Doctor of Ministry in Leadership and Spiritual Formation

How will you take what you learn in Portland Seminary’s Leadership and Spiritual Formation DMin program and apply it to your ministry context? That’s the beauty of this program: You get to decide!

The degree is broken into two parallel course sequences:

  • Project Portfolio research sequence (DMIN 750, 751, 850, 851, 950 and 951)
  • Lead-mentor taught courses (DMIN 708, 718, 808 and 818)

Project Portfolio Research Sequence

students working in small peer group

In the Project Portfolio research sequence, you take six courses designed to give you greater flexibility to engage in research and writing on a ministry Need, Problem, or Opportunity (NPO) of interest to you.

As part of the process, you are assigned to a small peer group under the supervision of a project faculty member who guides your research through a series of key milestones to generate the final portfolio.

The research course sequence is divided into three stages: Discover, Design, and Deliver, with milestone assignments to mark the completion of each stage.

Year 1 | Discover
You first explore a Need, Problem, or Opportunity (NPO) from your ministry context, then draw on discoveries from grassroots stakeholder insights as well as expert analysis through immersion in relevant academic and theological literature.

Year 2 | Design
You engage stakeholders from your context to brainstorm solutions. Out of this process, you then identify and test a project prototype to develop in the third year.

Year 3 | Deliver
You refine the prototype with potential users, evaluate your findings, and create a launch plan to further develop your doctoral project after graduation. An evaluation committee assesses the entire portfolio, including project and launch plan, for final approval.

All of the key milestone documents are compiled in a final portfolio for the library archival and digital publication.

Leadership and Spiritual Formation class

Courses Taught by the Lead Mentor

Dr. MaryKate Morse and Dr. Ken Van Vliet serve as the lead mentors for the Leadership and Spiritual Formation program. They work together to create a formational learning experience.

Courses consist of directed readings, individual and group assignments, and cohort-level interaction.

Courses generally include the following elements:

  • Reading: You are provided a reading list and schedule of books, articles, and websites to discuss with your cohort.
  • Asynchronous discussion: You discuss the assigned course materials each week on the course website discussion forum.
  • Zoom chat: You meet once a week for a live video conference Monday mornings, Pacific Time. One or both mentors facilitate the discussions.
  • Academic portfolio: You develop an academic portfolio that includes an integration reflection paper and “Rhythm of Life” project, an integrative change assignment, and a summative learning paper. This portfolio will enable you to explore and track your own thinking and growth as a spiritual leader.
  • Academic Retreats at Cannon Beach: Cohorts join mentors and special guests four times throughout the program in March and October in Cannon Beach, Oregon.
  • Course sequence topics include: The topics of the four taught courses are addressed through a sequence of guiding questions:
    • DMIN 708: Who am I at this stage of my life? How do I thrive in Christ for the long haul of my calling?
    • DMIN 718: What is spiritual formation (definition and characteristics) in my context? What is leadership (definition and characteristics) in my context?
    • DMIN 808: How do I co-create with the Spirit and systemic transformation in my context?
    • DMIN 818: How do the creative arts, economics, diversity and culture contribute to systemic transformation in my context?

Curriculum Sequence

Note: Lead mentor taught courses begin in Spring Semester of the first year.

Year 1

Fall Semester (4 hrs)

Course Credit Hours
DMIN 750 Identifying the Need / Problem / Opportunity (NPO) 4

Spring Semester (8 hrs)

Course Credit Hours
DMIN 708 Leadership and Spiritual Formation - The Inner World of the Leader (includes Retreat in late February) 4
DMIN 751 Exploring Theological and Contextual Foundations of the NPO 4

Year 2

Fall Semester (7 hrs)

Course Credit Hours
DMIN 718 Leadership and Spiritual Formation - Historical and Biblical Perspectives of Leadership and Formation (includes Retreat in mid-October) 4
DMIN 850 Discovering Stakeholder Perspectives for addressing the NPO 3

Spring Semester (7 hrs)

Course Credit Hours
DMIN 808 Leadership and Spiritual Formation - Processes and Principles of Systemic Transformation (includes Retreat in early March) 4
DMIN 851 Experimenting with Prototypes 3

Year 3

Fall Semester (8 hrs)

Course Credit Hours
DMIN 818 Leadership and Spiritual Formation - Cultural, Artistic, and Global Engagement (includes Retreat in late October 4
DMIN 950 Designing the Doctoral Project 4

Spring Semester (4 hrs)

Course Credit Hours
DMIN 951 Assessment of the Doctoral Project 4