The Local Church and the DMin Degree

Guest Writer:
Joe W. Bailey
Pastor, Speegleville Baptist Church
Waco, Texas
B.
H. Carroll DMin Supervisor

I have spent the past thirty-five plus years as a pastor of local churches. This is my calling, and I am glad I can fulfill this calling in the local church. Following the traditional path of many of my fellow pastors, I earned a bachelor’s and Master of Divinity degree in preparation for service as a pastor. I then entered the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program while continuing the work of a full-time pastor, not knowing exactly how I would handle the course work. I was blessed that my church fully supported me in this new adventure and with their endorsement, I began the DMin journey knowing there would be challenges and rewards as a part of this in-depth study 

What I most appreciated about the DMin degree was the flexibility it provided to continue serving at the church while earning my degree. The comradery shared with my fellow pilgrims in the cohort also created the support system I needed throughout that challenging journey. The sacrifices made were greatly exceeded by the rewards of renewed enthusiasm and knowledge gained for doing the work of the Lord through the local church.

Upon completion of my degree, I felt a huge sense of relief and accomplishment. There were, however, other unexpected blessings. For one, I did not enter this program so I could add the word “doctor” before my name. To my surprise, my church family was excited and thrilled to know they had helped me achieve this goal of receiving a DMin degree. I vividly remember at the end of a business meeting, I asked the obligatory, “Is there any other business?” One of the deacons said he had an item he wanted to bring up. I had no idea what this person was intending to bring before the church. He stated he wanted the title “Dr.” added to my name on all church publications, the church sign, and social media postings. I was hesitant to agree to that request and stated that it was never my intention in getting a DMin degree. Wisely, however, I realized the church took pride in the fact that they had helped their pastor get this degree. What an encouragement it was to me to see and know the excitement the church felt in my achievement of this goal.

Another blessing was the many insights into ministry I gained during this time of change and challenge. From post-modern theological thoughts to more detailed biblical exegetical research to new approaches to ministry, getting a DMin helped me better minister through the church in today’s world. After a twenty-year absence from academic studies, I believe I am better equipped to serve the church.

Finally, receiving my DMin degree helped me to better appreciate the church in which I am serving. Shortly after receiving this degree, I noticed a sense of sadness among some in the church. I realized, after some investigation, word had gotten out in the church I would be leaving since I had received the DMin degree. Once I realized what was going on, I again assured the congregation my desire to receive the DMin was not so I could move to another church. It has been 12 years since I received my DMin, and I am still at the church which supported me in this endeavor. Their care for and confidence in me travels with me down the road of becoming a more effective church.

Lately, I have been involved in the DMin program at B. H. Carroll as a field supervisor of a current DMin student. I gladly share with this student the challenges and blessings of DMin work. As a pastor who has gone through the DMin program, I enjoy giving my insights, and most of all my encouragement, as he journeys through this process. 

As a pastor of a local church, I am glad I entered and completed the DMin program. I am a better pastor today because of this program, and I know that if you are considering a DMin degree, you too can become a better minister for the gospel of Jesus Christ. B. H. Carroll Theological Institute’s DMin program provides that place of spiritual and academic growth.

Guest Blog — B. H. Carroll Theological Institute
Joe W. Bailey
Pastor, Speegleville Baptist Church
Waco, Texas
B.H. Carroll DMin Supervisor

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