Dr. William Donahue served in various pastoral roles in churches in Texas, Pennsylvania and Illinois, including 18 years with Willow Creek Community Church and the Willow Creek Association. While at Willow Creek he developed leadership strategies and events for over 10,000 leaders on 6 continents.  He is also Founder and President of The LeaderSync Group, Inc., a leadership development and consulting organization. His areas of expertise include organizational strategy, team building, leadership development, and transformational community.  He has published over 20 books and leadership training resources, including the best-selling Leading Life-changing Small Groups, Coaching Life-Changing Leaders (with Greg Bowman),Building a Life-Changing Small Group Ministry (with Russ Robinson), the DVD series Making Small Groups Work (with Henry Cloud & John Townsend), Building Biblical Community (with Steve Gladen), In the Company of Jesus, the Jesus 101 Series, and The Irresistible Community: An Invitaiton to Life Together.

Purpose of the DMin Program

The mission of the DMin program is: The TEDS DMin program serves the church of the Living God by strengthening the professional competence of persons in ministerial leadership through integration of advanced theory with contemporary practice.

The Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program is a professional program intended for persons who are in full-time vocational Christian ministry, such as pastors, associate pastors, chaplains, Christian educators, missionaries, workers in parachurch organizations, and evangelists, both domestic and international. The DMin program is designed to enhance professional competence in ministry and therefore includes both research and practice in its purposes. In addition, Trinity is committed to maintaining high academic standards and a sound theological and biblical base for the practice of ministry.

The DMin program is designed as an in-service program enabling students to complete the degree while remaining in full-time ministry.

Program Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to strengthen their abilities to assess and improve their own ministerial capabilities and competence.
  2. Students will be able to sharpen their skills in integrating biblical/theological foundations, social science research, and contemporary ministry strategies into the practice of Christian ministry.
  3. Students will be able to research and write in a manner that responsibly contributes to field-based research related to ministry.
  4. Students will be able to foster their growth spiritually and relationally.

DMin Elective Concentrations

Pastoral Ministries (PM) is the general category that allows students to select core courses from any of the PR, PC, or LM concentrations.

Preaching (PR) emphasizes the proclamation of God’s Word—exegetically sound, spirit-empowered, and culturally relevant. Suitable for anyone whose role is primarily proclamation.

Pastoral Care (PC) emphasizes the relational side of ministry—family life, crisis intervention, bioethics, and spiritual formation. It is suitable for church staff, counseling center staff, or medical chaplains.

Leadership and Ministry Management (LM) emphasizes developing capabilities necessary to lead and organize ministry in areas of change, conflict, vision, core values, and motivation. It is suitable for various pastoral roles and those serving in ministry or missions organizational leadership.

Missions and Evangelism (ME) emphasizes issues related to Christian mission—worldview, cross-cultural ministry, church planting, and the urban context. It is suitable for missionaries, church planters, parachurch staff, and others in evangelistic ministry.

Military Chaplaincy (MC) is a special cooperative concentration between TEDS and the branches of the U.S. Military designed for currently serving career military chaplains who wish to focus on the chaplaincy in their program. Detailed information regarding this concentration is available from the Admissions Office.

DMin Affinity Cohorts

Beginning in 2015, TEDS plans to offer a modified cohort approach to DMin education based on ministry affinity, in addition to our elective concentrations. These cohorts will require that half the program be taken with others who are all in very similar ministry settings.  The cohort schedule and course content will be pre-defined. The remainder of the coursework will be taken from regular required and elective offerings. Cohorts are currently anticipated for mega-church senior pastors and health care chaplains.

Nature of the DMin Program

Since the DMin is not designed to be a residential program, all classes are offered in one-week intensive class sessions. Each year classes are held on the Deerfield Campus in March, July, and November. Affinity Cohort classes may be held at other times and in other locales. These classes are preceded by personal study and followed by a project that applies course materials to the student’s ministry. Exceptions to the nonresidential nature of the program are occasionally made that allow for coursework taken during the normal academic year. In these exceptional cases, students can utilize doctoral courses available in the PhD ICS or EDS curricula in addition to the regular DMin curriculum.

DMin Admissions

Trinity’s professional doctoral program is for students who have already completed a Master of Divinity degree or other acceptable masters level qualifications, have a minimum of three years’ full-time ministry experience following completion of the MDiv, and wish to pursue advanced studies in their field of interest.

