Leadership in a Changing Church Context

Campus: Hamilton (1), Hamilton (2), TBA (3)
Primary Faculty Mentors: Dr. Jim SingletonVirginia WardPete James

Guest: Dr. Dana Allin

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Who are you as a Leader?  What is the nature of the church or organization in which you provide leadership?  How will you lead? And how do you understand and process the changes in our church culture? Each residency in this doctoral study program will add a layer of learning around these questions.

The key thought is this: Leadership is absolutely dependent on the leader’s own ongoing transformation and ability to lead others into a process of shared transformation.

We will study the impact of the changing church culture upon the competencies of pastoral ministry (preaching, teaching, discipleship, evangelism, worship, and pastoral care).  The variety of topics to be studied will include examination of leaders from scripture and church history in their contexts. There will be a focus on self-awareness, governance structure awareness, how to lead change, how to guide congregations, and how to engage better with younger generations.


As a Doctor of Ministry student, you attend three two-week intensive residencies (seminars), one each year for three years. The residencies consist of lectures, case studies, participant reports and individual consultations. The classroom sessions are collegial in style and stress learning within a community context. In preparation for each residency, you read between 2,000 and 3,000 pages of assigned and collateral reading. Sample reading includes:

  • Ammerman, Nancy T., Jackson W. Carroll, Carl S. Dudley, and William McKinney, eds. Studying Congregations (Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1998) (ISBN: 0-687-00651-1) (256 pages)
  • Barton, Ruth Haley. Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry. (Downers Grove, Ill: IVP, 2008) (ISBN: 978-0-8308-3513-3) (228 pages)
  • Benner, David G. The Gift of Being Yourself. (Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP, 2004) (ISBN: 978-0- 8308-3245-3) (114 pages)
  • Bolman, Lee G. and Terrence E. Deal. Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership, 5th Ed. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2013) (ISBN: 978-111857-3334) (526 pages)
  • Bolsinger, Tod, Canoeing the Mountains: Leading Into Uncharted Territory. (Unpublished Manuscript, 2015)
  • Burns, John S., John R. Shoup, and Donald C. Simmons, Jr. (eds.). Organizational Leadership: Foundations & Practices for Christians. (Downers Grove, Ill: IVP, 2014) (ISBN: 978-0- 8308-4050-2). (283 pages).
  • Clinton, J. Robert. The Making of a Leader: Recognizing the Lessons and Stages of Leadership Development. (2nd Edition). (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1988, 2012) (ISBN: 978-1-61291-075-8) (288 pages)
  • Crouch, Andy. Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling. (Downers Grove, Ill: IVP, (2008) (ISBN: 978-8308-3755-7) (282 pages)
  • DePree, Max. Leadership is an Art. (New York, Dell, 1989) (ISBN: 0-440-50324-8) (148 pages)
  • Dudley, Carl S. and Nancy Ammerman. Congregations in Transition: A Guide for Analyzing, Assessing and Adapting in Changing Communities (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2002) (ISBN: 13-072-3812385645) (191 pages)
  • Ford, Kevin G. Transforming Church: Bringing Out the Good to Get to Great. (Carol Stream, Ill.: Tyndale, 2007) (ISBN: 978-1-4143-0893-7) (227 pages)
  • Ford, Kevin and Ken Tucker. The Leadership Triangle. (Peoria, AZ: Intermedia Publishing Group, 2011) (ISBN: 978-1-935906-76-6) (195 pages)
  • Friedman, Edwin. A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix. (New York: Church Publishing, 1999, 2007) (ISBN: 978-1596-627042-8) (260 pages)
  • Goleman, Daniel, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee. Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence. (Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2002) (ISNB: 1- 57851-486-X) (290 pages)
  • Greer, Peter and Chris Horst. Mission Drift: The Unspoken Crisis Facing Leaders, Charities, and Churches. (Bloomington, MN: Bethany House, 2014) (ISBN: 978-0-7642-1101-0) (219 pages)
  • Heifetz, Ronald, Alexander Grashow, and Marty Linsky. The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World (Boston: Harvard Business Press, 2009) (ISBN 978-1-4221-0576-4) (297 pages)
