Journal of Christian Ministry | 2021: DMin Research Notes

2021: DMin Research Notes

2021: DMin Research Notes


The Association of Doctor of Ministry Education’s Journal of Christian Ministry is introducing a new feature. DMin Research Notes are brief descriptions of research conducted by DMin faculty or students that will inform our community of current research taking place in DMin programs. DMin Research Notes prioritize research by DMin students and research related to DMin programs but any research relevant to Christian ministry will be considered. Please consider submitting a DMin Research Note and making your best DMin students aware of this opportunity to publicize their work.

The DMin Research Note Template is displayed in the following examples. Questions about DMin Research Notes can be addressed to the JCM Research Note Editor: Dr. Mark Chapman (


Current DMin Research

Title: How Multivocational Ministers Use Their Time

Author(s) Name(s): Mark Chapman, James Watson

Institutional Affiliation(s): Tyndale Seminary, The Salvation Army

For more Information about the Research, contact:

Description of the Research (including the population studied, methodology used, research objective(s), findings, next steps):

Employment arrangements where a congregational leader is paid part-time (or volunteers) and has additional paid work outside of the local church ‎could be called multivocational. Such an approach to leadership opens a variety of questions about work-life balance. Based on interviews with 40 Christian multivocational leaders, this analysis explores the time usage patterns of Canadian church planters and established leaders who are also employed in a diversity of non-congregational fields.

The 16 women and 24 men interviewed came from more than 7 different denominations. Approximately 50% of respondents were ordained and about 2/3rds were the lead pastor of their congregation. They had spent between 3 and 11 years working multivocationally. They worked in more than 20 different fields and had more than 30 different roles in those fields.

Most of our respondents had a plan for how they organized their time. Very few had a schedule that was the same every week and very few had a schedule which was dramatically different every week but between those poles there was a huge amount of variety. What determined the nature of an individual respondent’s schedule was highly contextual. Schedule was often structured by the rhythms of church events, but it could also be driven by the nature of their work responsibilities. Different ministers found actions apparently in opposition effective for their lives. Having multiple roles meant our respondents were busy, but they were not naïve to the challenges of multivocational ministry, had ways of organizing their schedules, and most had a plan for ensuring personal renewal time.

In sum, common threads in how our respondents organized their time include, awareness of the challenges of multivocational ministry, conscious actions to address those challenges, intentionality in how their time is organized that reflected the realities of their context, and attention to being renewed so that they can continue to operate multivocationally.

Sources for Further Exploration (optional):

Project Website:

Perry, S. L., & Schleifer, C. (2019). Are Bivocational Clergy Becoming the New Normal? An Analysis of the Current Population Survey, 1996-2017. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 58(2), 513-525.

Reimer, S., & Hiemstra, R. (2015). The Rise of Part-time Employment in Canadian Christian Churches. Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses, 44(3), 356-377.


Title: The Morning Prayer Study: How a 10-minute discipline can establish community and transform your faith.

Author(s) Name(s): Reverend Doctor Kyle Norman

Institutional Affiliation(s): Tyndale University, Toronto ON; Wycliffe College, Toronto ON

For more Information about the Research, contact: Rev. Dr. Kyle Norman at 403 852-4699; email:

Description of the Research (including population studied, methodology used, research objective(s), findings, next steps): The purpose of this research project is to increase awareness of Anglican corporate prayer, through the re-introduction of the Morning Prayer liturgy. The study was made up of a purposive sample of parishioners in the researcher’s own congregation, drawn from a general invitation to participate in the study. A small group of twelve individuals volunteered for the study and engaged in the devotional activity of Morning Prayer for 10 weeks. The research used a Narrative methodology wherein data was collected via personal journals, facilitated group discussions, surveys, and field notes. These collection methods focused on the participants’ own evaluation and interpretation of their experience of morning prayer. The objective of the research was to establish that daily engagement with the liturgy of Morning Prayer increased the participant’s sense of connection with the corporate prayer of the church.

Results of the study indicated five primary themes. Engagement with Morning Prayer produced (a) the development of an important spiritual habit; (b) positive emotions within the experience of prayer; (c) increased connection with the wider Christian community; (d) deeper experience of God; and (e) experiences of frustration with prayer. These results were interpreted in three ways.  Firstly, the discipline of morning prayer created an alterative lens through which the individual experienced life. Secondly, the discipline of morning prayer rooted the individual in a communal spiritual identity. Finally, the discipline of morning prayer challenges complacency in prayer.

