Doctor of Ministry in Leadership (DMin)

Our Doctor of Ministry in Leadership (DMin) provides you with the opportunity to strengthen your leadership via an Anabaptist framework.

This advanced, professionally oriented 32-credit-hour degree is designed to meet your needs as a mid-career pastor or leader. In our DMin program, you’ll join other highly motivated and experienced practitioners, from diverse faith traditions, to increase your leadership capacity, adaptability and resilience.

You’ll find our Doctor of Ministry program will prepare you for religious leadership in many settings, including appropriate teaching roles.

Developed from an Anabaptist perspective

Our new DMin is the only Doctor of Ministry degree available in the United States to be deliberately developed from an Anabaptist perspective.

In our program, you will engage in doctoral studies while based in your professional ministry or leadership context. Our carefully crafted curriculum will provide you with a cohort of peer learners, regular faculty interaction and an advisory ministry group. While studying, you will attend a week of residency on campus every January for three years.

The DMin degree is open to U.S. residents or those with a U.S. passport who can travel to the required weeklong residencies on the AMBS campus without a visa. Learn more about admissions requirements and other frequently asked questions.

Learn through competency-based education!

Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary offers our DMin program in a competency-based approach. Competency-based education is an integrative model that merges highly defined learning outcomes with flexible learning plans designed to align with your individual goals.

Through our competency-based approach, our DMin program will help you develop a robust knowledge base and improve your reflective-practitioner skills.

Ultimately, this program develops integrated expertise in five key competencies:

  • Anabaptist Leadership
  • Intercultural Leadership
  • Teaching Leadership
  • Change Leadership
  • Resilient Leadership 

Designed in consultation with pastors and church leaders

The Doctor of Ministry program’s design and focus emerged from consultations with pastors and leaders who identified resonance between Anabaptist values and leadership needs present in the church today.

“It’s become clear in recent years through conversations with pastors and leaders and in our strategic planning work that now is an opportune time to add the DMin to our educational offerings,” said Beverly Lapp, EdD, Vice President and Academic Dean. 

Guided by experienced Program Co-Directors

(l. to r.) AMBS Doctor of Ministry Program Co-Directors Dan Schrock, DMin, and Jewel Gingerich Longenecker, PhD
(l. to r.) AMBS Doctor of Ministry Program Co-Directors Dan Schrock, DMin, and Jewel Gingerich Longenecker, PhD (Credit: Rachel A. Fonseca)

Dan Schrock, DMin, and Jewel Gingerich Longenecker, PhD (MA 1992), serve as your DMin Program Co-Directors. They oversee the program’s faculty and curriculum and guide student advisory groups and doctoral research project committees.

Here’s a little more about why they stepped up to serve:

Dan: “This degree comes at a tender time in the life of the church, when what often worked well in the past will probably not work so well in the future. We are looking for fresh expressions of church life that engage the realities of our time. For such a time as this, we need leaders who have a higher degree of competence.”

Jewel: “It felt natural and right to say ‘yes’ once I learned that Dan would be Co-Director. With his extensive experience in pastoral ministry, spiritual direction for leaders, and seminary teaching, I felt that my background in competency-based education, leadership theory, and administration of Lifelong Learning programs could be a helpful complement in the startup phase for this new degree.” 

Review an overview of our Doctor of Ministry curriculum

The 32-credit degree is meant to be completed in three years, with these primary components:

Core Leadership Courses (include on-campus intensive week)

Each of these three 3-credit hour classes will meet on the AMBS campus for a week of intensive residency in January with online work for the remainder of the term (9 credits).

Core Leadership Courses include:

Year One: Leadership Foundations: Knowing, Being, Doing

An introduction to competency-based education, primary resources in leadership studies, and the process of developing an individualized competency development plan.

Year Two: Christian Leadership Theory

An exploration of leadership as an academic discipline, with a focus on integrating leadership theories with biblical and Anabaptist theological themes and commitments.

Year Three: Leadership in Context

A research methods course that will prepare and guide you towards the completion of your research project proposals.

