Story Magazine

Third Quarter, 2003

New D.Min. in Biblical Preaching

Enjoy preaching? Yearn to speak God's word in a way that touches your listeners deeply, and strengthens their faith? Want a high-quality education that leads to a new level of competence? Then you may be the perfect candidate for Luther Seminary's new doctor of ministry in biblical preaching.

Part of Luther Seminary's strategic plan is to become a center of excellence for both biblical preaching and congregational mission and leadership. The seminary has already instituted the D.Min. in congregational mission and leadership. Now it plans to launch its second D.Min. program in the summer of 2004.

There's a reason "biblical" partners with "preaching" in the degree title. The entire program is permeated with the theological vision that preaching should be rooted in God's dynamic word as it is recorded in the Scriptures, and brought to lively expression in the proclamation of the gospel.

"People don't know the Bible the way they used to," says Mary Hinkle, assistant professor of New Testament, and one of the key faculty of the new biblical preaching degree. "How should pastors respond to that? Bring the Bible to life for people. Enliven your own preaching for people for whom the story is sometimes new."

People are yearning to hear the narrative, the stories of the Bible, according to Michael Rogness, professor of homiletics. "We're facing biblical illiteracy. The Chicken Soup of the Soul-type preaching was popular, but now people want to hear what the Bible has to say."

Along with focusing on the biblical aspect of preaching, the new D.Min. is:

  • Practical--It works to develop the skills of practicing preachers, enhancing the work they do for the communities in which they serve.

  • Collegial--Participants enter,work and graduate as a class/cohort.

  • Spiritual--Participants have the opportunity to deepen their faith in Jesus Christ and their commitment to, and understanding of, their vocation.

It is also ecumenical. Along with non-Lutheran participants, many of the top-notch guest lecturers will come from denominations other than Lutheran and will share a wealth of knowledge and richness of preaching garnered from their faith tradition.

David Lose, assistant professor of homiletics, hopes congregations will financially assist their pastors in participating in the degree program.

"The program is highly contextual," he explains. "Congregations will see fruits of their pastor's labor in the ministry and life of the congregation.

"As part of the D.Min., pastors will form a parish project or response group from the congregation. Part of the program requirements are sermons preached in the pastor's home congregation, which culminate in a project or paper in the spring. The response groups will work with the pastors to design their projects. They'll help the pastors discern their theses and think about how the projects would take shape in their congregations."

Congregations also assist by giving their pastors intentional time to strengthen and renew their preaching skills through study, says Rogness.

"In my experience, every few years you need to do something to stay fresh in the pulpit. You can't avoid getting stale if you don't take steps to renew or refresh yourself. You have to learn something, read something, experience something new to get going again."

Rogness receives many phone calls and e-mails from former students, usually about five years out in their ministry, who say, "I've said everything, told all my stories,what do I do now?" Now, Rogness has a great response: "Enroll in Luther Seminary's D.Min. in biblical preaching."

For more information, a complete program schedule, or an online application, visit www.luthersem.edu/dmin. You may also contact the graduate theological education office at 651-641-3203, or via e-mail at plokken@luthersem.edu.