DMin Project Portfolio

Professional Enhancement

In the DMin program, students embark on a 3-year journey under the guidance of a Project Faculty (PF) member and small community of fellow cohort researchers. They travel through a sequence of milestones with the goal of creating a project that addresses a significant real-world ministry Need, Problem, or Opportunity (NPO) within their ministry context.

As an outcome of the Portland Seminary DMin research process, graduates:

  1. Learn a problem-solving process that they will utilize repeatedly after graduation.
  2. Gain expertise around their research topic.
  3. Address a challenge in their ministry context.

Types of Projects

Students create practical solutions to address a challenge in their ministry context. Examples include: 

  • A website that will promote a cooperative effort between Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) institutions.
  • A popular book to provide Next-Gen church leaders approaches for adolescent faith formation within Generation Z.
  • A denominational or church research report that explores effective ways of faith transmission among young adults in Seattle. 
  • A short-term missions facilitator’s manual, complete with videos, meeting guides and reflection activities, to prepare participants for their experience.
  • A Lenten study, exploring how spiritual disillusionment is a welcome ally in one's spiritual journey.
  • A business plan to enable a non-profit to create alternative revenue sources to fund academic programs for ‘at-risk’ children.
  • A college-level course that explores how to address the unhealthy relational gaps in global church partnerships.
  • An action plan to organize a local neighborhood movement.
  • spiritual journal app for congregation members to use each day to develop a sense of presence and intimacy with the Lord.

The Research Process

Students develop competency in addressing a real-world Need, Problem, or Opportunity (NPO) and gain expertise in a chosen area of ministry research.

The 22-hour research process is divided into three phases (Discover, Design, Deliver), each containing key milestones to indicate progress.

Doctor of Ministry - discover, design, deliver process

The Discovery Phase, Year 1

Under the guidance of their Project Faculty, students engage a variety of stakeholders from their ministry context in a grassroots discovery process to assess the real needs of those impacted by the ministry Need, Problem, or Opportunity (NPO). The learnings are summarized in a charter. The following semester, students immerse themselves in the theological and academic literature relevant to their research to understand the NPO yet more deeply. Milestones include:

  • NPO Charter
  • Topic Expertise Essay

The Design Phase, Year 2

Students brainstorm ideas for addressing the NPO with another group of ‘expert’ stakeholders from their ministry context, further research topical literature, and identify and test three 'low-resolution' prototypes. Based on their findings, students identify their Project. Milestones include:

  • Brainstorm Session Report
  • Semester Iteration Report

The Delivery Phase, Year 3

In Fall Semester students create an 'medium-resolution' version of their Project and test it. After evaluating and reporting their findings, they make further improvements to submit. They also develop a post-graduation launch and sustainability strategy. Milestones include:

  • Project Prototype Report
  • 'Ready-to-Launch' Project
  • Project Launch Plan

An examination committee (consisting of the Project Faculty, external Project Faculty, Lead Mentor, and a DMin Director) evaluates the Project and Launch Plan for final approval. Students compile a final portfolio of the milestones for archival to the University’s Digital Commons.