Doctor of Ministry in Strategic Leadership with Dr. Gary McIntosh

  • Program Overview
  • Program Overview

Program Overview

The Doctor of Ministry in Strategic Leadership will help you develop a deeper understanding of biblical leadership and expand your capacity as a leader. Building on the foundation of a master’s degree and your vocational ministry experience, the program provides advanced study in personal and ministry formation.

This unique program incorporates biblical theology, leadership training, peer interaction, professional mentoring, personal strengths assessment and corporate evaluation to enhance your effectiveness in ministry leadership. Small class sizes and dedicated faculty will challenge you to assess your leadership experience, grow as a strategic leader and implement real changes in your ministry.

Who It's For

Our Strategic Leadership cohort provides advanced training for individuals leading Christian ministries in a variety of contexts:

  • Senior pastors
  • Executive pastors
  • Christian school administrators
  • Directors of para-church organizations
  • Staff responsible for leading people, directing programs and managing organizational assets

No matter what your ministry role is, you’ll develop tools to lead effectively as you impact the world for Christ.

  • Student Outcomes
  • Student Outcomes
  • Student Outcomes

Student Outcomes

Through this program, you will be equipped to:

  • Advance your personal and professional development within the context of your current ministry.
  • Implement new models of ministry for enhanced effectiveness in areas pertinent to your primary context of service.
  • Articulate a theology of spiritual formation based on God’s transforming grace.
  • Apply learned ministry leadership practices that reflect biblical principles and are informed by contemporary theory and practice.
  • Assess the effectiveness of personal and corporate leadership practice within your ministry.
  • Use research skills in your chosen fields of ministry.
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  • Leader Mentor

Leader Mentor

Dr. Gary McIntosh shares his extensive ministry and church leadership experience as the primary instructor for the Doctor of Ministry in Strategic Leadership. As leader mentor, he walks with students through the three years of this program, offering wisdom, training and practical application for strategic leadership in ministry.

Learn more about Dr. McIntosh


Year One - Developing a Philosophy of Leadership (9 credits)

Week One - Philosophic Foundations of Leadership: How Leadership Works

This course examines the philosophic foundations of leadership from a biblical and socio-historical perspective. Students will be directed to consider past and present leadership theory and praxis in light of Scripture. Best practices will be identified and examined in concert with Scripture in order to build a foundation for leadership that is rooted in the historical Christian faith and culturally-informed and relevant.

Week Two - The Culture of Leadership: How Leaders Exegete Ministry Culture

The course assists students in the practice of ethnography. How organizations develop, maintain and change their cultures will be introduced. Students will learn to conduct a 360-degree assessment of their organizations in terms of ministry effectiveness.

Year Two - Building the Essential Skills of Leadership (9 credits)

Week One - The Analytic Dimension of Leadership: How Leaders Develop the Strategic Plan

The course focuses on the content of leadership and how leaders develop it. Leadership practices such as visioneering, strategic planning, goal-setting, team building, leadership development will be examined from a biblical and socio-historical perspective. Students, in cooperation with their governing board(s), will create a strategic plan for their ministries and/or develop the resources necessary to implement it.

Week Two - The Human Dimension of Leadership: How Leaders Manage the Strategic Process

The course addresses the various roles, responsibilities and challenges of leadership regarding the people they serve and lead. This will include such topics as how leaders navigate change, manage conflict, deal with difficult people, and handle communication.

Year Three - Exploring Personal Dimensions of Leadership (9 credits)

Week One - The Spiritual Life of a Leader: How Leaders are Transformed by God

The Spiritual Life of a Leader is a core course designed to enable ministry leaders to reflect upon their relationship with God more knowledgeably, perceptively and objectively amidst the responsibilities and challenges of ministry leadership. Students will develop and apply realistic transformative strategies designed for their own spiritual growth within the context of Christian community. Special attention will be given to the exploration of the theological foundations of spirituality as it pertains to the human condition before God, the transforming power of the cross, and the New Covenant ministry of the Spirit working in conjunction with the God-ordained means of grace.

Week Two - Personal Leadership Foundations: How God Shapes Leaders

Personal Leadership Foundations is a core course designed to help ministry leaders gain a deeper knowledge of themselves in how they have been shaped and prepared by God for an optimal role in His mission. Students will be led through an assortment of assessments that facilitate profound reflection upon their personal and professional lives to the end that they will be able to competently and confidently grow in their calling and cooperate with the Spirit’s transformative work in and through their ministry context.

Years Four and Five – Thesis-Project (3 credits)

Thesis-project - click for details

The thesis-project is the capstone assignment of the D.Min. program, similar to a Ph.D. dissertation, with a scholarly paper and professional ministry presentation. Upon completion of the program coursework, students focus on an involved research-oriented project that addresses a challenge within their ministry context and experience. Students are required to:

  • Identify a challenge in their ministry that deserves to be addressed.
  • Pose a researchable question.
  • Create a hypothesis that proposes a feasible answer to the challenge being addressed.
  • Develop a biblical and theological foundation for the project.
  • Interact meaningfully with literature that informs our understanding of the central theme(s) of the project.
  • Develop a methodology to test the hypothesis.
  • Conduct the research methodology in an objective, informed manner.
  • Evaluate and report the results through whatever statistical analysis is required.
  • Draw concise and accurate conclusions from the project that contribute to an understanding and practice of ministry.
  • Submit a scholarly paper that presents the preceding points in a manner that meets high academic standards.
  • Present the thesis-project before their peers in a professional setting and manner.

A thesis committee will be organized consisting of the thesis-project mentor and reader to help guide the participant through the writing process, approving each aspect of the thesis-project from the initial proposal through to the final draft.


Gary McIntosh

Primary Instructor, Doctor of Ministry Program

Primary Instructor

Dr. Gary McIntosh shares his extensive ministry and church leadership experience as the primary instructor for Corban’s Doctor of Ministry in Strategic Leadership.

Dr. McIntosh is an internationally-known professor of Christian ministry and leadership. He is also a church growth expert and president of the Church Growth Network, one of the top church consulting firms in the U.S. He publishes Growth Points, a monthly publication read by more than 7,000 church leaders, and is in wide demand as a speaker and seminar leader on numerous subjects related to church life and ministry.

Dr. McIntosh has published more than 300 articles and reviews in Christian magazines and theological journals and is the author of twenty-two books including, One Size Doesn’t Fit All; One Church, Four Generations; Staff Your Church for Growth; Biblical Church Growth; The Dark Side of Leadership; and the award-winning, What Every Pastor Should Know: 101 Indispensable Rules of Thumb for Leading Your Church.

Leroy W Goertzen

Leroy W. Goertzen

Director, Doctor of Ministry Program, Associate Professor of Pastor Theology

Dr. Goertzen teaches theology, church ministry and Christian leadership and serves as the Director of the Doctor of Ministry program. He is involved with the School of Ministry’s Bible certificate training program for pastors in Cameroon, West Africa.

Prior to joining the staff of Corban in 2010, Dr. Goertzen served as a professor and D.Min. director for Northwest Baptist Seminary. Since entering ministry full-time in 1982, most of his career has been devoted to serving the church in associate and senior pastoral positions.

Dr. Goertzen is the author of Understanding, Managing & Redeeming Church Conflict (2012) and has contributed articles for Corban’s online journal, Dedicated, and the Great Commission Research Journal. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society, The Great Commission Research Network, and the Association for Doctor of Ministry Education.


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