Competency development plan

From their competency-development plan completed during the Leadership Foundations course, each student will design an individual plan of study to develop and demonstrate mastery for each competency, each as a distinct 3-credit directed study course overseen by a faculty of record. (15 credits)

Doctoral project

Following approval of their proposal developed during the Leadership in Context course, doctoral students will research, write, and defend a project that focuses on a specific professional context towards generating new knowledge on the professional practice of ministry. (7 credits)

Leadership portfolio

The leadership portfolio and reflection will synthesize learnings from the core courses, competencies and research project. This will be presented and evaluated as the final requirement of the degree. (1 credit)

We provide a professional degree and we're ready to welcome you.

Ready to take the next step?

We’re excited to walk alongside you as you take each step on your journey. Together we can experience the transformative presence of God in the work of being leaders for God’s reconciling mission in the world.

About the application deadline

Application materials, including the application fee, are due Sept. 15 for the cohort that begins in January. Apply now.

Admissions decisions will be communicated by Oct. 15.

Financing the degree

Responsibility for meeting the costs of this program belongs to the student, the congregation or agency served, and the denomination of which the student is a member. Continuing education funds, congregational or agency grants, and local, regional, and national denominational scholarship programs are all sources of funds.

Based on AMBS’s low tuition cost ($555 per credit in 2022-23), the total tuition cost of the Doctor of Ministry degree will be approximately $18,000 with additional expenses for travel and other fees. Doctoral students will pay by the credit hour as they enroll in courses, and can expect to pay approximately $2,000 three times per year for tuition. AMBS scholarships and financial aid are not available for the Doctor of Ministry program.

AMBS offers students a wide variety of flexible payment plans, including monthly, no-fee payments. Title IV federal loans will be available for this program for any semester that students enroll in at least 4.5 credits per term.

Apply now

To complete this application successfully, you will want to prepare the following:

  • Contact information for three professional references who are highly familiar with your leadership gifts, academic abilities, theological understanding and self-initiative:
    • an employer reference (e.g. current supervisor, board chair)
    • pastoral reference (e.g. pastoral colleague, conference minister, congregational coach)
    • an academic reference (e.g. professor, academic advisor) from the institution of your last degree
  • Information about previous degrees (transcripts will also be requested).
  • A resume, CV or other document summarizing relevant experiences to this program.
  • An essay.
  • A writing sample demonstrating your academic abilities.

Application materials are available online.

Frequently asked questions

How is Competency-Based Education (CBE) different from other methods?

Competency-based education is an integrative model that merges highly defined learning outcomes with highly flexible learning plans designed to align with the goals of each student. The US Department of Education recognizes two types of CBE programs: (1) course-based programs; and (2) direct assessment programs.

The AMBS DMin is a “course-based” CBE program with three primary parts of the curriculum, each met through distinct credit hours: a set of three core courses, an individual leadership development plan (IDLP) with learning activities designed to develop mastery of each competency, and a doctoral research project.

What are the admission requirements?
  1. MDiv with a minimum GPA of 3.0, as evidenced by an official transcript; or MA in a theological discipline with a minimum GPA of 3.0, as evidenced by an official transcript, with credentials for ministry.
  2. Significant ministry and/or relevant leadership experience since completion of the MDiv/MA; for more information see the point, “How does AMBS define ‘significant ministry and/or relevant leadership experience’?”
  3. An essay in which the applicant will explain their interest in studying leadership in an Anabaptist context, and reflect on why the five leadership competencies (Anabaptist, intercultural, teaching, change, and resilient) are relevant to their ministry and leadership development.
  4. Three professional references who are familiar with the applicant’s leadership gifts, academic abilities, theological understanding, and self-initiative.
  5. Writing sample representing academic capabilities.
  6. Application fee ($100).
Why can’t international students without a U.S. passport apply?

At this point in time, and since this program is so new, AMBS does not have approval from the U.S. government to bring students to campus on F-1 student visas. We hope to secure this approval for future cohorts.

I’m in the U.S. on a different non-immigrant visa (other than F-1). Can I apply?

It depends on the visa type. Different non-immigration visas have different allowances for whether or not the individual (or their spouse) can study towards a degree while on that visa, and if so, whether they can study full- or part-time.

How does AMBS define “MA in a theological discipline”?

Theological disciplines include ministry studies, church history, theological studies, faith-based peace studies, chaplaincy, faith formation, Christian spirituality, mission/missiology, biblical studies and Christian leadership.

How does AMBS define “significant ministry and/or relevant leadership experience”?

