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Virginia Theological Seminary Launches New Christian Formation Track for Doctoral Programs

The new track is aimed at Christian educators working in judicatory roles, congregations, camp and conference centers, and resource development organizations.

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Dec 5, 2023 – Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) has launched a new Christian Formation track for its popular Doctoral programs.

The new track focuses on the ministry of Christian education and formation across the Church, and is a professional degree designed to equip individuals to teach and transmit the Christian faith in the community. It is aimed at Christian educators working in congregations, schools, camp and conference centers, chaplaincies, and resource development organizations.

The Christian Formation doctoral track was launched to address a gap in the seminary landscape for experienced lay leaders seeking education applicable to their field and vocation at a doctoral level. It is being offered through both the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) and Doctor of Educational Ministry (DEdMin) programs.

Lisa Kimball, Ph.D., James Maxwell Professor of Lifelong Christian Formation at VTS, said: “Now Christian camp directors, professional youth ministers, diocesan and congregational Christian formation leaders and so many other gifted lay professionals will have a doctoral program designed just for them. It also provides the means for the wisdom of seasoned practitioners to be captured through theological education to contribute to contemporary scholarship.”

The new track sits alongside VTS’ existing DMin and DEdMin tracks in Ministry Development, Educational Leadership and Christian Spirituality. All of VTS’ Doctoral programs use hybrid pedagogies that combine online courses and seminars with summer residencies. The programs are divided into two parts, a coursework phase, which takes between three and four years to complete, and a writing stage, during which students have between one and six years to complete a thesis.

During the coursework phase, students study a range of core areas including learning theory and educational design, the philosophy of education, sacred texts and education, and moral and ethical leadership. They can also choose from electives covering preaching, pedagogy and curriculum, information technology in the classroom or chapel, and human emotion and ministry.

The DMin is aimed at students with a Master of Divinity degree and three to five years’ experience in ministry, while the DEdMin is aimed at students with a master’s degree in a discipline related to educational ministry, as well as three to five years’ experience in a relevant field.

VTS doctoral programs recognize that the students are already experts in their fields, with significant experience, and that they can help each other by sharing this experience. As such, the case study component of the program uses an action-reflection model of learning, under which students reflect on their own actions in real life situations and learn from them in order to be better or more informed practitioners when encountering similar situations in the future.

Source: Virginia Theological Seminary