DMin Focus Groups


Below is a list of Doctor of Ministry focus groups:

21st Century Church

21st Century Leadership in Cross-Racial and Cross-Cultural Ministry

Dr. Carolyn E. Thomas
See Mentors Directory

Explore the challenges as well as the joys and opportunities in Cross-Racial and Cross Cultural ministry, with special emphasis on how to lead and witness to the inclusive grace of God in a divided world. This Focus Group will work on the whys and hows of this type of leadership, equipping and empowering students to lead spiritually vital ministries that build bridges in the midst of diversity. The Focus Group will study the basic principle of the Imago Dei to embrace the dignity of all individuals, rebuff favoritism of the familiar and build inter-racial/cultural awareness through a sense of humility, empathy and respect for diversity and difference. By gaining greater understanding with respect to racial and cultural backgrounds, students will enhance their leadership style, preaching style, pastoral care and type of worship unique to their ministry settings within the Christian tradition. Tools of study will include lectures, readings, interviews and on-site visitations with pastors who have successfully engaged these transformative tools and methods.

Culture Shifters: Marketplace Ministry for Christian Leaders

Dr. K. Edwin Bryant
See Mentors Directory

Culture Shifters™ is the new lifestyle brand for Christian leaders engaged with marketplace cultures. Culture Shifters uses biblical and theological paradigms to expand, change and curate culture outside the four walls of the church. Culture Shifters creates collaborative learning spaces for Christian executives who stand at the epicenter of marketplace transformation. Culture Shifters will equip you to become the next generation of best-selling authors, cultural commentators and public theologians. Culture Shifters is more than a focus group – it is a lifestyle.

Effective Church Leadership and Prophetic Preaching in the
21st Century

Dr. Keith D. Lawrence and Dr. Connie Carter
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.

Innovative Leadership: Building Leaders and Congregations for Effective Change

Dr. Dexter Cannon
See Mentors Directory

This focus group will explore and address the need for effective change. Participants will be introduced to innovative leadership practices that transform churches and communities. The goal of this group is to equip emerging clergy leaders and congregations to be highly effective in 21st Century ministry. Over a three year span, we will explore leadership development, preaching for transformation, prophetic leadership, non-traditional church models, vision casting, purposeful organizational development, and church planting. This group will also visit ministry leaders throughout the country who have brought about positive and effective change in their contexts.

Living the Historic Faith: Christian Wisdom for Today’s Church

Dr. David Watson and Dr. Justus Hunter
See Mentors Directory

“Living the Historic Faith” will focus on the resources of the catholic doctrinal consensus that developed over the history of the church, beginning with the apostolic witness, continuing through the Rule of Faith and the ecumenical councils, through to the present day. We will look at issues such as doctrine, preaching, prayer, and catechesis in the practical life of the church and explore ways in which the resources of the historic Christian faith may contribute to these activities in the present.

Pastoral Leadership in Contexts of Transition

Dr. Carl J. Solomon
See Mentors Directory

Ministries are constantly evolving, but some changes can significantly impact the life of a church. An unexpected change of leadership, a move to a new location, the launch of a new outreach ministry, rapidly rising or declining membership — such transitions require special attention. With the right strategy in place, church leaders can successfully guide congregations through seasons of change.

In this focus group, participants will study the specific challenges and opportunities of ministries in flux, considering both new ministry opportunities and established ministries in transition. In both areas, students will focus on practical yet innovative methods of ministry. This group is ideal for pastors, associate pastors and church ministry staff with a desire to lead effective and relevant Christian ministries in the 21st century.

Renewing Congregations through Exploration of Transformation

Dr. Patricia Havis
See Mentors Directory

This group will guide Christian leaders toward a transformational encounter with God and equip them to be more dynamic and effective servant leaders of the Church. Members of this group will explore common problems stemming from unmet spiritual needs and work toward inner-healing that can be duplicated in congregational settings. We will study theoretical and practical foundations of spiritual wholeness and renewal. Through the experience of Divine encounter and spiritual healing, leaders will be equipped to create healthier congregations focused on renewal and transformational growth.

The Global Village: Intergenerational & Intercultural Ministries in an Urban Setting

Dr. Jocelyn M. Roper
See Mentors Directory

Studies in this focus group will concentrate on Urban Metropolitan Ministry sounds and lights of hope in our dark, racial, class, consumerist, implicitly biased, and sinfully-driven world. Personal readings and critiquing of Urban Ministry publications will take place, along with visiting well-developed Urban Ministry models.

Church Renewal and Evangelization

Church Health/Growth and Media Ministry

Dr. J. Randy Grimes
See Mentors Directory

This group will provide tools that will enable leaders to build healthy growing churches in the 21st Century. It will help leaders to examine and monitor the vital signs and growing pains in an active church setting. As ministry objectives change, so must a church learn to makes changes to be relevant and reach the growing demands of the local church. This includes developing tools to share your ministry via live streaming and social media based platforms. You’ll discover practical ways to reach beyond the walls of your Church or ministry to further impact your region for Christ. As one uses a GPS (Global Position System) to help guide one to the proper destination, so will the church need tools for guidance, to stay healthy, and to grow in order to reach their community with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Effective Preaching and Stewardship in the 21st Century

Dr. Alfred Thompson
See Mentors Directory

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 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.