Application Deadlines and Review Dates

Doctor of Ministry (DMin) applications are reviewed three times per year, corresponding to the three periods in which courses are offered (fall, spring, summer). In each case, a completed application file is required before final action is taken to admit a student to a doctoral program. DMin students may begin their studies during any of the three sessions. Deadlines for receipt of completed application files are:

Program Application Deadline
Fall AdmissionJune 15
Spring AdmissionOctober 15
Summer AdmissionFebruary 15

Application files completed after the deadline will be postponed for review until the next review date.

The application review process begins immediately after the deadline and normally takes three weeks. Subsequent to the review process, applicants are notified by letter of acceptance or denial of admission. Participation in the month-long online program orientation module is then required prior to registration for regular courses.

Application Procedures

In addition to the application form, credentials that are required of all doctoral applicants are outlined in the application instructions in the back of this catalog.

The Admissions Committee may grant admission on the basis of the required credentials alone, or it may request the applicant to submit additional materials. If admitted, the new doctoral student is required to submit a nonrefundable tuition deposit to confirm acceptance of admission.

If the Admissions Committee denies an applicant admission, the applicant may send a letter of appeal to the Admissions Office, which must be received no later than ninety days following the date of the Admissions Committee decision.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the DMin program are required to

  1. Possess a Master of Divinity degree or other acceptable masters level qualifications from an accredited school that maintains academic standards similar to those of Trinity. (Other acceptable masters level qualifications are defined as an earned ministry or theology related masters degree , including at least 74 semester hours of graduate study in areas closely parallel to Trinity’s MDiv curriculum. Specifically, this should include 12 semester hours of Old Testament, 12 semester hours of New Testament, 12 semester hours of Systematic Theology, 3 semester hours of Church History, and 35 semester hours of free electives. On rare occasions, credit may be given for distinguished teaching experience. Students who lack a limited number of these prerequisites may be admitted with a deficiency that must be removed through appropriate master’s coursework taken at or through an accredited seminary before enrolling in the fifth DMin course.)
  2. Have earned a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) for all master’s work.
  3. Have had at least three years of consistent full-time ministry experience after receiving the Master of Divinity degree or its equivalent. Exceptions may occasionally be made on the basis of extensive ministry experience prior to receiving the MDiv degree. Such exceptions are normally considered on the basis of three years full-time experience prior to the MDiv as equivalent to one year of post MDiv full-time experience.
  4. Take the Miller Analogies Test. (The MAT may be waived for those who have achieved an exemplary grade point average in their Master of Divinity program at an accredited seminary.)
  5. Have prerequisite study equivalent to 9 semester hours of graduate courses appropriate to the concentration or cohort selected.
  6. Meet, if an international student, the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services regulations in obtaining an F-1 (student) visa. This requires additional admissions information and paperwork. International applicants whose first language is not English must also submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
  7. Since the program is heavily dependent on computer skills, applicants should be able to use a current word processing program such as WordPerfect or Word. Ownership of a desktop or laptop computer is required, along with Internet and e-mail capabilities.

Special Instructions for International Applicants

All international DMin program students, including Visiting DMin students and students from Canada, are now required to enter the United States with an F-1 visa. DMin residential students (i.e. living in or near Deerfield and taking semester-length courses) must comply with the same visa requirements as other program residential applicants (see Admissions section).

DMin nonresidential students (i.e., commuting to the Deerfield Campus on a course-by-course basis) must also obtain an F-1 visa. Students who enter the United States to pursue the Doctor of Ministry degree without the F-1 visa potentially jeopardize their ability to complete the degree and reenter the United States. F-1 visas will remain valid as long as reentry into the United States for the purposes of study occurs at least once every five (5) months. A new visa will be required if reentry does not occur within this time period.  Hence, full-time progress for DMin international nonresidential students is defined as taking at least one course in each of the three sessions (Fall, Spring, Summer) per year.

DMin Candidacy Requirements

Admission to the DMin program does not guarantee acceptance into candidacy for the degree. Candidacy will be granted when the student has demonstrated ability to complete all degree requirements as evidenced by the following:

  1. All prerequisite deficiencies (if any) have been removed.
  2. Twenty-seven semester hours of coursework, including MN 9550 or MN 9555 (for Missions and Evangelism students), have been completed with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
  3. The student’s proposal for the DMin major project has been approved by the Human Rights in Research Committee, the Project Committee, and the Program Director.
  4. The student has demonstrated writing skills appropriate to doctoral work and to the successful completion of the major project.
  5. The student has demonstrated proficiency in the integration of course work and ministry.