  • Heifetz,Ronald A. and Marty Linsky, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading. (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2002) (ISBN: 978-1- 57851-437-3) (252 pages)
  • Herrington, Jim, R. Robert Creech, and Trisha Taylor. The Leader’s Journey: Accepting the Call to Personal and Congregational Transformation. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003) (ISBN: 0-7879-6266-X) (188 pages)
  • Hirsch, Alan and Tim Catchim. The Permanent Revolution: Apostolic Imagination and Practice for the 21st Century Church. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2012). (ISBN: 978-0-470-90774-0) (316 pages)
  • Hybels, Bill. Courageous Leadership. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002). (ISBN: 0-310- 24823-X) (253 pages)
  • Laniak, T.S. Shepherds After My Own Heart: Pastoral Traditions and Leadership in the Bible. (Leicester, UK: IVP, 2006)
  • Lencioni, Patrick, The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2012) (ISBN: 978-1-118-26673-1) (216 pages)
  • Lowney, Chris. Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company That Changed the World. (Chicago: Loyola Press, 2003). (ISBN-10: 0-8294-2115-7) (330 pp)
  • Malphurs, Aubrey. Look Before You Lead: How to Discern & Shape Your Church Culture. (Grand Rapids, MI.: Baker, 2013) (ISBN: 978-0-8010-1507-6) (271 pages)
  • Maxwell, John. The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader: Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1999) (ISBN: 0-978-7852-7440-7) (155 pages)
  • McIntosh, Gary L. and Samuel D. Rima. Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership: How to Become an Effective Leader by Confronting Potential Failures. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1997, 2007) (ISBN: 978-0-8010-6835-5) (254 pages)
  • McNeal, Reggie. A Work of Heart: Understanding How God Shapes Spiritual Leaders. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000, 2011) (ISBN: 978-1-118-10318-0) (203 pages)
  • Nouwen, Henri J.M. The Wounded Healer. (Garden City, NY: Image Books, 1972) (ISBN: 0- 385-14803-8) (100 pages)
  • Osterhaus, James, Joseph M. Jurkowski, and Todd A Hahn. Thriving Through Ministry Conflict. (Grand Rapids, MI.: Zondervan, 2005) (ISBN: 13:978-0-310-86438-7) (155 pages)
  • Overstreet, Jane. Unleader: The Surprising Qualities of a Valuable Leader (Colorado Springs: Biblica, 2011) (ISBN: 978-1-60657-039-5) (112 pages)
  • Palmer, Parker J. Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2000) (ISBN: 0-7879-4735-0) (115 pages)
  • Robinson, Bill. Incarnate Leadership: 5 Leadership Lessons from the Life of Jesus. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009 (ISBN: 978-0-310-29113-8) (122 pages)
  • Rodin, R. Scott. The Steward Leader: Transforming People, Organizations, and Communities. (Downers Grove, Ill: IVP, 2010) (ISBN: 978-0-8308-3878-3) (197 pages)
  • Rohrer, David. The Sacred Wilderness of Pastoral Ministry: Preparing a People for the Presence of the Lord. (Downers Grove, Ill: IVP, 2012) (ISBN #: 978-0-8308-3824-0) 179 pages)
  • Roxburgh, Alan J and Fred Romanuk. The Missional Leader: Equipping Your Church to Reach a Changing World. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006) (ISBN: 978-0-7879-8325-3) (219 pages)
  • Roxburgh, Alan J. and M. Scott Boren. Introducing the Missional Church: What It Is, Why It Matters, How to Become One. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2009) (ISBN: 978-0-8010-7212-3) (200 pages)
  • Steinke, Peter L. How Your Church Family Works: Understanding Congregations as Emotional Systems. (Herndon, VA: Alban, 1993) (ISBN: 1-56699-110-2) (128 pages)
  • Stowell, Joseph M. Redefining Leadership: Character Driven Habits of Effective Leaders. (Grand Rapids, MI.: Zondervan, 2014) (ISBN: 978-0-310-21565-3) (175 pages)
  • Stone, Douglas, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen, Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most, 10th Anniversary Edition. (New York: Penguin Press, 1999, 2010) (ISBN: 978-0-14-311844-2) (352 pages)
  • Tokunaga, Paul. Invitation to Lead: Guidance for Emerging Asian American Leaders. (Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP, 2003) (ISBN: 0-8308-2393-X) (214 pages)
  • Winseman, Albert L, Donald O. Clifton, and Curt Liesveld, Living Your Strengths: Discover Your God-Given Talents and Inspire Your Community. (New York: Gallup Press, 2003) (ISBN: 1-59562-002-8) (230 pages)
  • Woodward, J.R. Creating a Missional Culture: Equipping the Church for the Sake of the World. (Downers Grove, Ill: IVP, 2012) (ISBN: 978-0-8308-3653-6) (256 pages)