A Generational Approach for Today’s Urban Ministry

Dr. Sheila L. Johnson, PhD, DMin
See Mentors Directory

Urban ministry in the 21st century is an intergenerational leadership endeavor. This focus group is designed for current and emerging senior leaders within the context of a local worshipping community. It focuses on understanding, connecting and leading  multi-generational congregations that include wide-ranging age groups, from the Greatest Generation (born 1910–1924), Silent Generation (born 1925–1945), Baby Boom Generation (born 1946–1964), Generation X/Baby Bust (born 1965–1979) the Millennial Generation (born 1980–1994) to Generation Z (1995–2012). In examining Biblical bases of urban ministry, participants will learn how to lead in the midst of complex societal and cultural change.

Missional Leadership: Cohort for Mavericks

Dr. Duane Anders
Pastor, Cathedral of the Rockies, Boise, ID
See Mentors Directory

There is the normal way and there is the way that is outside of the box, always on the edge. Leadership is required to move the church forward. Leadership that dares vision, thinks missionally and goes beyond the norm of the church honors God. The missional leader not only grows the church, but changes the communities’ landscape. Join these out-of-the-box leaders for this three-year journey.

ROOTED: Church Planting and Revitalization in Our Diverse World

Rev. Dr. Rosario Picardo and Rev. Dr. Vance P. Ross, Mentors
Rev. Rudy Rasmus, Graduate Assistant
See Mentors Directory

The church exists in a world of diversity (generations, classes, colors, cultures, credentials). Join us for ROOTED, to learn messaging, managing and worship in this cohort for leading discipleship for both revitalization and new church plants. This learning network is the perfect opportunity for moving past theory to practice for pastors, church planters and individuals who desire to plant or turnaround, nurture, innovate and ignite missional movements. Through ROOTED, you will become equipped to lead missional and multiplication movements, develop innovation in the church planting process and effectively engage your church and community.

Holy Spirit / Supernatural Ministry

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

Drs. Thomas Litteer, Tom Jones and Robert Sawvelle
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.

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.

Pastoral Leadership and Church Administration

Church Leadership and Faith-based Economic Development

Dr. Felicia H. LaBoy
See Mentors Directory

This cohort will focus on helping students develop a theology of money, economic development, and stewardship with an eye towards creating initiatives for themselves, congregations and communities that develops an economic base for themselves and their churches that utilize principles of faith-based social entrepreneurship and serves as a means for evangelism and missions.

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.

Healing and Reconciliation Strategies for Religious Professionals
Dr. Willie Eugene Marshall
See Mentors Directory

It is critically important for religious professionals to better understand why healing and reconciliation are essential ingredients for successful and healthy personal growth and development. In this focus group, students will discover effective way to help others manage, and eventually overcome, the hurts, pains and wounds of their past. Dynamics, patterns and pitfalls will be examined to learn why people fall and live into these hurts, and church leaders will design ministries to aid people in overcoming these systems. Students will be encouraged to develop an intentional process of healing and reconciliation to be better equipped in their own ministry contexts.

Leadership Development and Organization Dynamics for Kingdom Empowerment and Spiritual Transformation

Drs. J. Elvin Sadler and Dr. Tolly Kennon
See Mentors Directory

To assist practitioners with acquiring and developing skills necessary to create ministries of excellence within their congregational/professional contexts. The group will cover the following topics ranging from: spiritual formation, leadership development, organizational development, organization dynamics, strategic planning, public policy and ecclesiastical administration and supervision.

Multicultural Leadership Development for God’s Coaching Staff
Dr. Taunya M. Tinsley
See Mentors Directory

This group will train clergy and other Christian leaders for the holistic development of their multicultural congregations. Through the use of athletic and sports imagery, concepts, metaphors, stories and language, pastoral coaches will develop effective ministries for culturally diverse people inside and outside the walls of the church. Participants in this focus group will learn to develop a leadership model for God’s team within their specific ministry contexts.

Pastoral Care and Counseling

Drs. Sharon Ellis Davis 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 an MDiv 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.

Principles of Structure for Pastoral Ministry and Organizational Leadership

Dr. Scottie Aaron
See Mentor’s Directory

This focus group will explore and address key principles that will be effective in pastoral ministry and the role and function of the pastor in the administration of the church. The goal of this group is to equip emerging clergy and leaders to be effective in their areas of ministry in the 21st Century. Students will explore pastoral ministry, leadership development, church administration, non-traditional church models of leadership, church organization and supervision, vision and community leadership.

The group will explore Church Administration with a specific emphasis on congregational care. The group will examine the Biblical understanding of leader-administrator as a servant of God and a servant of the people. It will examine the mission of the church, recognition of need, planning, organizing, staffing, communicating, budgeting and evaluation.

