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African-American Congregational Leadership

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The African American Church has a unique history and culture that impacts every aspect of its life, including its worship style, forms of Christian education, methods of administration and governance, and interpersonal relationships within local congregations. The African American Congregational Leadership track recognizes this uniqueness and offers students an opportunity to enhance their capacity to engage effectively in ministry within this context. For this reason, students admitted into this track must be engaged in ministry that is significant to African Americans or the African American context.

Students will cover such issues as how to approach biblical studies, how to engage in theological reflection, how to undertake church administration, and how to perform evangelism and Christian formation from an African American perspective. The courses dealing with these issues are taught by one of the largest groups of African American scholars on the faculty at a United Methodist seminary. These faculty members are supplemented by a cadre of highly accomplished African American alums of Garrett-Evangelical, including Rev. Dr. Carlisle Fielding Stewart and Bishop Beverly Shamana.

In January and late-June students will attend two-week intensive terms during which they will take two courses. These courses will cover topics related specifically to the African American church, as well as providing fundamental research skills for deepening the student's academic facility and helping the student better analyze the local congregation.

For the final project, students will apply creativity in connecting the theories studied with the practice of ministry, and will relate his or her own practice of ministry to fundamental theory in the disciplines appropriated within the African American context.

Sample Schedule (based on school years beginning with the Fall semester):

Year 1:

January - attend two courses

Summer - attend two courses

Fall - attend seminar

Year 2:

January - attend two courses

Spring - attend seminar

Summer - write professional identity paper, begin framing final project proposal (does not require coming to campus)

Fall - attend seminar

Year 3:


January - research for final project proposal (does not require coming to campus)

Spring - attend final seminar

Summer - research for final project (does not require coming to campus)

Early Fall - receive approval for final project and conduct ministry intervention (does not require coming to campus)

Late Fall - Write final project paper describing impact of ministry intervention and defend it.

Information on the Seminars

Students in the Doctor of Ministry track in Congregational Leadership are required to participate in four of six seminars.  Intended to help clergy become more effective leaders in their vocational settings, the seminars focus on developing increased leadership capacity and application of management principles in congregation and faith-based organizations.  The themes include:

§  Developing Personal Leadership

§  Exploring Leadership in my Mission

§  Financial and General Management

§  Building External Relationships

§  Managing People & Resources

§  Capstone Program: The Leadership Challenge

List of Possible Courses

The following are a list of courses that are commonly offered as part of this track:

"Biblical Hermeneutics in the African-American Context"

"African-American Church Administration and Congregational Development"

"Black Ministry Engaging Historical Challenges"

"Leadership for Pastor and Laity"

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The United Methodist Church, welcomes
students from a wide range of faith traditions.