DMin Graduation Requirements

The following general graduation requirements apply to all Doctor of Ministry students of Trinity:

  1. Evidence of a working knowledge of the content of the English Bible.
  2. Evidence of Christian life and character and recommendation accordingly by the faculty. All students are expected to give evidence of a consistent Christian testimony, a concern for others, and a sincere commitment to Christ such as to qualify for Christian service. The attitudes manifest to other students, professors, and others are to be such as to commend the gospel, strengthen the church, and honor the Lord.

The following 36 semester hours of work are required of those planning to receive the DMin degree:

  1. The completion of at least 30 semester hours of credit in doctoral courses, with a minimum cumulative grade point average for program course work of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). No more than 9 semester hours of credit may be derived from Guided Research and transfer from other DMin programs.
  2. The completion of the DMin major project, including successful oral defense. Major project research constitutes six hours of credit. All requirements for the degree must be completed within six years from the time of matriculation. If requested, eleven years may be allowed for those serving in overseas assignments. If degree requirements are not completed within the allowed time limits in effect at matriculation, an extension may be requested through the program director. A continuation fee will be charged for each six-month period in which the degree requirements remain incomplete. Continuation fees may be waived at the recommendation of the Professional Doctoral Committee in extenuating circumstances.
  • A student who fails to pay the continuation fee must do the following:
    1. Write for reinstatement to the Doctor of Ministry Office
    2. Pay the fee for the time of absence from the program
    3. Resubmit application for the major project topic if such had previously been approved
    4. Apply to the Professional Doctoral Committee for an extension of time to complete the program, giving a new target date for graduation

Course Requirements

Each doctoral course consists of three parts:

  1. About three months prior to each class period, the student is provided with information on forthcoming classes, including a list of required reading and written work for each course. All precourse assignments are to be completed before the class sessions begin. The professor will ask for an accounting of the completion of the assignments, and failure to complete them prior to the first class session may result in a grade reduction for the course.
  2. The second part of each course is the class week of interaction with the professor and other students. Twenty-eight clock hours of class time are involved, usually running from Monday through Thursday. Generally, there will be few out-of-class assignments during this week.
  3. The third part of the course requirements is a project based on the reading and class work to be completed after the class sessions. The project will require students to integrate the course content with their own ministry. The integration factor in ministry is viewed as the most crucial phase of the student’s course work.

Major Project

The culmination of the DMin program is a major project. This major project is intended to help students think theologically about ministry by requiring them to apply new concepts and methods to their ministries. The proposal for the project must be formally approved by the Human Rights in Research Committee, two faculty readers, and the program director. One faculty reader will be designated as mentor/first reader to the student for the duration of the project. The major project must be on a topic appropriate to the student’s concentration.

Elective Concentration Curriculum

In addition to the online program orientation module (MN 9500), each student is required to complete 36 semester hours of work as follows:

Core Courses
Select one of the following:3
Revitalizing Ministry for the Twenty-First Century Church 1
Prolegomena for Twenty-First Century Missions & Evangelism 1
Systematic Theology, New Testament, & Old Testament Integrative Courses (BT)6
MN 9990Ministry & Missions Research Methods3
Concentration Courses
Select four courses in one area of concentration: Preaching, Leadership and Ministry Management, Pastoral Care, or Missions and Evangelism 212
Select 6 hours of electives6
Major Project
MN 9991Major Project Research (twice at 3 hours each)6
Total Hours36

Must be taken as one of first three courses


Those in the general Pastoral Ministries category may select any combination of courses from the PR, LM, or PC areas.

Affinity Cohort Curriculum

In addition to the online program orientation module (MN 9500), each student is required to complete 36 semester hours of work as follows:

Core Courses
MN 9550Revitalizing Ministry for the Twenty-First Century Church 13
Systematic Theology, New Testament, & Old Testament Integrative Courses (BT)6
MN 9990Ministry & Missions Research Methods3
Cohort Courses
Select 15 hours of cohort courses 215
Select 3 hours of electives3
Major Project
MN 9991Major Project Research (twice at 3 hours each)6
Total Hours36

Must be taken as one of first three courses


Predefined schedule of courses varies by cohort

Elective Concentration Course Offerings

Trinity provides significant breadth in the subjects offered in the Doctor of Ministry program. The current course list includes the following:


All courses are 3 hours credit, except MN 9992, which is 0 hours for major project continuation.

Required core and Research courses (MN 9550, MN 9555, MN 9990) are offered annually.

Guided Research and ME/ES cross-listed courses are offered as individually requested.

Remaining courses are offered on an approximate three-year rotating basis.

