Doctor of Ministry Degree (Online D.Min)

Credit Hours

Years (Full-Time)

Time Commitment

Part-Time or Full-Time

In-person or online?

Both

Most of the D.Min courses are taught online. A few courses are taught on-site at LTS, as required intensives. Students also take active learning roles in their community congregations.

Accreditation

ATS

Application Deadline

August 1

Program Start

October 1

A Professional Doctoral Program for Leaders of Transformation in Christ

Lexington Theological Seminary is an ATS-accredited theological school in Lexington, KY. We offer an in-person and online D.Min program, with most courses offered online.

Our online D.Min program is run as a cohort program. Students progress through their theological studies with a community of peers. This collaborative and community-focused ministry program encourages spiritual and academic growth through real-world study and experience.

Our students graduate from Lexington Theological Seminary fully prepared for lives of active Christian discipleship in the modern world.

Why Choose Lexington Theological Seminary’s Online Doctor of Ministry Degree?

Jesus Christ told his followers to make disciples of all nations.

Our online D.Min graduates leave LTS equipped with the spiritual formation and skills they need to build and nurture modern congregations—either directly through pastoral ministry or as change agents in their greater communities—so the saving message of Christ can continue to be shared with the world.

Your education at LTS will be guided by a diverse faculty of thought leaders who are dedicated to empowering others to build inclusive communities in Christ.

Our in-person and online doctoral program allows students to continue pursuing academic knowledge while simultaneously learning the practical skills needed for a career in ministry in its many forms. We place a high priority on community engagement as a pathway to transformation. Our students study in-person, online, and in the community.

We believe answering God’s call should not be unattainable for financial reasons, so we strive to keep LTS an affordable seminary option for our students.

Our program’s flexibility also allows students to enroll without interrupting their day-to-day lives which often include full time jobs outside the church.

Take Your Next Steps With a Community-Centered Program

The LTS D.Min program pairs the benefits of both online and in-person courses of study for a comprehensive degree program that is 90% online, with short on-campus intensives twice a year.

Our D.Min program offers convenient online classes that let students pursue higher education without having to quit their jobs or uproot their families.

  • FLEXIBLE: Enjoy the convenience of completing most of your coursework online, without sacrificing the in-person community and fellowship of traditional, on-campus higher-ed.
  • DIVERSE: Our location-independent online program allows students from diverse geographic areas to enroll, resulting in a diversity of perspectives and life experiences represented.
  • HANDS-ON: On-campus Intensives provide the practical experience needed to gain career skills without interrupting daily life.
  • CONVENIENT: Online courses allow students to work toward a higher degree without spending extended time away from their families.
  • COMMUNITY-CENTERED: Spending time with peers both online and in-person cultivates community and encourages professional networking.

 

What will I learn in the Doctor of Ministry program?

D.Min students at LTS engage in theological analysis viewed through various cultural and structural lenses. This focus prepares D.Min students to meet the challenges presented in a wide variety of ministry settings, including in church leadership.

Our students use the Reflection-Action-Reflection research model to understand how their thoughts and actions affect community outcomes. We encourage personal reflection as a catalyst for transformative change.

Online D.Min students learn how to conduct research and how to translate research into a final dissertation for professional presentation.

Beyond our core research curriculum, students of the online D.Min program choose electives from a variety of subject areas, including:

  • Preaching
  • Church leadership
  • Biblical studies
  • Grant writing
  • Processes of visioning
  • Asset mapping
  • Action-based research
  • Community organizing
  • Traditions of radical democracy

At LTS, we believe in the power of transformative ministry. Our students leave the doctoral program as leaders equipped to help their churches and communities revitalize their missional focus to better meet contemporary challenges.

What is a Doctor of Ministry Degree?

A Doctor of Ministry (D.Min) is a professional doctoral degree oriented toward developing practical skills for ministry settings. It is the highest level of education achievable in ministry.

Our in-person and online D.Min program is designed to teach our students how to engage in effective Christian ministry in the 21st century. The Doctor of Ministry is a higher education degree that focuses on analyzing contexts and building capacity for transformation.

What Can I Do With a D.Min?

Graduates of our online D.Min degree have gone on to assume roles in ministry leadership and as reflective, action-based professionals in their various fields and communities.

