The Doctor of Ministry in Gospel Renewal and Pastoral Leadership

“My passion is helping pastors and leaders tie and tether all of life and ministry to the cross of the risen and reigning Jesus in such a way that creates a ripple effect of grace through their families, congregations, and the wider community.”

– Dr. McKay Caston, Dean of Doctoral Studies

Dear prospective DMin student,

Believing that spiritually healthy congregations need spiritually healthy pastors, the MAS Doctor of Ministry program is designed to help vocational ministry leaders experience deep and lasting renewal that impacts their primary family relationships and influences how they lead, preach, teach, disciple, and counsel.

The kind of spiritual renewal we envision occurs when the Holy Spirit freshly awakens a believer to the wonder, beauty, and transforming power of God’s grace in the cross of the risen and reigning Jesus.

As our friend, Tim Keller, says, “The key to spiritual renewal is a continual rediscovery of the gospel.”

We agree and have designed an entire doctoral program to leverage the power of the gospel in the lives of pastors and ministry leaders unto the renewal of entire congregations and ministries that we trust will overflow into kingdom mission in the broader community.

In the wake of COVID-19, political strife, and other issues to navigate, many pastors are worn out. They are like tires that have traveled far beyond their warrantied life expectancy.

Some churches see the word tread of their pastor’s hearts and assume that, just like they may buy a new set of tires, they need a new pastor. If theirs is worn out, exchange him for a new one.

However, we do not think most churches need a new pastor. They need a renewed pastor who allows others to invest in his heart as well as equip him with the upgraded leadership skills that are necessary for a post-COVID world.

Therefore, the image of retreading tires with a cross-tethered philosophy of life and ministry captures what the MAS Doctor of Ministry program is designed to do in the life of ministry leaders.

In addition to retreading tires, a second metaphor is the ripple effect of grace.

If you’ve ever tossed a stone into a pond on an early morning when the water is still and smooth as glass, you understand the ripple effect. As the stone breaks the surface, small, circular waves–like mini-tsunamis–are created that “ripple” out from the impact across the pond until they reach the shore.

What if a DMin program were designed to help you walk that path by consciously living all of life tethered to the cross of Jesus?

What if such a course of renewal included a plan for increasing your leadership capacity with practical tools for effective ministry? What if the curriculum were built upon a cohort-based, life-on-life discipleship approach where each candidate experiences pastoral camaraderie and receives personal coaching and mentoring? What if the program not only were designed for the good of the pastoral leader but also crafted to bring revitalization and renewed purpose to local churches and ministries?

That is the MAS Doctor of Ministry in Gospel Renewal and Pastoral Leadership—an intentional realignment program that equips you for a lifetime of cross-tethered ministry, facilitates congregational renewal, and empowers kingdom mission into the wider community.

Courses meet in a full-day seminar format once a quarter, with required reading completed before seminar presentations and an integration paper due afterward. This approach makes the program uniquely doable, allowing unhurried processing of the course material outside of class, immediate application in real-life ministry settings, and bandwidth for meeting as cohorts and with mentors—an educational philosophy that cultivates a healthy rhythm of learning and growing in a doctoral context.

If you are interested in learning more about how the MAS DMin could benefit your life and ministry, we are glad to help you navigate questions you may have. Feel free to visit or contact the Dean of Doctoral Studies, Dr. McKay Caston, at

While MAS formally is a non-denominational seminary, we are theologically Reformed, affirming the system of doctrine expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, with strong ties to the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).

Program Overview

The MAS Doctor of Ministry in Gospel Renewal and Pastoral Leadership is designed to foster personal, cross-tethered, spiritual revitalization in each student and to upgrade their leadership skills for leading renewal in churches, ministry organizations, and communities. This program is for pastors and ministry leaders who’ve been in full-time vocational ministry for at least five years post their master’s degree (MDiv or equivalent with a minimum 3.0 GPA).

As a program requiring extensive reading and writing, each DMin course centers on one full-day seminar each quarter where students receive practical instruction, discuss the primary texts for the course, as well as share personal experiences and best practices. In addition to the academic aspects of the program, each student meets monthly with a coaching cohort to process course material and with a personal mentor to more personally apply the principles of gospel renewal and pastoral leadership, helping each student live all of life tethered to the cross of Jesus.

At the conclusion of the program, the candidate produces a Cornerstone Dissertation that integrates what they have learned in the program into a foundational Ministry Manifesto of sorts that is intended to guide them into a life of ongoing gospel renewal and leadership.

The course of study for students pursuing a concentration in Life-on-Life Discipleship is much the same, with the exception that their focus is on the application of the gospel to creating a movement of discipleship in their local ministry context.

Cultivating Functional Cross-Tethered Leadership

While academic degrees focus primarily on what the student knows, professional degrees focus on what the student is equipped to do. We call it “functional knowledge.” Knowledge is a critical component, but knowledge alone is insufficient to equip spiritual leaders. This is why the MAS DMin combines academic study with real-life application and mentored cohorts, as the objective of this degree program is to help the student grow as a functional cross-tethered leader. This objective begs the question: how to people grow and change? Best practices in the field of adult learning suggest there are several key dimensions to this process.

LEARNING: Students are exposed to the best available resources and guided in best practices concerning topics related to gospel renewal and pastoral leadership.

PRACTICING: Since knowledge that isn’t used isn’t retained, students will be required to implement what they have learned within their church and context.

MENTORING/COACHING: Since change is never a solo enterprise, students are assigned to a mentored cohort during which monthly meetings provide encouragement and accountability for the formative journey into a cross-tethered life and ministry.

Application Requirements

Applicants must possess an earned and accredited theological master’s degree (MDiv or similar with a minimum 3.0 GPA) as well as at least five years of post-master’s, vocational ministry experience that enables each student to engage as a ministry peer with others pursuing a professional doctorate. The DMin admissions committee will look for applicants with a clear understanding of their ministry identity and calling, and a readiness to engage in ongoing personal and spiritual formation.

While MAS formally is a non-denominational seminary, we are theologically Reformed, affirming the system of doctrine expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, with strong ties to the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).

Start Your Application

Applying is simple.  To start you can complete and submit your application online.