A minimum of three years of full-time equivalent ministry and/or relevant experience following the awarding of the MDiv, or a minimum of six years of full-time equivalent ministry and/or relevant leadership experience following the awarding of the MA in a theological discipline.

Ministry and/or relevant leadership experience may include:

  • Pastoral role(s)
  • Church agency or faith-based non-profit leadership
  • Spiritual direction practice
  • Faith-based counseling practice
  • Teaching in a Christian education context
  • Faith-based relief/development or missions work
What are the parameters for the expected current ministry/leadership context?

Examples of current work contexts that will align well with DMin studies at AMBS may include:

  • Pastoral role(s)
  • Church agency or faith-based non-profit leadership
  • Spiritual direction practice
  • Faith-based counseling practice
  • Teaching in a Christian education context
  • Faith-based relief/development or missions work

Other current contexts are possible, with strong articulation from the applicant for why their current ministry/leadership context is relevant to the educational outcomes of the degree.

How can the DMin degree benefit congregations?

When someone completes a master’s degree at seminary, they have a solid foundation for beginning work in credentialed ministry. But as time goes on, astute people in congregational life realize that what their pastor learned about leadership long ago, sometimes decades ago, no longer works as well in a rapidly changing context. To continue being effective, their pastor needs further education.

Graduates of the DMin in Leadership will help their congregation (or other organization) to:

  • Be more resilient when unforeseen events happen
  • Adapt to intercultural relationships
  • Use thoughtful processes to navigate changes the church wants or needs to make
  • Deepen the church’s biblical and theological insights
  • Strengthen its Anabaptist identity

In addition, the church benefits from having leaders who have fresh ideas and new enthusiasm for congregational life.

Why is AMBS not giving need-based financial aid or scholarships for the DMin?

To prioritize increasing access for more people to prepare theologically for pastoral and other ministry roles, AMBS offers substantial financial support to the MA and MDiv level of study, which are considerably more expensive than the DMin degree. The DMin is intended for more established ministry and leadership practitioners who are more likely to have access to other avenues of support, including work-funded professional development resources.

How can I best financially plan for this investment in my education?

Interested students are encouraged to assess the following:

  • Your own budget for managing three tuition payments of approximately $2000 each, and travel expenses for one week on campus, every year for three years; and/or
  • The level of congregational or professional development support you can expect.

Also, explore the availability of grants and/or scholarships that may be available from entities that are motivated to strengthen leadership for the church. These could include denomination, conference and mission agency leadership development funds, as well as individual donors. 

Consider your capacity to responsibly use federal or other loans, keeping in mind that the total cost of this program is relatively low for doctoral studies.

Are AMBS employees eligible to be DMin students? Is the employee discount available for the DMin?

AMBS employees and spouses have access to tuition discounts for courses serving the MDiv and MA degrees. This tuition discount is not available for the DMin. 

To ensure adequate space for other students, there will be a limit of up to one AMBS employee per cohort.

What is the application deadline?

Application materials are available online. Apply now.

Application materials, including the application fee, are due Sept. 15 for the cohort that begins in January.

Admissions decisions will be communicated by Oct. 15.

Meet the AMBS Admissions Team

From your first inquiry about seminary study to your transition from applicant to student, we’re here to help you.

Photo of Janeen Bertsche Johnson
Janeen Bertsche Johnson, MDiv
Admissions Associate
Teresa Thompson Sherrill
Teresa Thompson Sherrill, MDiv
Enrollment & Financial Aid Specialist
Paul Keim, PhD
Student Services Coordinator
Mary Ann Weber, MA
Director of Enrollment

Why seminary?

Students and faculty share why and how they discerned attending their AMBS program

“Enthusiasm has grown among the faculty for how a professional doctorate in a competency-based design aligns with AMBS’s educational mission to strengthen and build capacity for leadership of thriving communities of faith and action.”

Beverly Lapp, EdD, Vice President and Academic Dean

Looking for something else?

Try an upcoming graduate course

Want to explore seminary study? Take an upcoming graduate course! 

If you’re a non-admitted student, you can even get 50% off your first three credits at AMBS!*Exceptions apply

Try an online short course

Looking to expand your theological knowledge?

Take one of our six-week, discussion-based, online short courses.

(No papers. No grades.)

Request a visit from an AMBS instructor

Invite the faculty and staff of AMBS to come directly to you either in person or over video conference.