As a professional degree, the online D.Min program includes both ministry research and practical skills components. This equips graduates to take on a range of professional roles in or related to the church.

Some careers our students have gone on to include:

  • Congregational ministry
  • Published author
  • Social entrepreneur
  • Teaching
  • Biblical counselor
  • Missionary
  • Army chaplain
  • University chaplain
  • Hospital chaplain
  • Non-profit executive director
  • Regional minister
  • Theological/Christian journalist
  • Christian school administrator
  • Social worker
  • …and other leaders of transformation in the spirit of Christ.

 

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Yes. Our D.Min program is accredited by ATS.

Our program is both in-person and online, with a select few required courses scheduled as on-campus intensives.

Most students complete the program within 4 to 6 years.

The difference between a D.Min and a PhD in Divinity is that they are terminal doctoral degrees in different fields. A D.Min is a ministry degree program which focuses on developing practical skills applicable to ministry leadership. A PhD in Divinity is an academic program which focuses on scholarship.

A Doctor of Ministry is a professional doctorate that emphasizes practical skills over scholarly research. A PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy, is an academic doctorate that emphasizes research and knowledge development within academia. While both D.Min and PhD are advanced terminal degrees, a Doctor of Ministry is not the same as a PhD.

LTS is dedicated to making our degree programs accessible to students from all walks of life. All D.Min students receive 30% off tuition (full tuition is $480/credit hour). Outside scholarships are also available. Learn more about our scholarship opportunities, student loans, and payment plans by clicking HERE.

Our Curriculum

Begin your advanced theological studies with a cohort of your peers. Expand your research skills by learning to identify, analyze, and formulate solutions to problems.

Learn a theoretical and methodological approach to cultural anthropology with a focus on understanding and communicating with diverse populations.

As you develop the skills needed to understand the complex needs of congregations, you'll learn how to imagine and plan for congregational adaptation and change. You will practice interpreting your surrounding culture through biblical and theological lenses so that you can effectively lead change in your community.

You will practice interpreting your surrounding culture through biblical and theological lenses. Finally, you will explore ways that theological and biblical interpretation can serve as practices that shape ministerial contexts.


Courses

DM811 – Building the Capacity of the Reflective Practitioner (2 credits, online)

DM812 – Building Cultural Frameworks for Contemporary Contexts (2 credits, on-campus intensive)

DM813 – Building Congregational/Ministerial Frameworks for Contemporary Contexts (2 credits, on-campus intensive)

DM814 – Building Theological Frameworks for Contemporary Contexts (2 credits, online)

DM815 – Building Capacity for Transformative Ministries (2 credits, online)

Continue your spiritual formation and biblical studies by choosing from a wide range of elective courses. Your electives offer opportunities to build deeper relationships with faculty members and other students. You can begin personalizing your courses to build a strong academic foundation from which to build your final project.


Courses

Students can choose from a variety of courses in contemporary subject areas including:

  • Congregational systems
  • Homiletics
  • Social justice
    • Pastoral care
  • Faith and politics
  • Congregational care
  • Mission in the 21st century
  • Changing cultural contexts
  • Stewardship
    • Pastoral leadership

During the final chapter of your D.Min degree you will be introduced to a new cohort of peers who will help you prepare your final dissertation proposal. When the student's proposal has been approved, they may then move forward with their final project.

The final D.Min project represents six credits of doctoral level work. Students will focus on a problem, issue or question in relationship to the ministry and mission of the modern church.

The project will contribute new knowledge about the nature and practice of ministry in contemporary church and society at a level of significance that the student’s peers would want to see shared in professional contexts.

The audience of the project is the student’s peers in ministry. The project will employ a reflection-action-reflection methodology, and use the approaches to cultural analysis, congregational analysis, theological reflection, and leadership through adaptive change developed in the program.

The course is considered completed and passed when the proposal is approved. The student will then work with an advisor to implement the proposal and to write about their research.

View Course Catelog

On-Campus Intensives

Our hybrid program provides flexibility for the modern theology student without sacrificing in-person fellowship.

Most M.Div coursework can be completed online. However, we require that students complete 24 of the program’s 76-hour graduation requirement in-person during our 10-day on-campus intensives, which are offered twice a year.