Spirituality, Leadership, Stewardship and Church Renewal

Dr. Kent Millard and Dr. Andy Kinsey
See Mentors Directory

Discover the deep spiritual relationship between leadership and stewardship in the life of the pastor, with a critical eye toward church renewal. This Focus Group will explore how the spiritual life of the leader impacts congregational stewardship, and how the pastor provides a key, if not the key, to the church’s overall witness
Church leaders often feel they are too busy to practice spiritual disciplines like regular personal prayer, meditation on the Scriptures, being part of a covenant group or keeping a spiritual journal. However, John Wesley told pastors if they did not practice regular spiritual disciplines they would be “triflers all their lives.”

As participants focus on their personal spiritual growth and biblically-based leadership styles, they will discover that effective stewardship and church renewal grow out of experiencing the living, healing presence of God.

Sports Chaplaincy
Drs. Harold Cottom and Steven Waller
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
Sport Chaplains Network


Developing Effective Preaching Series and Biblical Paradigms (Models) for Leadership Addressing Today’s Challenging Times

Dr. Reginald Dawkins
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.

Preaching and Teaching the New Testament in the 21st Century

Dr. James W. Holsinger
See Mentors Directory

This focus group will prepare clergy and faith-based laity to effectively preach and teach the New Testament in the 21st century. Jesus’ call to Kingdom Living will be our focus as we study the gospels. In our study of the Acts of the Apostles and Letters of Paul, we will focus on the first century church. The Pastoral Letters and General Epistles will be placed in their first century context in order to impact 21st century lives.

The group will focus on the first century context of the New Testament as a means for developing 21st century exegesis applicable to the lives of today’s Christians and those exploring the faith. Participants will develop a 21st century preaching and teaching style and approach, gain an in-depth understanding of the first century context of the New Testament and explore the ministry of Jesus Christ as a 21st century approach to Kingdom living.

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.

Samuel Dewitt Proctor Scholars: Developing Prophetic Preaching/Ministry in an Age of Contemporary Christianity

Drs. Rudolph McKissick and Jamal Bryant
See Mentors Directory

The Samuel Dewitt Proctor Scholars cohort will take a critical look at the prophetic ministry and preaching of Dr. Proctor and examine how prophetic preaching, particularly the dialectic method, fits into a new day where theologies are every evolving and social-political challenges are more varied and complex. We will examine prophetic theology and how it speaks to the current culture in a way to engage and empower those of the church to speak to those challenges within the various contexts of the culture.


Social Justice

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

Dr. C. Anthony Hunt
See Mentors Directory

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.”

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

Dr. Jamison Hunter
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.

The Harold Hudson Scholars: Building Bridges for Church and Community Wholeness through Preaching, Christian Education and Visioning Leadership

Dr. Lucius M. Dalton, Rev. Dr. HiRho Park, and Dr. Lisa Weah
See Mentors Directory

. . . [Paul] stayed with them, and they worked together . . . (Acts 18:3)

This simple statement from the scripture is at the heart our focus group — we understand that God wants us to work together, wherever we are, for church and community wholeness. Our founder, Dr. Harold Hudson, believes that social justice is not only embedded in the larger issues of the world, but that each person, church and community can address issues close at hand to bring about renewal, hope and justice. Working together with church and community members through preaching, teaching and visionary leadership, our doctoral students have addressed many diverse topics: from organ donation to youth missions; the need for intergenerational understanding in the local church to development of community centers; reducing recidivism in prison populations to encouraging young African American women to claim their heritage, and much, much more. Harold Hudson Scholars truly can be those who are “Building Bridges for Church and Community Wholeness” through the Doctor of Ministry program at United.

Reading the Bible for Effective Ministry in the Context of Liberation

Dr. F. Rachel Magdalene
See Mentors Directory

This focus group will engage in substantial biblical studies to allow greater use of the Bible in a ministry of liberation, that is, a ministry in which members of oppressed groups are uplifted, disadvantaged communities are strengthened, and the concept of equal justice for all predominates. Students will become familiar with different ways to examine the text from the point of view of various oppressed groups, such as Africans, Asians, Asian-Americans, Blacks/African Americans, the disabled, feminists, Latinas/os, Womanists, and so forth. Texts will come from both the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament. Such readings will be informed by two other intellectual areas: 1) theology, such as Black liberation theology or feminist theology; and 2) the histories and current experiences of different oppressed communities. Such readings, therefore, will be able to inform and enrich various aspects of a ministry of liberation, including preaching, teaching, pastoral counseling of members of disadvantaged communities, enacting the prophetic role, and concrete social action in local communities.

Focus Group offerings are subject to change. United Theological Seminary reserves the right to cancel a Focus Group when enrollment is insufficient to warrant offering the group. You may contact the Doctor of Ministry office at any time to request assistance to identify an appropriate group for your specific area of interest.