Building and Sustaining Community Through Pastoral Identity and Partnerships

The Doctor of Ministry cohort commences fall 2023

June 2023 – The role of the pastor is ever-changing. To be an effective community model, pastors must move outside of the walls of the church and into the community—literally and figuratively.

Drew Theological School’s Pastoral Identity and Partnerships Doctor of Ministry (DMin) cohort is designed to provide training and support to enable pastors to build their congregations within the community.

The cohort is guided by Associate Professor of Preaching and Pastoral Formation Gary Simpson. For 33 years, he has led Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn, a leading congregation in a community passionate about change and sustainability. He understands that identity is a necessary part of what makes and sustains good community. 

“While the ‘office’ of pastor seems to have diminished, the need for clearly present pastoral identity and contribution are necessary for sustaining communities of love and justice,” said Simpson. “This cohort will give permission for the students to claim their space and understanding of pastoral identity and presence and give permission to find advocacy and agency partners in the community project.”

Because one of the forgotten aspects of pastoral identity is modeling, Simpson will lead each unit with the partners that contribute to the circle of his community engagement from church, family, business, politics, and music.

“Cohort members will claim their pastoral space (in and outside the church!) and build the partnerships that make for lasting, meaningful, and redemptive community,” said Simpson.

“Those of us who are Methodist have claimed for quite some time that ‘the world is our parish’ and perhaps this has never been more true,” said Director of Doctoral Studies Meredith Hoxie Schol. 

“In our striving to find new ways of being faithful to God’s mission in our changing communities, we are aware of how the role and responsibilities of the pastor must also change. This cohort brings together religious leaders from across faith traditions who are ready for this kind of transformation, ready to work together for a renewed understanding of what it means to be a pastor today.”

Drew’s Pastoral Identity and Partnerships DMin cohort commences in fall 2023. Applications are due by August 1.


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