Ministry and Leadership Program

Doctor of Ministry in Relational Leadership

Objectives and Outcomes


The Doctor of Ministry in Relational Leadership is a practice-oriented professional degree for pastors and ministry leaders that cultivates a “way of being” for spiritual formation. The program emphasizes relational ministry development. It is designed to facilitate spiritual renewal and to stimulate increasingly effective ministry in the Church and contemporary world.

Program Road Map



About Us

Looking for a program focused on relational development in all levels of leadership in and outside of ministry?

Participants are challenged to refine and enhance their ministerial skills. Starting with a solid theological foundation, participants build a relational approach to ministry leadership that focuses on being rather than on doing. Practical applications of a relational paradigm to ministry and leadership are explored throughout the program and in the professional ministry research project.

In addition, participants analyze, reflect, discuss, and implement practical ministry initiatives through interaction with a cohort and faculty mentors.

Admission Requirements

Doctor of Ministry Program Prerequisites

  • First-professional theological degree (Master of Divinity or equivalent*) from an accredited institution
  • Grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on all graduate-level work
  • Applicants who are not native English language speakers must demonstrate English proficiency
  • Three years of ministry experience

Doctor of Ministry Program Requirements 

Applicants must submit the following:

  • Completed application form
  • Two recommendations from:
    • Ministry supervisor or overseeing pastor (if the applicant has one)
    • Ministry peer or knowledgeable lay leader
  • Official transcripts for all graduate/seminary work to date
  • A biographical statement (a minimum of 500 words) that includes the following: 
    • The applicant’s name, mailing address, and email address
    • The applicant’s call to the ministry
    • How that call has been expressed to the present
    • Why the applicant desires to pursue the Doctor of Ministry degree at Shiloh University
  • A copy of a government-issued photo identification card

*Master of Divinity Equivalency

For admission into the Doctor of Ministry program, Master of Divinity equivalency is considered three years of post-baccalaureate study comparable to an M.Div. degree which must include:

  1. An earned master’s degree in the area of biblical or ministerial studies or related field,
  2. at least 72 semester units of study, and
  3. a balance of biblical, theological, and ministerial disciplines

If the applicant earned a master’s degree in the area of biblical or ministerial studies and has completed at least 62 semester units, he or she may qualify for Concurrent Admission to the Doctor of Ministry program. Concurrent admission students must complete the remaining graduate semester units before being granted candidacy status in the Doctor of Ministry program.


Applicants who have earned less than 62 semester units are encouraged to discuss their options with the Admissions Office to either earn a Master of Divinity with Shiloh University or take graduate coursework with the University in order to earn M.Div. Equivalency.


Doctor of Ministry in Relational Leadership:
(Total Program Cost)

Tuition ($500x 36 credits)



Textbook costs ($120 per course estimate) *



Program total cost



*Students may purchase textbooks from the vendor of their choice. Therefore, the cost listed above is only the best estimate.

This program can be completed in 2 years but may take longer depending on the completion of the ministry research project. Students can choose the following payment method:

  1. Pay annually, will not have an additional 3% processing fee
  2. Pay monthly, there will be an additional 3% processing fee

Degree Goals

The Doctor of Ministry program is designed to provide its participants with:

  • An opportunity for spiritual renewal and advancement.
  • An advanced understanding and integration of ministry in relation to biblical, historical-theological, and pastoral disciplines.
  • A relational view of ministry and supporting theology and practice.
  • Skills and competencies required for the practice of ministry at its most mature and effective level.

Degree Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the Doctor of Ministry program, a candidate will be able to:

  • Formulate a philosophy of identity formation and renewal for ministry.
  • Formulate a practice and theology of ministry that focuses on being rather than merely doing.
  • Develop a philosophy of leadership that informs the practice of ministry.
  • Develop an interpersonal approach to ministry through critical thinking, prayerful reflection, and application.
  • Utilize biblical and theological resources skillfully to inform ministry life and practice.
  • Conduct applied research of professional doctoral-level breadth and depth within one’s chosen area of ministry.
  • Make a professional, informed contribution to the understanding and practice of ministry through the completion of a doctoral-level project.

