Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

At Grace Bible Reformed University, the Doctor of Ministry degree empowers you to flourish as a pastoral leader who makes and nurtures communities of disciples.

What Is a Doctor of Ministry?

The Doctor of Ministry (DMin) is an advanced program designed for ministry professionals who have completed a master’s level degree—often, but not exclusively, an MDiv.

What Can I Do with a Doctor of Ministry?

The following are just some of the vocational and ministry paths that a DMin can prepare you for:


Youth pastor or youth director

Worship pastor or worship director

Ministry director

Parachurch ministry leader

Denominational ministry leader

Nonprofit leader


Available Concentrations Chaplain Doctor of Ministry:

General Track Ministry leaders can pursue their specific or broad area of ministry interest and vocation through this general and customizable track. Students will learn how chaplaincy works in any given situation including in the military, hospital, jail and prisons.

Doctor of Ministry:

Homiletics Ministry leaders in this concentration love preaching. They are eager to build their expertise and understanding of effective strategies, structures, deliveries, and frameworks for preaching that will sustain and build the faith of communities. Building on the excellent programming of our partner, The Center for Excellence in Preaching, students will propose projects that help the church proclaim God’s good news in effective ways. The timing of classes associated with this concentration may, at times, be uniquely different from the regularly scheduled DMin residential times. Students should be prepared to attend GBRU seminars when required. Students will do trail sermons at the end.

Doctor of Ministry:

Urban and Rural Ministry Ministry leaders in this concentration will develop their ability to see, understand, and engage urban and rural contexts. They will understand the role, leadership, and fiscal management of non-profit organizations in the urban and rural cores. Building on this analysis, students will then develop prophetic methods for personal and organizational resilience and endurance. Dissertations in this concentration will serve to empower and equip urban and rural leaders and organizations for transformational work. During the course of study students will pair up with experience local pastors for one year as part of the program.

Doctor of Ministry:

Spiritual Formation & Missional Leadership Ministry leaders in this concentration will dive deep into discoveries about leading change, decision-making in community, increased levels of self and communal awareness, and the use of case studies. This concentration will propel students to propose and research tangible ways for their organizations to model the missional character of God more effectively.

Our Doctor of Ministry Program

Through the DMin program, your ministry will benefit from intentional coursework, spiritual direction, and formative peer relationships.

DMin Courses & Credit Hours

The DMin at GBRU requires 36 credit hours, including the core courses below. The themes and framework of these courses will serve as a foundation for your program. Ethnography Ethnography involves the observation and study of people in their natural settings. Its potency resides in its ability to undermine assumptions and give voice to those who have been previously muted.

This course will have its own context and its dynamics, hopefully yielding more complicated and less linear explanations of that which is central for the student’s research. Throughout the course students will build a theoretical and analytical “toolbox” for considering the church as a social institution embedded within a wider societal context. The “toolbox” will, hopefully, allow students to attend to the actual life of the church and, in turn, process those patterns and habits through a theological lens that allows for strengthened ministry settings.

Interpreting Culture & Ministry Contexts

This course introduces students to the process of exegeting culture and social contexts, and the correlating impact it has on individuals, churches, and the surrounding communities, all for the purpose of creating effective and appropriate ministry. Attention will also be paid to the relationship between those exegetical findings of culture/ context and the personal development and role of the individual leader within that context.

Mission of the Church

This course will encourage students to develop clarity and precision regarding the meaning and purpose your work has in God’s economy. It is also designed to spark your imagination of how God intends for you and others to participate in his mission in and through your daily work.

Transformational Leadership

This course will insist on critical engagement with current models and outcomes for ecclesial and Kingdom leadership. Using a Case Study methodology students will be asked to develop a theological framework for applied leadership solutions rooted in a telos that reflects the Gospel for their context.

Self- Reflection.

Once a student has registered for and/or completed 24 credits, they may join in the Return to the Self- Reflection course. This trip to the Abbey serves a variety of functions, including:

a) a return to self-reflection and an understanding of the growth that has taken place personally over the course of studies,

b) an oral exam in which the student will be asked to demonstrate personal and theological insights associated with course work and development, and

c) overall theological understanding and insight sufficient to warrant the proposal and pursuit of a major thesis project. Electives Partnered with your required courses will be elective courses led by current scholars and practitioners designed to meet the needs of ministry leaders.

Doctor of Ministry:

Online & Residential Our DMin program is hybrid (online and residential) to offer you the flexibility of online learning while building true community, both in person and online. Coursework is completed through our interactive online learning platform for 11 months out of the year. Students also come together for two required, on-campus learning sessions per year.

Reformed Tradition

GBRU is a seminary teaching in the Reformed tradition and serves as a ministry of Grace Bible Reformed Church. The DMin program has always welcomed and will continue to welcome students from a variety of Christian faith traditions to join in ecumenical development for ministry.

Guiding Values

We believe God’s Kingdom is diverse. This is evidenced by the varied ethnic traditions, theological perspectives, and practices and insights used for ministry. By cultivating learning cohorts that reflect this God-authored diversity we will invite students to learn in an environment that is rich, deep, and faithful to the ideals of the Gospel itself.

We believe this degree program must serve local churches and leaders. Therefore, we insist — in pedagogy, classroom engagement, peer groups, and conversation — on beginning with the challenges and opportunities facing our students as they engage in ministry. Students should expect to bring their ministry to the classroom as the starting point for reflective learning. Using inductive, curated, seminar-like conversations, we hope to cultivate communal and learning for ministry.

