D.Min. Focus Groups

Contact: admissions@united.edu

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

21st Century Church


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.

Ministry WITH Postmoderns

Rev. Dr. Lori Reiber
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This focus group will explore how the church can reach and engage the postmodern generation. We will design projects to encourage postmoderns’ involvement in the church and continued spiritual growth. We will study and work through the theoretical foundations of what it means to be “postmodern” and explore ways to do ministry that will be invitational, world changing and engaging.

Hands-on, interactive research will delve into current theories pertaining to postmodernity, communication, digital era implications and global awareness. We will look into the areas of worship, discipleship, missions and outreach.  Projects will take on one specific prescription for ministry WITH postmoderns, and, through a well-developed research project, evaluate a suggested ministry model to help make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

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.

Church Renewal and Evangelization

A Model of Christian Education for the 21st Century Church and Community

Dr. Christopher Wyckoff
See Mentors Directory

This purpose of this focus group is to equip students for leadership in the areas of Christian Education and Urban Ministry. This includes the roles of teaching, preaching, worship design, leadership development, and ministry development. The focus group will use Christian Education and Ministry Development to accomplish spiritual formation and effective leadership in all areas of the local church. Students will engage in reading and dialog that reflect global awareness, cultural diversity, gender inclusiveness, ministerial relevance and varied viewpoints on Christian Education and Urban Ministry as recorded in the significant literature on both the subject matter and the specific research topics selected by students. This group ultimately seeks to fully equip those who preach, teach, and lead ministry in the local church, within a denomination, or in the larger community.

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.

Growing the Church without Walls / Effective Preaching and Stewardship in the 21st Century
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.

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.

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
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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

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
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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.

Innovative Pastoral Care and Leadership Practices for Clergy
in the 21st Century

Dr. Dorth P. Edwards, Jr.
See Mentors Directory

Pastoral leadership in the 21st century is at a precarious position. Several factors conspire to diminish the effectiveness of clergy and put clergy at risk for burnout. Join us to discover innovative approaches and techniques for enhancing self-care practices. This learning environment is ideal for cohorts interested in restorative methods that will cultivate behaviors of self-care practices for clergy. Through a process of INNOVATION, you will be able to identify the prevalence, triggers, symptoms and consequences of clergy burnout. You will discover innovative procedures for self-concept and self-care that can be integrated into leadership practices to support longevity in ministry.

Leadership Development and Organization Dynamics for Kingdom Empowerment and Spiritual Transformation

Dr. J. Elvin Sadler
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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.

Leadership in the Wesleyan Spirit

Rev. Dr. Andrew D. Kinsey
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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 ICF Coaching Certification

Rev. Dr. HiRho Park, Faculty Mentor; Rev. Dr. Val Hastings, Faculty Consultant
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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 an opportunity to become an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) through the International Coach Federation (ICF).

With the ICF accredited curriculum, students will learn an interdisciplinary approach of theological reflections on leadership in a global context that is biblical, multicultural, multiracial and multigenerational. It is our intent that those who participate in this program will be equipped to be more efficient Christian leaders with in-depth theological understandings as well as ICF core coaching competencies.

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

Pastoral Care and Counseling

Drs. Sharon Ellis Davis and Thomas Francis
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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.

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

Transformative Leadership for Holistic Ministry in the 21st Century
Drs. Nicholas A. Meade and Angela B. Smith-Peeples
See Mentors Directory

This focus group is founded on the premise that effective preaching and transformative leadership embrace a theology of holistic ministry. Holistic ministry is undergirded by practical theology designed to reach people where they are spiritually, financially, emotionally, physically and socially. Because “holistic ministry” is a vast subject area, potential projects which may emanate from this doctoral focus group could include work in preaching, age or gender-specific ministries, survivor or recovery ministries, financial literacy, leadership/ministerial training and development, women in ministry, health and wellness, congregational care, etc. The objective of this group is to couple intentional leadership development with resources so as to lead participants to consider ministry from a holistic point of view.

Transformative Pastoral Leadership in a Millennial Generation
Dr. Lisa Weah
See Mentors Directory

The challenges of ministry in a millennial generation are numerous; therefore, ministry must be relevant and contextual if it is to be transformative. The objective of this focus group is to develop highly effective transformative preachers/leaders by exploring various leadership models which can be effectively utilized to transform churches and communities. Participants will engage in peer group discussions and research/analysis of biblical, traditional, contemporary and emerging models of transformative pastoral leadership, including preaching/teaching styles, that have affected positive church and community shifts. Tools of study will include lectures, readings, interviews, and on-site visitations with pastors/preachers who have successfully engaged transformative tools and methods. Upon completion of the course, students will be informed and equipped to develop new leadership models unique to their specific focuses and ministry contexts.


The Charles E. Booth Preaching Scholars: Maintaining the Prophetic Voice

Dr. Victor M. Davis
Phone: 614.332.8577

Dr. Harry L. White, Jr.
Phone: 919.274.9844

See Mentors Directory

The Rev. Dr. Charles E. Booth is one of the leading prophetic voices of the 21st century. Although he has been in the preaching ministry for 50 years, his preaching still maintains a relevant message for a changing generation. This group will empower the preacher to fulfill and maintain the prophetic voice through examination of the prophetic preaching tradition of Dr. Booth in light of scripture, theology, history and socio-culture. Dr. Booth will serve as a resource in personal sessions and through the Charles E. Booth Preaching Conference. Participants will develop preaching skills by exploring the study of the craft, skills, habits and the art of preaching.

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

Dr. Reginald Dawkins
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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
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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
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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.

Social Justice

The Harold Hudson Scholars: Building Bridges for Church and Community Wholeness

Dr. Lucius M. Dalton
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. . . [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.

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

Dr. C. Anthony Hunt
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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
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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.