Program Description

Drew University is announcing an exciting new concentration in Practicing Mind-Body-Spirit-Healing for Congregations and Clergy (MBS). This concentration is founded upon two important notions: First, that healing and wholeness are communal processes which when put into practice create a pilgrimage that is its own destination; second, that clergy can never be healthier than their congregation, nor can congregations be healthier than their leadership. What this means is that to have healthy families, individuals, and clergy it is essential to develop healthy communities. The concentration takes for granted that causing students and their congregations to experience the practical application technique and theory toward building healthy communities starts the journey towards wholeness for pastors and their communities. This exercise will begin during the first semester when pastors and their congregations will experience together the building of community as they consider issues of suffering, trauma, and loss that accompanies contemporary modern life. Accordingly, this concentration will entail some small group experience and site visits to examine what creates healthy community. As part of the coursework in this concentration, students are expected to have leadership from their church or other ministry context participate in some portion of the classes.

We feel that the Practicing Mind-Body-Spirit-Healing for Congregations and Clergy concentration has relevance not only for traditional mainline denominational churches, but for immigrant and urban churches as well. In this concentration students will be taught theological reflection, prayer traditions, conflict mediation, small group development, community building, and psychological theory that will enable them as pastors and religious leaders to build stronger communities in many different contexts. We believe the learning processes in this format will not only provide healing for groups within the congregations and ministry settings of candidates, but will have enormous benefits for the wider community as well. A problem with traditional approaches to clergy health has always been that they attempt to instruct clergy to live healthily but without simultaneously transforming their congregations. We maintain that new wine must always be placed in new wine skins. This new Doctor of Ministry concentration is designed to produce just that in both student and setting.

The approach in the Practicing Mind-Body-Spirit-Healing for Congregations and Clergy concentration begins with the idea that health is a process, not a state of non-illness or disease. It presumes, therefore, that a healthy community considers conflict a normal part of existence, and that healthy community teaches people both how to forgive and to be reconciled with differences and loss. The approach found within this concentration also understands that communities must develop symbols and structures of meaning making that sustain them during times of crisis and trauma, including rituals for losing and incorporating new members. These and other skills will be taught in this exciting new Doctor of Ministry Concentration.

Practicing Mind-Body-Spirit-Healing for Congregations and Clergy Cohort Course Structure

  • First Year: Three on-campus semesters of study (Fall, JanTerm and Spring) followed by a three-week Summer Residency Intensive.
  • Second Year: A regional Colloquium (two days in September and again in October), a Professional Project executed at the ministry site, an April ministry site visit, a Report Back Session (Spring – One Full Day).
  • Third Year: Preliminary Project Report due (Fall – One Full Day). Writing a Doctoral Thesis, 70-90 pages, of publishable quality (Draft of Thesis Due February 1st), submission of the Final Draft for Faculty Review (March 15th), and an Exit Interview.

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Fall Term 2014

MBS  901/ Psychological and Biblical Metaphors of Personal and Congregational Growth: Learning to Travel Together (3) (Dr. Virginia Samuel, Dr. Althea Spencer-Miller)

This course is designed to help students become healthier in body, mind and spirit by combining explorations of biblical hermeneutics, psychological metaphors, and the ways students understand and utilize them both in their own lives and ministry. Readings have been selected that raise issues of biblical interpretation and current issues in clergy health in order to help students reflect on important issues of self-care and ministerial leadership and to learn how to better foster health congregations in the process. Offered as one-week intensive at Drew University. (Oct 2014)

Spring Term 2015

MBS 920/ Conflict , Anger, and Forgiveness: Working Through Loss and Difference (3) (Dr. Tim Barrett, Mary Barrett, MSW, LCSW)

 To explore the communal dynamics of conflict, anger and forgiveness asintegral to Christian faith and spiritual growth. Using insights from readings in biblical and theological theories of  community, readings from family systems theory and psychoanalysis,readings from theories of negotiation and conflict resolution, and group  discussions and experiences in class, this course seeks to create a theology of conflict and forgiveness as well as to understand pastoral skills for the creation of healing community.

MBS 911/ Spirituality of Joy (3) (Dr. Angella Son)

This course explores the theological and psychological analysis of joy and develops a spirituality of joy.  It surveys biblical understandings of joy, examines the theological insights on joy of John Wesley, Karl Barth, and Jurgen Moltmann, and investigates the psychological conception of joy by Heinz Kohut.  In addition, the course engages in self-reflections demonstrating a practice of a spirituality of joy.

 Summer Term 2015

Intensive two-week session on the Drew campus plus one-week at on campus or at a Drew extension site. Each student takes two courses at Drew campus and one elective option at Drew or an extension site.

DMIN 980 Theological Methods and Practice (3)
Building upon the understanding of ministry in the postmodern context, the class will introduce the student to relevant research methodologies and tools that may be employed in the Doctor of Ministry project. Students will engage in formulating their DMin project using their ministerial context. By first framing the project theologically, the students will then begin to conceptualize the components of the project that will enable them to address the project focus.

Elective Courses

Choose any two from among the Summer 2105 offerings.

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Project and Thesis Phase (Fall 2015 – Spring 2017)

This phase of the program consists of four semesters of project development and thesis writing. Students are required to select, train and work collaboratively with a Lay Advisory Team, who takes part in designing, executing and evaluating the project.

Fall 2015

DMIN 990 Project Colloquium (3)
Colloquium for processing project proposals with the goal of getting the prospectus approved before the end of the semester. Typically occurs in two 2-day sessions on campus or at an extension site; involves group process and individual academic advising.

Spring 2016

DMIN 991 Professional Project (3)
Project implementation with a one-day report back session.

Fall 2016

DMIN 992 Project and Thesis Research and Writing (3)
Continuation of work on project and thesis research and writing. Report back sessions are scheduled leading to approval of the first draft of the Thesis

Spring 2017

DMIN 993 Completion of Thesis and Exit Interview (3)
Work on writing the final draft of the paper and Exit Interview. Report back sessions are scheduled leading to approval of the thesis. Exit Interviews are required for all students.

May Graduation 2017

Core Faculty Include

  • Timothy Barrett, D.Min.
  • David Lawrence, D.Min.
  • Virginia Samuel, D.Min.
  • Angella Son, Phd.
  • Althea Spencer-Miller, Phd.

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Tuition and Other Costs

  • Currently $550 per credit hour or approximately $1,650/course
  • Estimated cost for text books and tools: $750
  • Reasonably priced dormitory style housing and meals at nearby retreat centers available for course meetings; facility usage fees
  • Travel and meals
  • Reasonably priced dormitory style housing for on campus summer session.

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To Apply Contact

Kevin Miller, Director of Theological Admissions

Application Deadline: July 1, 2014
Apply online at

For additional program information:

Dr. Carl Savage, Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program

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