DMin Family Ministry Concentration
Changing the people who change the world
Changing the people who change the world, the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) Family Ministry Concentration prepares men and women to fulfill the teaching and discipling mandates of the gospel commission as they impact families positively for the Kingdom.
The DMin Family Ministry Concentration prepares an individual for a proactive ministry of preaching, teaching, and working with groups to develop the positive family and relationship skills needed in today's culture. It is designed to promote pastoral excellence by attending to the (1) pastor's personal life, (2) the pastor's own family, (3) families in the congregation, and (4) the congregation as a family.
Upon completing this program, you will be able to:
Exhibit growth toward personal and family health and wholeness;
Demonstrate proficiency in theological reflection, especially in the lived experience of families;
Evaluate available family life resources appropriate for sermon or seminar preparation, evangelistic events, and pastoral counseling;
Identify support resources for families in your community;
Demonstrate leadership skills in family life education and enrichment for facilitating church-related events;
Display progress toward professional certification level II from the North American Division Family Ministries Department.
The DMin Family Ministry Concentration seeks to create competency in four areas:
Family Life Education - Participants acquire knowledge of the various topic areas related to the field of family life education and explore current issues and empirical findings related to this area of study.
Spiritual, Theological, and Personal Development - Participants reflect theologically on the lived experience of families, become aware of their personal strengths and limitations, realize the impact self-awareness and self-understanding have on ministry and seek to integrate their expanding spiritual and theological perspectives into their personal formation as individuals and members of families.
Research and Praxis - Participants learn and acquire basic research skills pertinent to their practice in the field of family life education and family ministry within the context of church and community. Based on current research, students develop and deploy a relevant, field-based project intentionally addressing family ministry in the local context.
Professional Family Ministry - Participants gain knowledge of the professional family ministry constructs and acquire ministry skills pertinent to the practice of family life education and enrichment within the context of ministry.
The following learning modalities will be included in the concentration's pedagogy:
Module Intensives - Participants will attend intensives (each approximately two weeks in length) led by top educators and experts in family ministry and family life education that provide didactic and experiential learning experiences. Pre-and post-intensive assignments include assigned textbook reading, reflective journaling, and preparation of papers that will form chapters of the participant's project document.
Ministry Development Plan (MDP) - Each participant will prepare a plan for their development personally (including spiritually), relationally, and professionally along with a detailed description of what will be involved in the completion of the specific concentration. The MDP is comprised of four sections: a description of the participant's current situation, their vision for their life and ministry following the program, the steps they propose to move in the direction of that vision during their program, and a listing of the helping as well as hindering forces.
Learning Groups - Each participant will become part of a small workgroup (3-7 individuals each of whom is part of the concentration cohort) that meets on a regular basis (as assigned-usually twice per year) to fulfill specific assignments. Workgroups provide a forum for participants to co-investigate principles of Christian ministry in a collegial, supportive environment. Meetings may be held by teleconference.
Context Support Groups - Each participant will select and invite 5-7 persons within their ministry context to serve on their context support group. These individuals meet as a group with the participant once each year of the program to provide encouragement and assessment of their growth (based on the participant's Ministry Development Plan) throughout the journey.
A Mentoring Relationship - Each participant will recruit a mentor suited to the Family Ministry concentration. Monthly contact with the mentor is to be initiated and scheduled by the participant. A report of the mentoring relationship will be submitted annually.
Professional Portfolio - Each participant will prepare a professional portfolio, a practical record demonstrating growth throughout the doctoral program as a family ministry professional. The completed portfolio will be presented at the end of the participant's program.
The Cohort Experience
The program is delivered in the cohort model, wherein participants proceed through the sequence of courses together. Study and learning are year-round, with pre-intensive, during-intensive, and post-intensive activities and experiences. Pre-intensive assignment preparation can begin as early as six months prior to an intensive. There are four annual teaching sessions presented by family ministry professionals. During the program, you will participate in regional workgroups, follow a ministry development plan, read and reflect on the best literature in your concentration area, and develop and evaluate a professional project within the context of your own congregational or other leadership responsibilities.
