In general, we recommend that you participate in the Academy and then pursue a Doctor of Ministry degree rather than trying to do both at the same time. This allows you to participate fully in the Academy and enjoy it without trying to analyze the experience. The Academy for Spiritual Formation is a broad-based but in-depth encounter built around a desire to grow in one’s relationship with God. Academic programs, such as Doctor of Ministry programs, tend to be more analytically oriented.
Following your participation in the two-year Academy for Spiritual Formation with a doctoral program can be a way to continue and sharpen your focus. There is a lot of interest now in applying some of the principles and practices of spiritual formation for ministry. Some doctoral programs may help you to do that. Before enrolling, you’ll want to look carefully at the seminary’s offerings, its history and faculty and talk to current and former students.
Finally, consider what it is that you are looking for. Why do you want a D.Min.? If you are looking for a way to concentrate your studies in a particular area of ministry, it may be a valuable endeavor. On the other hand, giving yourself permission to participate fully in an Academy for Spiritual Formation community may fill your first and most essential desire for a growing relationship with God.
Below are a few seminaries that offer credit or waive requirements for those who have completed the two-year Academy for Spiritual Formation. Others may grant independent study credit, but usually require tuition payments to do so. Besides these seminaries, you may also pursue credit for participation in the Academy for Spiritual Formation through independent study at the seminary of your choice. Seminary faculty may be very supportive here, depending on the limitations within which they operate. You may need to pay tuition for credit however.
- The Graduate Theological Foundation (www.gtfeducation.org) recognizes the course work done at the Academy for Spiritual Formation. Those enrolled in their Doctor of Ministry program who have completed the two-year Academy only need to complete a thesis/project in order to receive the degree. GTF is located in South Bend, but students in the D.Min. need to only come to Indiana twice: for an orientation and for graduation. The assumption is that most of the work will be done by students through long-distance learning. GTF is not accredited by the Association of Theological Seminaries in North America. Because of its history with the Roman Catholic and Anglican (Episcopal) churches, GTF considers itself “accredited” by Rome and Canterbury. Their D.Min. is recognized by Oxford (with whom they share a partnership) and Centro Pro Unione, a major Vatican educational center. Since the 1980's GTF has moved into broader ecumenism with a Quaker President and interfaith relations with Eastern Orthodox and Islamic participation. Several Academy faculty presenters as well as participants have completed their D.Min. from GTF.
- Ashland Theological Seminary in Ashland, Ohio, recognizes participation in the two-year Academy for Spiritual Formation as partial fulfillment of coursework requirements. Forty-five credit hours are required for the degree; completing the two-year Academy is worth ten credit hours. More information about Ashland can be found at https://seminary.ashland.edu/. This seminary offers several tracts for the D.Min. degree; Dr. Lee Solomon is the Director.
- The Protestant seminary in San Juan, Puerto Rico, requires participation in a Five Day Academy for Spiritual Formation for its D.Min. The website for “Seminario Evangelico Puerto Rico” is www.se-pr.org