The Master’s University is launching its first ever doctoral program this fall – a Doctor of Ministry in Biblical Counseling.
This program is built on the foundation of TMU’s Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling (MABC). First started in 1996, the University’s MABC program is one of the oldest running accredited graduate programs for biblical counseling in the world. The program has graduated hundreds of students and served as a template for the creation of similar programs at other Christian institutions.
In contrast to the MABC program, which is designed to equip excellent counselors, the goal of the doctorate program is to train men and women who can then turn around and train others effectively.
Says Dr. John Street, chair of the MABC, “That’s why we’ll be one of the only – or perhaps the only – doctoral programs in the world that qualifies all of its graduates to be ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors) fellows. That is a very high standard to attain.”
Being an ACBC fellow is different than being an ACBC counselor. The latter certifies someone as qualified to counsel. The former certifies someone as qualified to be a trainer of counselors. By the end, graduates of TMU’s new doctoral program will be thoroughly equipped to teach in either an academic or church setting.
“The opportunity to impact other Bible schools and seminaries is just huge,” Street says.
Much thought has been put into what exactly TMU wants to accomplish through this program.
“Some people have asked us why we’ve designed the program as a Doctor of Ministry and not a Doctor of Philosophy,” Street says. “And the answer is that, right now, we don’t want a Ph.D., because those are designed to make you a specialist in a narrow area. Biblical counseling, internationally, does not need specialists right now so much as highly-trained general practitioners. That’s why we decided to design this as a D.Min. program.”
In particular, Street is committed to training counselors who “trust the Word of God with the serious emotional and spiritual problems of life,” can counsel others within that framework and can teach others to counsel in the same way. This is why the D.Min. program is designed to have a heavy emphasis on hermeneutics.
“Ultimately, hermeneutics is where the game is played, so to speak,” Street says. “If you’re not rightly interpreting and applying the Word of God, you’re not doing real biblical counseling. We want our graduates to rightly understand the arguments of the texts they use in counseling. The more they do that, the closer they are to the mind of Christ.”
The program is designed around four 10-day modules of intensive on-campus learning, with the first-ever cohort arriving in early December of this year. The program’s faculty will include Street, Dr. Stuart Scott, Dr. Keith Palmer and Dr. Abner Chou, among others.
Since the program was first announced earlier this year, the interest has been tremendous.
“We’ve been really thrilled by it,” Street says. “We already have the first cohort of 25 students two-thirds full.”
On an institutional level, seeing this program launch has also been exciting for other reasons.
“Adding that first terminal degree to the University is a significant step,” says Dr. Mitch Hopewell, TMU’s provost and chief academic officer. “It opens the door to adding more terminal degrees. This is blazing new trails for the school and I’m very thankful to the graduate biblical counseling department staff for their dedication and hard work to see this program launch.”
To learn more about the D.Min. program and begin the application process, see this page.