D.Min. and M.Div. Redefined

Change that sustains

As the church evolves, SFTS looks ahead

Change is increasingly visible throughout the church, and ministry is evolving to meet those challenges. “The seminary is reconceiving, researching, and developing relationships in order to best serve the new generation of D.Min. students,” said Rev. Dr. Virstan Choy. “We are committed to teaching students from new generations and from other faith traditions. Just as we are encouraging our students to find new ways of ministry, the Seminary is researching innovative ways to teach.”

One of those ways is by shifting perspective on the D.Min. program. Typically, its focus has been on academic training for individuals who want to enhance their ministry skills. With today’s evolving spiritual environment, SFTS is reaching out to supporters and potential students who view SFTS more as a place where they can explore new ways to create lasting change, a type of research and development laboratory. “Our students come here to study and work on projects and experiments, not for themselves only, but for new understandings, approaches, and tools that can be useful to others engaged in the practice of ministry,” said Choy.

It stands to reason that an innovative program would also hold a new approach to the culminating project—the dissertation. SFTS has redefined the parameters of the traditional 200-page written document by including the use of digital media when appropriate.

Fostering Innovation within Community

The SFTS M.Div. program gives students a palette of study

San Francisco Theological Seminary’s M.Div. program underwent an evaluation during the 2013-2014 academic year, resulting in a newly-structured course of study that integrates disciplines, faculty, styles, and students. Online classes, the tutorial format, and Interdisciplinary Lectures were designed to create a multi-faceted learning experience that grounds students in theology while giving them the latitude to express their Christianity though their unique gifts.

Finding a voice

Chaplain and D.Min. student Silvana Krogsrud started a writing group to give voice to students stuck in a detention system than renders them voiceless. Part of her dissertation will include voices of youths in the system.

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Walk of Faith

Using the power of nature to teach and inspire provides the framework for D.Min. student Rob McClellan’s approach to ministering. His dissertation will be on the pilgrimage as authentic spiritual practice.

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Talking to the heart

D.Min. student Rabbi Mona Decker works with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients using what’s at hand—symbols that are spiritually based, scenes of home or places of meaning, or pictures of family and friends—she finds a way to comfort those who aren’t able to ask for what they need. For her dissertation, Decker will hold focus groups, interviews, and teaching sessions with hospice chaplains to explore the different tools of spiritual care.

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