I recently finished my Doctor of Ministry degree in Missional Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary.


I got to spend four weeks here in January.

Western culture is experiencing seismic changes. Many of the core beliefs that have served society for the last 300 years are fading from prominence. The world is becoming increasingly connected. Institutions are losing their credibility to many. The internet has created an environment of instant, almost infinite access to information. The church is not immune to these changes.

The Missional Leadership Cohort trains ministry professionals to work in these turbulent times. It equips pastors and Christian leaders to lead communities of faith during these times. Students learn to discern which parts of the Christian faith have been coopted by the Modern Era and which are authentic representations of the Gospel that Jesus lived and presented to the world.

As we learn about the shifts of our culture, and their influence on our faith, we also learn how to lead during times of transition and anxiety. The missional leadership cohort will equip church workers to assess the condition of their churches compared to the needs of their community, and help people join with God in his mission.


The program was taught by

Alan is part of the Allelon network and has written many books.

Mark serves on the faculty at Fuller, is part of the Missional Network, and is the author of various books.

















Click here to see all the posts that I’ve written that have to do with my D. Min. or just click on the “Dmin” tab near the top of the page. More will be forthcoming now that I’m actually finished with the degree and I have the energy to write for fun again!


My thesis was entitled “Gracious Assertiveness: Learning to Lead a Staff Toward a New Missional Imagination.” For the project, I worked with the program staff of our church to discern how we could spend 10% of our work time in our greater community, and reflect upon what these experiences were teaching us. This experiment was borne out of an extended study of Luke 10:1-12, where Jesus sent his followers into towns where they worked alongside others, lived in their homes, shared meals together, and discovered that the kingdom of God was present.


The project helped us begin to notice some of our default assumptions about people outside of the church – how we tend to objectify others, treating them as projects; how our expectations for people are often arbitrary and reflect more about us than others, and that God is at work outside the church more than we tend to think. Additionally, the project helped me learn more about ongoing growth areas in my own adaptive leadership capacities. An ongoing question I’ve faced has been how to meet people where they are while also inviting people to learn new behaviors. Adaptive challenges require people to change their default assumptions and this only happens by changing our behaviors.


Below you’ll find the reading list for the three main years and the fourth year when I began working on my proposal. Underlined books were particularly meaningful, helpful, or challenging to me.


Years 4 and 5 Reading List

An Other Kingdom: Departing the Consumer Culture, Peter Block, Walter Brueggemann, John McNight

Sabbath as Resistance, Walter Brueggeman

Joining God, Remaking Church, Changing the World, Alan Roxburgh

Qualitative Research: A Multi-Methods Approach to Projects for Doctor of Ministry Theses, Tim Sensing

Critical Social Theory: Prophetic Reason, Civil Society, and Christian Imagination, Gary Simpson

The New Parish, Paul Sparks, Tim Sorens

The Agile Church, Dwight Zscheile


Year 3 Reading List

Starting Missional Churches: Life with God in the Neighborhood, Mark Lau Branson & Nick Warnes

Bourgeios Utopias, Robert Fishman

Education for Critical Consciousness, Paulo Freire

Walking Home: The Life and Lessons of a City Builder, Ken Greenberg

Sharing Faith: A Comprehensive Approach to Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry the Way of Shared Praxis, Thomas Groome

The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods, John McKnight & Peter Block

Walking with the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development, Bryant L. Myers

Leadership Can Be Taught, Sharon Daloz Parks

The Art of Neighboring, Jay Pathak & Dave Runyon

Missional: Joining God in the Neighborhood, Alan Roxburgh

Faith-Rooted Organizing, Alexia Salvatierra & Peter Heltzel

Understanding Culture: And Introduction to Anthropological Study, Philip Salzman

Constructing Local Theologies, Robert Schreiter

Doing Local Theology: A Guide for Artisans of a New Humanity, Clemens Sedmak

The Conscience of the Eye: The Design and Social Life of Cities, Richard Sennett

Learning From Strangers: The Art and Method of Qualitative Interview Studies, Robert Weiss

The Local Church, Agent of Transformation: An Ecclesiology for Integral Mission, Tetsunao Yamamori & C. Rene Padilla


Year 2 Reading List

Transforming Mission, David Bosch

Mandate to Difference, Walter Brueggemann

Borders of Baptism, Michael Budde

Models of the Church, Avery Dulles

The Churching of America, 1776-1990: Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy, Roger Finke & Rodney Stark

The One, the Three, and the Many, Collin Gunton

Another City, Barry Harvey

A Better Hope: Resources for a Church Confronting Capitalism, Democracy, and Postmodernity, Stanley Hauerwas

An Introduction to Ecclesiology, Veli-Matti Karkkainen

Jesus and Community, Gerhard Lohfink

Systematic Theology: Ethics, James McClendon

The Open Secret, Lesslie Newbigin

Gospel in a Pluralistic Society, Lesslie Newbigin

Servant Leaders, Servant Structures, Elizabeth O’Connor

Structures for Mission-Shaped Formation, Alan Roxburgh

Missional: Joining God in the Neighborhood, Alan Roxburgh

Introducing the Missional Church, Alan Roxburgh & Scott Boren

The Essence of the Church, Craig Van Gelder

Missional Church in Perspective, Craig Van Gelder & Dwight Zscheile

Becoming Friends: Worship, Justice, and the Practice of Christian Friendship, Paul Wadell

Colossians Remixed, Brian Walsh, Sylvia C. Keesmaat

Body Politics: Five Practices of the Christian Community Before the Watching World, John Yoder

For the Nations, John Yoder


Year 1 Reading List

The Missional Church in Context, Ed. Craig Van Gelder

The Sky is Falling: Leaders Lost in Transition, Alan Roxburgh

The Systems View of the World, Erwin Laszlo

Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity, Stephen Toulmin

Modern Social Imaginaries, Charles Taylor

Consuming Life, Zygmunt Bauman

The Consequences of Modernity, Anthony Giddens

Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism, James Smith

Memories, Hopes, and Conversations: Appreciative Inquiry & Congregational Change, Mark Lau Branson

Leadership on the Line, Ronald Heifitz & Marty Linsky

Surfing the Edge of Chaos, Richard Pascale

Engaging Emergence: Turning Upheaval into Opportunity, Peggy Holman

Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture, Lesslie Newbigin

The Character of Theology, John Franke

Texts under Negotiation, Walter Brueggemann

The Missional Leader: Equipping Your Church to Reach a Changing World, Alan Roxburgh & Fred Romanuk

Missional Map-Making, Alan Roxburgh

Migrations of the Holy: God, State, and the Political Meaning of the Church, William Cavanaugh

Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America, Ed. Darrell Guder

The Politics of Discipleship: Becoming Postmaterial Citizens, Graham Ward

Churches, Cultures & Leadership: A Practical Theology of Congregations and Ethnicities, Mark Lau Branson & Juan Martinez

To Know as we are Known, Parker Palmer

The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge, Peter Berger & Thomas Luckmann