Doctor of Ministry in Relational Leadership

36 3 $300

Professional doctorate focused on spiritual renewal and effective relational ministry.


The Doctor of Ministry in Relational Leadership is a practice-oriented professional degree for pastors and ministry leaders that cultivates a “way of being” for spiritual formation. The program emphasizes relational ministry development. It is designed to facilitate spiritual renewal and to stimulate increasingly effective ministry in the Church and contemporary world.

Participants are challenged to refine and enhance their ministerial skills. Starting with a solid theological foundation, participants build a relational approach to ministry leadership that focuses on being rather than on doing. Practical applications of a relational paradigm to ministry and leadership are explored throughout the program and in the professional ministry research project.

In addition, participants analyze, reflect, discuss, and implement practical ministry initiatives through interaction with a cohort and faculty mentors.

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The Doctor of Ministry Program Is Designed To Provide Its Participants With

  • An opportunity for spiritual renewal and advancement.
  • An advanced understanding and integration of ministry in relation to biblical, historical-theological, and pastoral disciplines.
  • A relational view of ministry and supporting theology and practice.
  • Skills and competencies required for the practice of ministry at its most mature and effective level.

Upon Successful Completion, You Will Be Able To

  • Formulate a philosophy of identity formation and renewal for ministry.
  • Formulate a practice and theology of ministry that focuses on being rather than merely doing.
  • Develop a philosophy of leadership that informs the practice of ministry.
  • Develop an interpersonal approach to ministry through critical thinking, prayerful reflection, and application.
  • Utilize biblical and theological resources skillfully to inform ministry life and practice.
  • Conduct applied research of professional doctoral-level breadth and depth within one’s chosen area of ministry.
  • Make a professional, informed contribution to the understanding and practice of ministry through the completion of a doctoral-level project.

Course of Study

The Doctor of Ministry in Relational Leadership degree is a three-year program consisting of 36 units. It includes the completion of nine seminars (courses) and two research clinics to be completed in two academic years. In the third year, candidates specialize by designing, implementing, and writing a field-based ministry research project related to their current ministry.

All seminars are offered in an online format without residency requirements. The program is a minimum of three years in length and must be completed within five years. See Admissions section regarding transfer of credits toward degree requirements.

First-Year Seminars (18 units)

DM 791Research Clinic 1 
DM 701Identity Formation 
DM 711Relational Theology 
DM 761Spiritual and Personal Formation 
DM 751Contemporary Trends in Worship 
DM 722Proclaiming God’s Goodness Across Cultures 

Second-Year Seminars (15 units)

DM 721The American Church in Crisis 
DM 723Ministry of Healing and Reconciliation 
DM 756Creative Conflict Management 
DM 766The Pastor as a Change Agent 
DM 792Research Clinic 2 

Ministry Research Project – 3 units

DM 796Ministry Research Project

The Professional Ministry Research Project involves a biblical-theological base, a review of related literature, solid research, responsible use of resources, and appropriate methodologies.

The final report of the research project is to number between 200 and 250 pages (including appendices). The project will include an oral presentation (in-person or through other means) and evaluation. See the Doctor of Ministry Handbook for more information about project selection, development, and defense.

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Doctoral degree courses typically require from 10 to 12 hours per week for a 3-unit course. Some students may require more (or less) study time depending on the subject being studied.

Written Comprehensive Exam

A written comprehensive exam follows the completion of the third year. This integrative examination is designed for the student to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the subjects studied in the degree program.


Here are a few of the faculty members teaching in the Doctor of Ministry in Relational Leadership program. View all faculty bios.

Wesley M. Pinkham
B.A. in Philosophy and Biblical Literature, Seattle Pacific University M.A. in Educational Ministries, Wheaton College
M.Div., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Th.M., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
M.Ed., University of British Columbia
D.Min., McCormick Theological Seminary
Teaches: Leadership, Conflict Management, Educational Ministries
Marty Folsom
B.A. in Youth Ministry, Northwest University
Th.B. in Theology, Northwest University
M.A. in Biblical Literature, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary
M.A. in Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary
Ph.D. in Theology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand Postdoctorate studies, Regent College, Vancouver, B.C.
Teaches: Theology and Ministry
James P. Girdlestone
B.A. in Christian Ministry, The Master’s College
M.Div., D.Min., The King’s University
Teaches: Theology and Ministry
Mark Glenn
B.A. in Theology and Bible, Southeastern University
M.B.A., Indiana Wesleyan University
M.Ed., Northwest Nazarene University
M.Div., D.Min., The King’s University
Teaches: Theology and Ministry

Graduation Requirements

To graduate as a Doctor of Ministry in Relational Leadership the participant will:

  • Complete the minimum number of units required.
  • Complete all seminars in the degree program with a C- (1.67 GPA) or better.
  • Complete a professional ministry research project and earn a passing grade in the written project and oral defense.
  • Complete and earn a passing grade in the comprehensive written examination.
  • Earn a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0.
  • Fulfill any outstanding school financial obligations.

See the Doctor of Ministry Handbook for additional information.