“Brite’s emphasis on practical theology is tailor made for my setting.”
Brite D.Min. program student Captain Stephen J. Shaw, U.S. Navy Chaplain currently serving as Force Chaplain at U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command in Norfolk, VA, chose Brite because the Doctor of Ministry program would connect him with behavioral health specialists and theologians who are doing ground-breaking research in the field of moral injury.
In his current role, Stephen’s primary responsibility is to coordinate, train, and mentor the 139 Chaplains and enlisted Religious Program Specialists who deploy to support the Marines and Sailors serving in the Second Marine Expeditionary Force and the Marine Security Force Regiment. Stephen explains, “After engaging up close with moral injury following my combat tour in Iraq, I want to equip those in the church and chaplaincy to bring the rich theological resources we possess to care for those struggling with soul wounds and help them find ‘Shalom’ (Peace).”
“The interaction with a diverse group of students in my cohort has been life-changing. Likewise, the professors are not only experts in their field of academia, but they also have genuine compassion for students that facilitates a deep intellectual and spiritual interaction I will always cherish.”
“Brite has helped me grow, not only as a theologian, but also as a person.”
Brite D.Min. program student Daryl Horton chose Brite because of the sense of community. “Everyone I visited with made me feel welcome — the Dean, the President and the faculty members.”
Daryl was confident that the D.Min. program would further develop his critical thinking through diverse readings, discussions and exposure to the personal experiences of faculty and fellow students. What he didn’t realize was the impact those relationships would have on him. Daryl explains, “I have been challenged academically and stretched theologically, but so much of my growth has been possible because of the encouragement I receive from fellow students and faculty.”
Daryl currently serves as Youth Pastor and Assistant Pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Austin. Understanding the importance of community and the positive impact of community involvement, he maintains an active ministry beyond his local congregation. He currently serves on the board of the City of Austin African-American Resource Advisory Commission in addition to holding leadership positions in various non-profits, denominational and community organizations.
“The Brite D.Min. program has allowed me to develop relationships with fellow students and faculty who understand the challenges we encounter, not only in this program, but in our ministry.”
“To be a pastor in these challenging times—nothing is more helpful than Brite’s D.Min. program. I am so grateful to God to be at Brite.”
So says Sary Rosario-Ferreira, a Disciples of Christ pastor in Puerto Rico enrolled in Brite’s Doctor of Ministry program. Sary has long been involved in environmental/ecological justice work in Puerto Rico, where communities are deeply affected by environmental problems. She came to Brite specifically to study eco theology and justice, and her final project addresses ecological justice in her community and how churches can help communities struggling with environmental issues.
“The D.Min. program is an amazing experience,” she states. “Every class enlightens and gives insights, and what l like is the focus on practical theology. Insights merge with the issues you face every day.”
Sary appreciates the reflections and ideas that come from the classes at Brite, and she also appreciates that everyone works respectfully with those who have different opinions. “There is a spirit of respect. Everyone is heard. My voice is important. I have a secure space to learn and share with others. Faculty and students alike are affirming. I am comfortable to be myself and share my ideas.”
When Sary began her environmental/ecological justice work at Brite, she had no idea how much more dire these problems would be. Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and these issues reached crisis-level status. Brite D.Min. classes began about two weeks after the hurricane, yet she managed to make it to Fort Worth for the session.
“No words can express how kind and supportive everyone was at Brite. I couldn’t have begun to imagine the compassion and affirmation they shared. They prayed for me. They gathered supplies I could take back to the people of Puerto Rico. They touched my spirit in a way I will never forget.”
The Doctor of Ministry is an advanced professional degree designed to enhance the practice of ministry and leadership in the church and other public settings. The D.Min. offers opportunities for professional, spiritual, intellectual, and personal growth through the rigorous academic study of theology, careful contextual analysis, and deepened engagement with the Spirit in the world. In a community of co-learners, the D.Min. helps practitioners engage the complex issues they face every day by developing capacities for theological reflection, creative leadership, and critical awareness of the important issues that demand prophetic witness. The degree is suitable for pastors, chaplains, educators, and leaders of faith-based agencies.
The Doctor of Ministry is completed in 27 credit hours consisting of 8 courses and a professional ministry project. Core and elective courses are normally offered in one-week intensives during October and May (2 D.Min. courses are offered over a two week period in the May term) to allow persons who work fulltime to attend. All instruction takes place on the Brite campus at TCU in Fort Worth although engagement with instructors, classmates, and course material is required prior to and after times on campus. View coursework and other degree program requirements related to the Doctor of Ministry program here.
The tuition and fee cost for the D.Min. is $13,200 for the program, equally divided into $2200 installments. More information about tuition and fees is available here.
When I completed my Master of Divinity degree, I took up a pastoral position confident that I was equipped to lead a congregation in transforming the church and community. It did not take long for my confidence to meet cold, hard reality! As wonderful as my seminary experience had been, three years of education could not completely prepare me to face all of the challenges of ministerial leadership. It was more than wishing I had spent more of my electives on pastoral care classes (although I should have), or lamenting that I wasn’t equipped to face the realities of congregational conflict; it was the realization that Christian ministry is an infinitely complex calling and task–practically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.
The religious, cultural and political landscapes have changed since my education in the 1990s. The ways in which we minister have changed, challenging even the best equipped and most gifted clergy. I believe that persons called to the vocation of ministerial leadership are also called to lifelong learning in order to meet these challenges with grace and skill. It is exciting to engage in this with the dedicated clergy who are part of Brite’s D.Min. program. It is easy to see that they are making a difference in the world!
- M.Div. or its equivalent from an A.T.S. accredited seminary. Normally, a 3.25 cumulative grade point average is required.
- 3 years of full-time ministry (not necessarily ordained ministry) experience beyond completion of the M.Div.
- Professional writing sample
- Personal statement
- Letters of Recommendation
- Transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate institutions
- TOEFL (if applicable)
- Application Fee