Course List

First-Year Seminars (18 units)

DM 791 – Research Clinic 1-

Research Clinic 1 is conducted at the start of the first year of the Doctor of Ministry experience. It provides instruction for the researching and writing of the Professional Ministry Research Project. The pre-research clinic involves preparation for the submitting of a Concept Paper for project committee
evaluation. Later, in DM792, this Concept Paper will be expanded into a Project Proposal. During the clinic, the Concept Paper is offered to the peer group for input and evaluation. The pre-research clinic includes instruction in project development, applied research methods, and project proposal writing.

DM 701 – Identity Formation-

Identity Formation examines the Pastor/Leader’s personal life with perspectives on congregation and ministry formation and provides a foundation for the Doctor of Ministry program. Participants explore the importance of ministerial identity, receive assistance in formulating a viable theology of charismatic ministry, and receive a comprehensive orientation to Shiloh University, and the Doctor of
Ministry program.

DM 711 – Relational Theology-

Relational Theology provides the resources and unfolding logic of the relational nature of theology and the resulting implications for the life of the Church. The relational model of thinking arises out of the being and activity of God in the world. The participants will explore how this informs the life of the Church in its worship and mission. They will distinguish a theological understanding of being persons to inform their ministry in order to engage the whole of life in the network of their relations.

DM 761 – Spiritual and Personal Formation-

Spiritual and Personal Formation focuses on the understanding and experience of the spiritual life and its disciplines, as defined by the New Testament and the history of the disciples of Jesus. An integrative approach is taken to biblical and theological constructs that help prepare the participant, as a person called into ministry, for the spiritual discipline and discipleship required to fulfill a lifetime call to minister to God’s people. Basic historical, theological, spiritual, and practical foundations are considered so that participants can design their own personal approach to spiritual formation and discipleship. A particular focus is placed on the spiritual life and disciplines in the context of the Triune life of God as an overflow to Christian ministry.

DM 751 – Contemporary Trends in Worship-

Contemporary Trends in Worship provides theology and sets the understanding for biblical worship in the life of the believer, which has at its beginning point a Trinitarian understanding of God. There have been significant changes in worship practice in the last decades in the Western Church. This seminar will seek to analyze and identify these trends through the lens of Relational Theology and its resulting implications in the life of the believer, especially regarding their union with Christ. The significant issues of theology are discussed in terms of understanding who Christ is.

DM 722 – Missional Leadership- 

Missional Leadership examines the transformation of people and institutions to participate, through meaningful relations and in the power of the Spirit, in God’s mission. The use of the word transformation presupposes the understanding of leadership as the influence on the thoughts, behaviors, beliefs, or values of people and implies change at an ontological level, as one journeys to new places or experiences. Missional Leadership invites real and profound change.


Second-Year Seminars (15 units)

DM 721 – Communicating Across Cultures- 

Communicating Across Cultures examines the cross-cultural interaction necessitated by globalization, especially in ministry settings online or geographically diverse that include, ethnically, economically, gender, religious, and a host of diverse factors that require nuanced communication. This course is
designed to probe various aspects of cross-cultural communication. Students are encouraged to explore the concepts of storytelling, semiotics, and meal fellowship, and to understand their connections to larger social structures, equipping students to engage with diverse cultures in a hands-on way. The course equips the participant with an understanding of the underlying theological, sociological, and communication skills necessary to identify and confront the problem of evil in a variety of ministry and cultural settings at home and abroad.

DM 756 – Creative Conflict Management-

Creative Conflict Management is a strategic offering in creative conflict management. It focuses upon the complexity of conflict within the community of faith and addresses the approaches and methods useful in managing and resolving conflict. The participant will learn how to approach conflict as an
opportunity for growth.

