If you recall from my previous post, I have it on fairly good authority that school and I have never been the most chummy of friends.
The program that I will be a part of will be akin to the type of study done at “great book schools” like St. Johns College. For three years, I will be part of a cohort of other men (pastors) in ministry working to understand the biblical, historical, and contemporary issues facing the church in regards to her worship.
The Doctor of Ministry at Covenant Seminary is based on a group-based model of learning. This group-based model provides pastors with greater opportunities for growth and learning in the midst of trustworthy and mutually beneficial peer relationships. As members of a DMin cohort group, I would learn with and from other seasoned ministry practitioners under the guidance of an experienced faculty member (Dr. Mark Dalbey). This approach is designed to enhance the ministry benefit of the DMin to my life and ministry and to increase my effectiveness both here at this church and in the Kingdom.
The Doctor of Ministry in Christian Worship has this stated purpose: “Today’s church faces many challenges and opportunities with regard to corporate worship. A strong biblical and theological foundation, wise contextual understanding, and careful practical application are needed to face these challenges effectively. The worship cohort is designed to inspire and equip pastors to develop Reformed worship ministries that are: 1) biblically based, 2) gospel-centered, 3) reverent yet joyful, 4) edifying to God’s people, 5) accessible to non-believers, and 6) glorifying to God. A dissertation written as part of this cohort will ideally provide valuable resources for the church as it navigates present and future worship issues in a thoughtful and prayerful way.”
This is going to be a rather intense process. I know that when left to my default drive, I am a sprinter before a marathon runner. I do not have a habit of finishing self-directed projects well. So, I am praying that God will strengthen me, my wife, our marriage, my church, and our community of supporters during this time.
Keeping Track of Progress
Earlier this year, I redesigned and “refocused” my blog. While I will still give my attention to occasional commentary on the food culture in America, society, politics and social issues, most of my writing on here will be “first thoughts” on things I am reading, interacting with, and developing for future writing. That is where you step in. Dialogue with people who read and ask questions will (hopefully) improve my thinking and further my own growth and research.
As they say… now the fun begins.
As some of my more observant readers have noticed, I have quietly alluded to the fact that I am going to be pursuing a Doctor of Ministry from Covenant Theological Seminary studying Christian Worship. I hope to blog more in the next few days about some of the things that made that program exciting, and I think, the most logical step for my continued study and maturation as a minister of the Word and a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in America (not to mention a practitioner of worship).
The following are excerpts from “A Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future” (emphasis added in parts), and have been some of the more moving and convicting things that I have read on the present day necessity to understand what we are doing as we lead God’s people in worship week in and week out.
“We call for the Church’s reflection to remain anchored in the Scriptures in continuity with the theological interpretation learned from the early Fathers. Thus, we call Evangelicals to turn away from methods that separate theological reflection from the common traditions of the Church. These modern methods compartmentalize God’s story by analyzing its separate parts, while ignoring God’s entire redemptive work as recapitulated in Christ. Anti-historical attitudes also disregard the common biblical and theological legacy of the ancient Church…
“We call for public worship that sings, preaches and enacts Gods story. We call for a renewed consideration of how God ministers to us in baptism, Eucharist, confession, the laying on of hands, marriage, healing and through the charisma of the Spirit, for these actions shape our lives and signify the meaning of the world. Thus, we call Evangelicals to turn away from forms of worship that focus on God as a mere object of the intellect or that assert the self as the source of worship. Such worship has resulted in lecture-oriented, music-driven, performance-centered and program-controlled models that do not adequately proclaim Gods cosmic redemption. Therefore, we call Evangelicals to recover the historic substance of worship of Word and Table and to attend to the Christian year, which marks time according to Gods saving acts.”