During an on-campus intensive, a typical 2-month, 2-credit course is covered in 3 days of full-time coursework. Students can select from classes in the categories of Leading Care (Pastoral Care), Leading Worship (Planning Worship/Sermon Preparation), Interpreting Scripture (Biblical Studies), Leading Mission (Mission/Church Governance/Administration), Interpreting Faith (Theology), and Doctoral classes in studying culture and congregations.
These intensives give students the opportunity to finish some of their coursework at an accelerated pace. Spending time together on campus also provides time for students to worship, study, dine, and relax together in a community of Christ.*

*Please note that a community luncheon is provided each day of Intensives. Transportation, accommodations, and meals are not included in tuition.

Time to Graduation

This program can be completed in 3 years for full-time students and in 4-6 years for part-time students.

Program Director for the Pathways for Tomorrow Grant

Adjunct Professor

DMin Courses Taught

  • DMin 811

Jon Barnes has over a decade of international experience, serving in South Africa and Mozambique with Global Ministries (DOC and UCC) and in South Africa, Lesotho and eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) with the Mennonite Central Committee. Barnes serves LTS as the Program Director for the Pathways for Tomorrow Grant as well as teaching as adjunct faculty. He received a BA from Gardner-Webb University (1993), a MDiv from Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (2000), and a PhD from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (2010) in South Africa.

In addition to numerous journal articles, Barnes is the author of Power and Partnership: A History of the Protestant Mission Movement (Pickwick, 2013) and co-editor of Restoring Dignity, Nourishing Hope: Developing Mutuality in Mission (Pilgrim Press, 2016). More recently, he wrote “Mission and Ministry in the Age of Pandemics” for the recently released book Threshold Dwellers in the Age of Global Pandemic (Pickwick, 2022).

Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dean and Professor of Constructive Theology

DMin Courses Taught

  • DMin 814

The Rev. Dr. Loida I. Martell joined the LTS faculty in August of 2017. Prior to that, she was Professor of Constructive Theology at Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University in Pennsylvania.

Dr. Martell is a licensed doctor in veterinary medicine as well as an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches/ USA. She is a bi-coastal Puerto Rican who has taught in various institutions of higher learning including Gordon Conwell’s Center for Urban Ministerial Education in Boston, and the University of Puerto Rico’s College of Allied Health Professionals.

She pastored in New York City for 15 years, and served as President of the Board of American Baptist Churches/ Metro New York City from 1994–1996.

Dr. Martell pioneered the study of evángelica theology. She has published articles on evangélica soteriology, Christology, doctrine of God, eschatology, Scriptural hermeneutics, globalization, embodiment, and vocation. Her research on Taíno religious beliefs led to the publication of “My GPS Doesn’t Work in Puerto Rico,” on evangélica spirituality. She co-edited Teología en Conjunto: A Collaborative Hispanic Protestant Theology (1997), and more recently co-authored the well-received Latina Evangélicas: A Theological Survey from the Margins (2013).

Dr. Martell is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association. As a member of the American Academy of Religion, she currently serves as President of La Comunidad of Hispanic Scholars of Religion. She was appointed to represent the American Baptist Churches/ USA on the National Council of Churches Convening Table for Theological Studies and Matters of Faith and Reason. The American Baptist Home Missions Societies awarded her the 2015 Richard Hoiland Christian Education Award, its highest recognition for “faithful and effective leadership in Christian education,” for her long-standing work in nurturing culturally and racially diverse classrooms and for exceptional leadership.

Dr. Martell is an avid amateur photographer.

Prerequisites for the LTS Online D.Min Degree:

  • M.Div degree from an ATS-accredited institution or equivalent*
  • 3.0 GPA or higher
  • 3 years or more of ministry experience following completion of your theological master’s degree**

Application Deadline: August 1

Program Start: October 1

*Defined as an ATS-approved professional master’s degree or a minimum of 72 graduate semester hours reflecting study of a range of subjects comparable to the requirements of a M.Div degree.

**Applicants with a significant number of years of experience in ministerial leadership prior to beginning their M.Div. degree may submit for consideration a request to waive the requirement for 3 years of experience between the completion of their M.Div. degree and the beginning of D.Min. studies.

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