DM 766 – The Pastor as a Change Agent-

The Pastor as Change Agent focuses on the dynamics of leading and managing healthy, growing churches. Participants explore various facets of church leadership and management, with special emphasis on implementing practical strategies. Proven ways to empower people and guide their ministries into greater effectiveness will be explored.

DM 723 – Ministry of Healing and Reconciliation-

Ministry of Healing and Reconciliation addresses current issues that face the Church today. This seminar engages pastors in practical means by which they can facilitate ministry to the victims of injustice, racial harmony, and social justice in their church and community. In a world of separatism, sectarianism, and secularism, this seminar will examine the Church’s call to reconciliation. Given
that people are both sinners and victims of sin and injustice, this seminar theologically addresses the sinned against, discusses how the Holy Spirit ministers healing and justice, and offers practical tools that will help pastors to compassionately minister to the unique pastoral care needs of the sinned against within the context of a safe and healing church community.

DM 792 – Research Clinic 2-

Research Clinic 2 provides instruction for the researching and writing of the Applied Research Project. The participant will expand the Concept Paper into a Proposal. This seminar includes intensive analysis. The participant will present and defend a viable project proposal for official and peer review. Candidacy is granted upon satisfactory completion.

 DM 796 – Ministry Research Project (3 units)-

Based on an approved project proposal, the candidate will research and write a ministry project that relates to a significant aspect of the ministry in which he/she is involved. Ministry Research Project is a one-year seminar with set milestones for the timely completion of the project. Regular cohort discussions and faculty interaction is included during the participant’s research project work.
To earn credit the candidate must complete a successful oral defense. The candidate is assigned an individual faculty advisor for the project.

Total for the program – 36 Units

Professional Ministry Research Project

The Professional Ministry Research Project involves a biblical-theological base, a review of related literature, solid research, responsible use of resources, and appropriate methodologies. The final report of the research project is to number between 200 and 250 pages (including appendices). The project will include an oral presentation (in-person or through other means) and evaluation. See the Doctor of Ministry Handbook for more information about project selection, development, and defense.

Written Comprehensive Exam

A written comprehensive exam follows the completion of the second year. This integrative examination is designed for the student to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the subjects studied in the degree program.

Units Needed

The Doctor of Ministry degree in Relational Leadership is a 2-year program consisting of 36 units. It includes the completion of nine seminars (courses) and two research clinics to be completed in two academic years. Candidates specialize by designing, implementing, and writing a field-based ministry research project related to their current ministry.

All seminars are offered in an online format without residency requirements. The program is a minimum of two years in length and must be completed within five years. See Admissions section regarding transfer of credits toward degree requirements.

Graduation Requirements

To graduate as a Doctor of Ministry in Relational Leadership the participant will:

  • Complete the minimum number of units required.
  • Complete all seminars in the degree program with a C- (1.67 GPA) or better.
  • Complete a professional ministry research project and earn a passing grade in the written project and oral defense.
  • Complete and earn a passing grade in the comprehensive written examination.
  • Earn a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0.
  • Fulfill any outstanding school financial obligations.

See the Doctor of Ministry Handbook for additional information.

Student Testimonials

I am eternally grateful to God for providing Shiloh University. I could not find this level of education in the area of theology in my country. I always get excited when I am taking a new course and I always share the things I learn with my family, my friends, my church.”

Janneth Saveedra

Shiloh University has fanned the flame of my desire, and equipped me to share God’s hope and redemption with a needy world.”

John Isoka

I have loved every bit of my experience with Shiloh University! The faculty provided a personal touch that is too often lost in other universities. The level of academics is top-notch and presented in a sound and meaningful way.”

Joshua Wheeler

Having instructors who could challenge me and question me on specific topics forced me to dig in and really understand the foundations of what I believe.”

Jeremy Richardson

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The School of Ministry and Leadership provides training in leadership, compassionate ministry, and biblical studies.