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,

When tires are out of alignment on a car, the tread wears more quickly and other elements on the vehicle are affected. Not just ride and comfort but steering and control. Everything’s affected. And not in a good way. The same dynamic is true for pastors and vocational ministry leaders. We continually need realignment–or we’ll begin feeling the wear.

Tim Keller understands renewal is an ongoing process rather than a one-time fix. He also shows us the path, saying, “The key to spiritual renewal is a continual rediscovery of the gospel.”

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 was built upon a cohort-based, life-on-life discipleship approach where each candidate experiences pastoral camaraderie and receives personal mentoring? What if the program not only was 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.

Present instructors include Dr. Bryan Chapell, Dr. Jimmy Agan, Dr. McKay Caston, Dr. Tom Lutz, Dr. Jon Adams, Dr. Mike Higgins, Dr. Tim Witmer, Terry Gyger, Randy Pope, Travis Vaughn, Jim Sheppard, and John Purcell. Having professors with such a wide range of experience and expertise contributes to the depth, scope, and quality of the MAS DMin.

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

MAS is fully accredited by the Association of Reformed Theological Schools (ARTS).


Program Overview

The MAS DMin is designed to foster spiritual, gospel renewal in and develop practical leadership skills for people who have been in vocational ministry at least five years. As a program requiring extensive reading and writing, each DMin course centers two half-day seminars each quarter where students share personal experiences concerning the topic, discuss the primary texts for the course, and receive practical instruction. In addition to the academic aspects of the program, each student meets monthly with a coaching cohort to process course material as well as with a personal mentor. At the conclusion of the program, the candidate produces a written Cornerstone Summary Research Paper which integrates what they have learned in the program into a foundational document intended to guide them into a life of ongoing gospel renewal and leadership.

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 grow 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 five dimensions to this process.

LEARNING: Students will be exposed to the best available resources and be 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.

EVALUATING: Since change happens through evaluated experience, students will take three evaluations at the beginning and end of the program to provide them and their coach insights into their strengths, struggles, and progress.

TEACHING: Since you don’t really understand something until you teach it to someone else, students will be required to walk with others through this transformation journey to share what they are learning.

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

The Cornerstone Research Project/Dissertation

The culmination of the Doctor of Ministry in Gospel Renewal and Pastoral Leadership is a Cornerstone Project/Dissertation that integrates what the student has learned in the program into a foundational document intended to serve as a guide for a life of ongoing renewal and leadership. The purpose of this paper is to put into writing what the student has learned, who they have become, and what they will do going forward. Questions asked and answered in the Cornerstone Project will revolve around issues of being, knowing, and doing:


  • What did you learn during this program?
  • What were the primary insights you gained during the program that have impacted you personally and/or professionally?
  • How did you change during this program?
  • What new beliefs or practices have you developed that have positively impacted your development as a spiritual leader?
  • How did your ministry change during this program?
  • What new people, processes, and/or philosophies have you incorporated that have positively impacted your ministry?
  • What changes do you hope to see in yourself and in your ministry in the coming years?
  • What are your personal growth areas and the growth areas for your ministry?
  • Where do you plan to go from here? What is your plan to continue in the ways you have learned?

Application Requirements

Applicants must have an accredited, theological master’s degree as well as significant post-master’s ministry experience (at least five years) that enables them to engage as a ministry peer with other students pursuing an advanced, professional doctorate. The DMin application 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.

Start Your Application

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