A major implication of the study pertains to the Morning prayer’s connection to participants deeper experience with God, and rich experiences of prayer. Next steps could include the development of a program through which churches could provide members the opportunity to experience the benefits of the daily office. Importantly, such a program should be understood to be a corporate program, as the presence and support of others doing Morning Prayer proved to be beneficial. Furthermore, given that by the fifth week of the study, seven participants of the study noted how Morning Prayer had become a regular and important discipline in their lives, a five-week study would be optimal.

Sources for Further Exploration (optional): None




Title: Exploring Leadership in the Middle: an Application of Schons Reflective Conversation—A Decision-Making Process for Assemblies of God World Missions Area Directors.

 Author’s Name: James A. Sabella

Institutional Affiliation: Portland Seminary, George Fox University

For more Information about the Research, contact:

Description of the Research (including the population studied, methodology used, research objective(s), findings, next steps): Those who practice leadership in the middle of an organization serve an essential role in the organization’s leadership structure. Their middle leadership role places them at the center of the organization’s operations. From this middle position, the middle leader functions as both follower and leader—having a responsibility both upward and downward in the organization. In these capacities, the middle leader becomes a critical link between the mission of the organization and the day-to-day carrying out of that mission. Middle leaders face unique leadership challenges that call for creative solutions. However, the practice of middle leadership is seldom explored. Can reflective practice theory address the unique challenges of the middle leader’s practice? If so, what significant challenge can reflective practice theory address, and what approach would be most applicable in addressing that challenge?

The researcher focused his research on the position of Area Director within the Assemblies of God World Missions organization. To seek out and discover the significant challenges facing the Area Director’s leadership practice, the researcher conducted interviews with selected Area Directors. Additionally, the researcher gave critical consideration to primary organizational documents and manuals that focus on the role and function of the Area Director. The researcher also gave critical assessment of pertinent reflective practice theory research and literature.

The research illuminated the significant challenge Area Directors face when required to make decisions in complex settings. After considering the complex decisions an Area Director is required to make, the way they make those decisions, and the importance of the inclusion of a spiritual component in the process, the researcher presented a decision-making process for Area Directors based on Donald Schön’s Reflective Conversation as applied by Christopher Johns in the Johns Model of Reflection.

Project Website:



Title: Outsiders on the Inside:  Racial Fatigue and Resilience Among Black Pastors in the Presbyterian Church in America

Author(s) Name(s): William E. Boyce

Institutional Affiliation(s): Trinity School for Ministry

For more Information about the Research, contact: Contact William “Billy” Boyce at

Description of the Research (including the population studied, methodology used, research objective(s), findings, next steps):

This project assesses the state of racial fatigue among Black pastors in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). Of the denomination’s roughly 5,000 Teaching Elders (those ordained to a ministry of Word and Sacrament), approximately 1% identify as Black, in effect rendering them an “ultra minority” as one research participant opined. The lived experiences of this group are vital to understanding the overall state of the PCA in living up to its doctrinal commitments.

Of central focus is this question: is the PCA faithful to its founding principle regarding race and to its adopted commitments regarding Scripture and Doctrine in its acceptance of Black pastors? At its founding, the PCA declared that all races would be welcome in the Church. In its motto, the PCA lauds the denomination as “Faithful to the Scriptures, True to the Reformed Faith, and Obedient to the Great Commission.” After arguing that racial inclusivity is mandated by a commitment to the Scriptures, the Reformed faith, and the Great Commission, this project assesses whether the PCA’s Black pastors indeed feel included.

This project offers an ethnography of the PCA’s Black pastors utilizing the discipline of phenomenology, asking “what does it feel like to be Black in the PCA?” This phenomenology is then compared to other studies of minority groups in primarily White institutions to assess the presence of Racial Battle Fatigue, a sub-discipline of Critical Race Theory studies.

An analysis of the PCA’s theological commitments shows a denomination that should willingly welcome its Black pastors. But the lived experiences of the pastors tell a somewhat different story. Though initially welcomed, these pastors sense that they are still “outsiders,” leading them to develop strategies to help them thrive and develop resilience in the face of a challenging racial ministry context.

Sources for Further Exploration (optional):  None