Here is how your studies will transform you and your ministry by seeking to fulfill our general Doctor of Ministry goals in some track-specific ways:

1. To resource students through a biblically-grounded educational program taught by faculty who are committed to God’s Word and the application of principles of Scripture to the issues of contemporary culture.

  • Students will be able to look more thoughtfully at leadership from a biblical perspective and see how they can follow in his steps, believing that Jesus has clearly disclosed God’s way for our lives.
  • Students will be able to understand the changing place of leadership within God’s redemptive history.

2. To form in students a sound foundation of theological and biblical inquiry in their professional doctoral program’s specialized track that they are able to integrate into the life of Christian ministry.

  • Students will be able to develop adequate tools for evaluating the biblical and theological assumptions regarding leadership in undergirding various congregational renewal methodologies through increased awareness of varied theological perspectives concerning issues of evangelism, renewal, and discipleship.

3. To provide students with the skill set and understandings in a specialized area of ministry to such an extent that they can impact their congregation or community more powerfully for God.

  • Students will be able to grow in awareness of the contemporary literature of leadership, missional theology, and culture change.
  • Students will be able to develop competence in assessing the environment and needs of the local congregation for more effective transformation.

4. To create through the cohort model of the program a dimension of Christian community and spiritual nurturing so that students form strong friendships with one another and enter long-term relationships with the scholars who guide the learning experience.

  • Students will be able to recognize that Christian ministry flows out of the character of believers and through their shared experiences together will want to grow in the knowledge of our life in Christ and to learn more of the beauty of His holiness.
  • Students will be able to develop an appreciation of the responsibility of the minister to be a peer support for fellow ministers by becoming a contributor to fellow students’ formation for ministry efforts.

5. To develop in students a deeper understanding of Christ’s lordship in all areas of life for the common good of the contemporary world.

  • Students will be able to analyze the sociological, psychological, and spiritual factors involved in the various leadership resources studied.
  • Students will be able to develop an historical perspective as a basis for evaluating contemporary leadership and missional practices, including developing insights for evaluating the nature of contemporary congregational transformations in the light of historical, biblical, and theological principles

6. To cultivate within students through critical reflection and careful research through the residencies and projects an enriched Christian witness in the places of society they are called to serve.

  • Students will be able to critique his/her ministry in light of biblical and theological perspectives on leadership.
  • Students will be able to apply the principles of missional theology to his/her own ministry setting.
  • Students will be able to implement and evaluate specific leadership strategies within a local congregation.

7. To instill in students a refreshed view of their ministry as it relates to the proclamation of the Gospel among all people.

  • Students will be able to discern principles of leadership transformational and missional strategies that have played a key role in the spread of the gospel around the world.
  • Students will be able to explore dynamics of congregational leadership through site visits.

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