Students in the general Pastoral Ministries category can select concentration courses from any of PR, LM, or PC.


MN 9101Preaching Guided Research3
MN 9110Great Preachers & Preaching in History3
MN 9115Increasing Clarity & Relevancein Preaching3
MN 9120Fresh Directions in Biblical Preaching3
MN 9125Preaching Biblical Narratives3
MN 9130Hermeneutics and Homiletics (xBT)3
MN 9135Advanced Expository Preaching3
MN 9140Symposium on Dynamics of Effective Preaching3
MN 9145Christ-centered Preaching3
MN 9160Current Studies in Preaching3

Leadership & Ministry Management (LM)

MN 9201Leadership & Ministry Management Guided Research3
MN 9210Change & Conflict Management3
MN 9212The Contagious Congregation3
MN 9214Equipping and Team-Building3
MN 9216Advanced Strategic Planning3
MN 9220Theology of Leadership (xBT)3
MN 9224Leadership for Large Churches3
MN 9226Leadership as Coaching/Mentoring3
MN 9228Creativity & Innovation in Ministry Leadership3
MN 9230Turn-around Churches:Principles and Practices3
MN 9260Current Studies in Leadership & Ministry Management3
MN 9280Missions & Evangelism Course:3
MN 9285Educational Studies Course:1-3

Pastoral Care (PC)

MN 9301Pastoral Care Guided Research3
MN 9312Discipleship in Church and Home3
MN 9314Theology & Practice in Spiritual Formation3
MN 9316Teaching for Spiritual Growth3
MN 9318Theology & Ministry of Prayer (xBT)3
MN 9320Coping with Stress in Ministry3
MN 9322Marriage and Family Ministry3
MN 9324Building a Church through Small Groups3
MN 9340Current Studies in Pastoral Counseling3
MN 9350Current Studies in Bioethicsfor the Chaplaincy3
MN 9360Current Studies in Pastoral Care3
MN 9380Missions & Evangelism Course:3
MN 9385Education Studies Course:1-3

Missions and Evangelism (ME)

MN 9401Missions & Evangelism Guided Research3
MN 9410Multi-Ethnic Ministry3
MN 9412Planting Churches in America and Overseas3
MN 9414Worldview and Evangelism3
MN 9416Gospel, Mission, and Roman Catholicism3
MN 9418Theology and Practice of Evangelism3
MN 9420Encounter with Eastern Religions3
MN 9422Encounter with Folk Religions3
MN 9424Encounter with Islam3
MN 9426The Church in Cultural Context3
MN 9428Leadership Development Across Cultures (xLM)3
MN 9430Symposium in Missions Leadership3
MN 9460Current Studies in Missions & Evangelism3
MN 9480Missions & Evangelism Course:3
MN 9485Educational Studies Course:3

Core Requirements

MN 9500New Student Online Orientation0
MN 9550Revitalizing Ministry for the Twenty-First Century Church3
MN 9555Prolegomena for Twenty-First Century Missions & Evangelism3

Biblical & Theological Integration (BT)

MN 9801Biblical & Theological Interpetation Guided Research3
MN 9812Themes in the Pentateuch3
MN 9814Teaching from Joshua3
MN 9816Teaching from Judges3
MN 9818Living Psalms: Perspectives, Praise, and Preaching3
MN 9820Proverbs for the Life of the Believer3
MN 9822Isaiah: Foundations for Theology and Ministry3
MN 9824Missions in the Old Testament (xME)3
MN 9830Making Romans Relevant3
MN 9832Prison Epistles3
MN 9834Ministry According to the Pastoral Epistles3
MN 9836Epistle to the Hebrews3
MN 9838The Book of Revelation in the Life of the Church3
MN 9840Missions in the New Testament (xME)3
MN 9844Models of Divine Providence3
MN 9846Models of Sanctification in Ministry3
MN 9848Post-Modernism and Implications for Ministry3
MN 9850Destiny of the Unevangelized (xME)3
MN 9852The Gospel and Contemporary Cultural Expressions (xME)3
MN 9854History of Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism3
MN 9856Theology & Ministry of Jonathan Edwards3
MN 9858Revivals and Revivalism3
MN 9860Current Studies Bible & Theology3
MN 9880Missions and Evangelism Course3
MN 9885Educational Studies Course3

Major Project

MN 9990Ministry & Missions Research Methods (all concentrations)3
MN 9991Major Project Research (repeated 2x, CR/NC)3
MN 9992Major Project Extension (repeatable, NC)0