Central Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry program is designed to
Two recent Central DMin graduates who have honed these leadership skills are Lal Pek Lian and José Martinez. Lal Pek, who is from Haka City, the capital of the Chin State in Myanmar, has been living and serving as a bi-vocational pastor of Chin Baptist Church in Milwaukee while finishing his studies. He is working on developing spiritual formation as a discipleship model among people of Myanmar – both immigrants in the US and those who live in the Chin State. José is a Disciples of Christ church planter who has also been working with Fairview Christian Church in Gladstone, Missouri, and with Broadway Church of Kansas City to empower them to be the church outside their walls.
Lian’s wife and children have remained in Haka while he has been completing his degree. He has returned to Haka City for a couple of months each year to reconnect with them and with Immanuel Baptist Church where he serves as the senior pastor. The church has continued paying half his salary and has been caring for his family while he has been in the US. He will return to Haka City in July to continue his pastoral leadership and, he hopes, to begin a program in spiritual formation at the Chin Christian University where he taught for eleven years and now serves on the board of trustees.
Lal Pek related that he chose developing this discipleship model as the focus for his dissertation because the Chin people of in Myanmar, India, Malaysia, and those who have immigrated to other parts of the globe have a narrow interpretation of faith. He believes their judgmental attitude is not helpful and wanted to find an alternative means to help people understand their faith.
He said that when we practice “solitude, hospitality, prayer, fasting, lectio divina, we have time to listen to God. We talk too much to God and do not spend enough time listening to God. I am really thankful to God and all the staff at Central, especially my professors. I learned a lot! We [the Chin people] really need spiritual formation practices as an alternative way of looking at faith.”
Lian has already implemented a program at the church in Milwaukee with the youth and is developing one for the church leaders. He hopes to do the same for his congregation in Haka City and then to teach others how to do so at the Chin Christian University there.
José has also worked with an immigrant population – a Haitian congregation, Multination Christian Church, a church plant that was a result of an attempt to combine two congregations. He is helping them find ways to live into their goal to be multicultural. His work with Broadway Church has been an effort to help them re-think who they are after selling their historical church building. The work with Fairview has centered around finding ways to connect with the community in which the church is located.
In all of these settings and as the focus for his dissertation, Martinez has been looking for ways to redefine the metrics of ministry – how is success defined in this age when the traditional metrics seem to point to the demise of the church? He believes the church is alive and well, but that the focus for the future will be finding ways to define success differently, including how to measure the transformation that happens when people develop meaningful, intentional relationships with those around them, especially in the communities around their ministry.
José and Lal Pek are two examples of how Central’s Doctor of Ministry program is equipping leaders to transform the Church. For more about the program, visit cbts.edu or apply.cbts.edu.