently sits on advisory boards for the Libraries of two U.S. Presidents.

From whatever denomination or ministry background you represent, you will find ways in this program to rise higher, be even more effective for God in your community and gain valuable insights into reaching the next generation for the Lord.

Supernatural Ministry
Dr. Frank H. Billman
See Mentors Directory

This Focus Group will prepare leaders to live naturally supernatural and enable them to encourage the people in their ministries to do the same. This group will examine Spirit directed and empowered ministry in church history and in the church today. We will look at the biblical evidence for why signs, wonders and miracles are important. Being filled with the Spirit, intimacy with God, gifts of the Spirit, hearing God, prophecy, healing, deliverance, angelic encounters, raising the dead, “extraordinary miracles” [Acts 19:11], and impartation are some of the topics that will be considered. We expect participants to be released into supernatural ministry and equipped to impart that ministry into the lives of others. Through Aldersgate Renewal Ministries, participants will have the opportunity to be ministered to and minister at sessions of the Methodist School for Supernatural Ministry and the national Aldersgate conference.