A cohort of students began Candler’s new Doctor of Ministry program last fall, and after two semesters of study, the reports are glowing. The program’s trio of unique benefits—an enhanced online format, the expertise of Candler’s talented full-time faculty, and the availability of significant scholarship aid—makes the degree an attractive and accessible option for working ministry professionals. Candler is accepting DMin applications through June 30 for the 2015-2016 year. Learn more.

Designed for ministers with a master of divinity and at least three years of ministry experience, Candler’s DMin is 90 percent online, with four campus visits during the three-year program. This allows students to complete the degree while continuing to serve in their current ministry settings, offering not only convenience, but the opportunity to immediately apply what they’re learning to their individual contexts.

First-year DMin student Leah Davis, a communications specialist at the Alliance of Baptists, appreciates both of these practical advantages and is already reaping the rewards. She is focusing on Biblical Interpretation and Proclamation, one of two tracks offered in the program; the other is Church Leadership and Community Witness. “Candler’s DMin program has helped me to dive deeper into my context, as I imagine and consider what proclamation looks like in preaching, writing and teaching,” she says.

Davis also is pleased at how well the cohort has coalesced via the online format. She describes her group of fellow DMin students as “an invested community” of peers, who learn together and support one another, even from afar. “As we study and consider what our course content means in each of our settings, we engage with one another through our scriptural texts, our readings, our discussion board and even our Facebook group,” she says. “The online class component, with live sessions twice a week, keeps the cohort connected and provides a structured timeline and process of learning.”

Another perk of the program is the opportunity to work with Candler’s highly acclaimed faculty. Where many DMin programs are staffed by adjunct faculty, Candler’s DMin classes are taught by the school’s full-time, regular faculty members. "We receive instruction from the most gifted and decorated scholars in their fields," says student Noelle York-Simmons, senior associate rector at All Saints Episcopal Church in Atlanta.

Fellow student Lyn Pace, chaplain at Oxford College at Emory University, especially appreciates the faculty’s commitment. “The faculty have been deeply invested, not just in the subject matter, but in the students,” he says. “For example, Dr. David Jenkins has done everything imaginable to support me in my work to better myself as well as my community. His commitment to this being more than a job but a way of life is inspiring and humbling to me as a daily practitioner of my faith.”

Scholarship assistance is yet another big advantage of Candler’s DMin. A generous gift from long-time Candler friend and Committee of 100 member B. Jackson Bandy—matched dollar-for-dollar by Candler—created the Aggie and Jack Bandy Doctor of Ministry Endowment, which provides scholarships for DMin students.

"Jack Bandy's gift is an amazing blessing insofar as it gets us toward our goal of fully endowing the DMin program, which means significant scholarship assistance to all DMin students," says Brent A. Strawn, professor of Old Testament and director of the DMin program.

For the 2015-16 year, that assistance translates to each DMin student receiving a scholarship covering 30 percent of tuition for the entire course of the program.

Bandy himself feels the new DMin program is a “perfect fit” for Candler, and that the online format is well-suited for today’s pastors. And, Strawn adds, Bandy’s generosity opens the door for qualified candidates who could not otherwise enroll. “The students themselves are full-time ministry leaders who often work in small church contexts and have debt from previous programs, but who still want and need the cutting edge training our program offers. With these scholarships, that’s now a real possibility.”

Learn more about Candler’s DMin program.

Pictured above: Jack Bandy speaks with DMin student Carmen Walker at Candler's DMin orientation in August 2014.