Cohorts are identified by the year in which they formed. For example, if you are a member of a cohort that formed in 2022, during the five-six years you expect to be in the program, the title of your group will be "the 2022 Family Ministry Cohort."
The Doctor of Ministry curriculum covers some of the areas involved in CFLE certification (Certified Family Life Educator) from the National Council on Family Relations. However, since it is a DMin program and many of the credits are taken up with theology and the project aspects, the family life education instruction is not structured to qualify as a CFLE-approved academic program. It would be reasonable to assume that participation in a cohort for the Family Ministry Concentration would help prepare CFLE applicants for the alternative application process—the CFLE exam.
The Family Ministries Department of the North American Division offers family ministry certification. Once again, the DMin Family Ministry curriculum does not offer a course in human growth and development, and the courses that are offered do not line up precisely with those listed for the NAD certification level II. So, with the exception of the human growth and development requirement (which will need to be acquired elsewhere), it can reasonably be assumed that the DMin Family Ministry curriculum will suffice for the minimum and elective academic content required for NAD certification level II.
1. DSLE 747 - Ministry to Families in Context
Provides an introduction to family ministry and the challenges of ministry to contemporary families based on an understanding of their religious, social, educational, occupational, and governmental/legal contexts. Marriage as the core social institution of the family will be emphasized as will current family and public policy.
2. GSEM 790 - DMin Project Seminar
Participants receive assistance in forming their DMin project proposal, and orientation to issues in the successful completion of the project. Areas of focus include a literature review, theological reflection, critical thinking, experiential learning, reflective observation, research design and techniques, reading and evaluating research, academic writing, development of an effective work plan for completion of the project, and other project-related topics.
3. GSEM 793 – Dmin Research Methods Seminar
Forming the action plan for successfully implementing and evaluating the DMin professional dissertation. Areas of focus include action research, research design and methods, descriptive statistics, methods of evaluating the project, IRB approval, and other project-related topics.
4. GSEM 706 - Spiritual and Theological Foundations for Ministry
This is a foundational module required of all DMin students. The module builds the spiritual and theological basis from which the practice of ministry and mission grows and seeks to lead the student into a self-reflection and examination of life and belief.
5. DSLE 748 - Family Dynamics and Sexuality
This module addresses ministry to families based on an understanding of family systems, the family life cycle, human relationship processes, and human sexuality.
6. DSLE 749 - Family as a Center for Discipleship
Considers the mission of the home to foster discipleship--within the marriage relationship and in the parenting of children, with the wider family circle of relatives, and with friends and neighbors in the community. Special emphasis will be placed on the dynamics of parent-child relationships and parenting responsibilities with a particular emphasis on transmitting a heritage of faith to the next generation.
7. DSLE 758 - Internal Dynamics of Families
A study of family-systems theory with applications to issues in internal family dynamics and in congregational dynamics as a family system.
8. GSEM 796 - DMin Professional Dissertation/Portfolio
The DMin professional dissertation/portfolio integrates theological reflection, scholarly research, and practical ministry. The professional dissertation/portfolio contributes to the enhancement of ministry and to the growth and development of the ministry professional. Students taking the Chaplaincy ACPE Certified Educator option must successfully complete the competency-based professional portfolio according to the guidelines outlined in the ACPE Certification Manual.
Contact the Coordinator
Dr. David Sedlacek serves as coordinator for the Family Ministry concentration. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Travel and lodging information is provided in the links under the "Intensive Location" column.
Cohorts are identified by the year in which they formed. Cohort participants will take these courses and modules:
2024 Family Ministry Cohort
Course requirements and schedule for the cohort beginning in 2024:
(follow the linked course/module names to obtain the course requirement documents)
“The DMin helps the pastor to hear the
voice of God in their ministry.”
speaking at the 2013 Doctor of Ministry Conference;
2011 DMin alumnus and now an adjunct professor for the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary