“Right now is the best time.” 

Pastor, wife, mom, Air Force reservist... was now the right time? Could I possibly add “student” to the delicately balanced spinning plates in my world? After seminary, I knew that one day I would return to school... but look around, I have a full-time job, two kids in diapers, I travel from home monthly for reserve duty, and my supportive extended family lives hours away. After late night talks with my husband and mom (because there was no way I could do it without them), I decided to apply to the Doctor of Ministry program at Candler. My mom surmised, “Right now is the best time. Three years from now, you will wonder why you never started.”

I enrolled in the DMin program expecting endless online lectures, coursework, and writing. On active duty, I had completed an online master’s program years earlier while I was stationed overseas. In a refreshing contrast, the DMin program at Candler delivered so much more. I felt more connected to my professors, classmates, and the program staff than I ever expected. I attended seminary at Candler and witnessed firsthand the world class faculty, curriculum, and integrated technology. The DMin program delivered nothing less than passionate professors, lively lectures, practical coursework, and the support of amazing classmates from diverse backgrounds that work in ministry all over the country. 

I enjoyed the practical nature of the DMin program. I never really felt like the program was just homework that I executed in isolation from my pastoral duties. There was one unforgettable night when I typed a paper with a mop bucket on my knee when the kids had a stomach virus.  (You can only imagine.) Then there was the night I had to evacuate Charleston because of Hurricane Matthew by myself with two boys—and turn in a paper when we safely arrived on the other side of South Carolina. It’s all worth it when you know that your work in the program is more than an ethereal academic exercise. Every week, a good part of the course readings and assignments became dynamic factors in improving my ministry and preaching. Isn’t that what we expect from a Doctor of Ministry program? To be a better pastor.

“Three years from now, you will wonder why you never started.”

After three years, I am still happily married (and my husband knows the grocery store and Chick-fil-A like the back of his hand!). My preschoolers are now potty trained and know what “homework” means. The supportive grandparents feel like they were part of a special journey of a lifetime. I walked away with more than a doctoral degree and professional skills for ministry. As a pastor, the journey can often feel lonely. Candler’s DMin program brought a sense of camaraderie with classmates and professors that will last long after the program ends. I am glad I started.

Learn more and apply to Candler’s DMin program by July 1, 2018.

[Photo: Cindy Brown 09T]