We believe that listening well is crucial for effective Kingdom leadership. Consequently, our DMin program will strive to engage a listening posture by:

a) utilizing faculty who listen well to students;

b) insisting that students grow in their own ability to listen well – both to one another and to their ministry context;

c) equipping students with effective ethnographic tools; and

d) asking students to engage their particular disciplinary lens (i.e. missiology, worship, pastoral care, evangelism, etc.) and demonstrate the capacity to “listen well” to the implications of their work for another context simultaneously.

We believe that life and ministry are complex. As a result, we are committed to an interdisciplinary and contextual experience throughout the program. Students will regularly be asked to place their experience, knowledge, and insight at intersections of other contexts, disciplines, and human experiences. In so doing students will deepen their understanding of God, the redemptive work of God’s Kingdom — and of the very Gospel itself.

We believe that effective ministry is the product of excellent research and development. In fact, we are convinced that the church universal is best served by ministry leaders who relentlessly search for truth and wisdom wherever it can be found. Faculty and students will share the responsibility for gleaning ministry contexts, conversations, and integrative learning for crucial insights. The apex of the students’ work will be the writing of a doctoral thesis which responds wisely and biblically to the questions, needs, and concerns of the communities the students are serving.

We believe this degree program should make a difference. Upon graduation students will be grounded in their personal sense of vocational calling and pastoral identity. Students will be empowered to implement the theologically informed ministry featured in their thesis project in ways that evidence the redeeming work of Christ in our world. Students will also possess a critical set of analytical tools and worldview which will enable them to engage in other opportunities and challenges in their respective communities.


The DMin program is intended to be completed in five years


Completion of 36 credits of coursework, including up to 12 credits of electives and Directed Doctoral Studies.


An opportunity to highlight theological and personal learning by way of an oral comprehensive exam prior to launching your research project


This is the culmination of your theological learning, peer learning and personal reflection. Your dissertation will be a demonstration of theologically informed and contextual thinking in which you display research findings and ministry models that will address the challenges of ministry in your context and in the broader context of effective ministry today.


Graduates of GBRU’s DMin program will have: Demonstrated growth in theological integration, awareness, and ministry skills through critical thinking skills and applied research methods regarding the scope and practice of ministry Developed the ability to assess diverse ministry contexts to determine effective transformational ministry models Developed critical research skills enabling them to develop theologically informed, oriented ministry models rooted in qualitative/quantitative research Completed a doctoral-level project that contributes new knowledge and understanding of the practice of ministry Demonstrated capacity to engage in ongoing learning, including acts of self-care, peer-to-peer relationships, and vocational growth for ministry longevity and vitality

How to Apply

The following steps are required as part of the application for the Doctor of Ministry program:

A completed application An up-to-date resume (you will be asked to upload this document within the online application)

Three online recommendations, including two ministry leader recommendations and one writing recommendation. The online application will ask for you to provide the email addresses of your three references. After your application is submitted, an email form will be sent to these individuals to be completed. Within the online application, you will be asked to submit three essays, using the following prompts:

Learning Goals:

In an essay of up to 600 words, describe why you are pursuing a DMin, including some of your personal learning goals.


In an essay of up to 600 words, evaluate your own intercultural competence, spiritual maturity, and ministry skills/capacity.

Problem/Purpose Statement:

In an essay of up 1000 words, describe 2–3 ministry challenges from your own context which are significant challenges, and which could drive your participation and research in the DMin program.

In addition to the application, official transcripts from any college or university you attended will be required. They can be sent to: Grace Bible Reformed University, Attn: Admissions Office, P.O Box 2932, Florence Arizona, AZ85132.

Tuition is $200 a month for the 2023-24 academic year, billed 12 months of the year. DMin students will also be required to pay for any fees related to course work including but not limited to: Travel costs to the semi-annual Residential portion of the program Books Additional technology-related costs (note: students will be required to have access to reliable high-speed internet) GBRU will try to offer a wide range of scholarships and other financial assistance.


Application Requirements DMin Requirements Requirements for Non-Native English Speakers

Admission Deadlines Grace Bible Reformed University admits a new class of students to the DMin program every summer. To be considered for admission, all application materials must be submitted by July 9. Admission decisions will be communicated to applicants by early March. A limited number of students are admitted each year. Applicants will be admitted, waitlisted, or declined admission to the program. Admitted students must accept their admission by submitting a $250 enrollment deposit by August 18, and can plan to begin their coursework by September 1.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

DMin vs. PhD: What is the Difference?

Grace Bible Reformed University’s DMin program allows ministry professionals to develop advanced ministry leadership skills and spiritual formation. The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program is designed to equip students for teaching and research in colleges, theological seminaries, and universities, and for advanced church leadership.

Can I Teach with a DMin?

The DMin is a professional degree intended to further vocational formation and is not specifically intended to prepare future professors.

Can I Get a DMin Without an MDiv?

Yes. Typically, applicants to the DMin program must have an earned Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree, or an equivalent of an MDiv from an accredited school. Applicants with a master’s degree in another area can be considered for admission, provided that the degree is a master’s degree (or its equivalent) in an area related to one’s ministry setting or vocational calling.

Will I Be Learning in a Cohort?

No. Learning in community is an important part of the DMin program, and you will get to know your peers through coursework and The Abbey. However, students are not bound to a particular cohort. This enables students to complete the program at a pace that fits their life situation and learning goals.