Doctor of Ministry in Transformational Leadership

Program Description
We live in challenging times. Changes in our country’s economic, moral and cultural landscape have impacted individuals and communities in ways that have sapped physical and economic resources, demoralized spirits, and fractured the social bonds that order civic life based on the common good, community needs, and a commitment to life-giving values.
It is clear that traditional models of technical (“fix-it”) leadership are no longer adequate in addressing these challenges. Today’s leaders are called to reconceptualize their work: to create new ways of learning, leading and working that empower those they serve to become leaders themselves.    This kind of leadership requires a courage, conviction and compassion that arise from a place deep within a person’s spirit. This D.Min program offers those in leadership positions the opportunity to cultivate their inner lives,  to take time apart for spiritual deepening, to build transformational leadership skills and to consider practical application of what leadership arising from a core of spiritual groundedness might look like.    
Learning Goal
Transformative leaders who are equipped to support, inspire and empower those they lead through the practice of values-based, collaborative leadership.
Learning Objectives
This D.Min program uses an interdisciplinary strategy grounded in the principles of liberating education and an action-reflection model of praxis that is experiential, reflective and adaptive. By the end of the program you will have:
  • Discovered the roots of your call to leadership by exploring theoretical and theological concepts of vocation and values, identity and giftedness.
  • Informed your theoretical understanding of transformative leadership concepts, styles and practices, and explored your own leadership style and gifts.
  • Strengthened your leadership capacities by acquiring the skill sets and tools for transformative leading through change on personal, communal and structural levels.
  • Built your practical leadership skills by engaging in experiential exercises related to your own professional leadership situations.
  • Considered ways in which their practical application can empower others and open new possibilities for organizational, structural, and systemic transformation. 
This degree is a 36 credit program that may be completed in no less than eighteen months and no more than three years.
  • 30 credits (10 courses)
  • 6 credits (Exit Project or Non-Project Option)

Program Requirements

  1. Complete the D.Min. in Transformational Leadership Core Curriculum: Five Units of Study (15 credit hours)
  2. Complete five electives from the list of approved e-tutorials found below. (15 credit hours)
  3. Attend an on-site GTF Residential Institute in the area of Leadership (6 credits) or write a doctoral project

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Core Curriculum (15 credit hours from Areas I and II) 

Area I:  Leading Authentically
Objective: to discover the roots of one’s call to leadership by exploring theoretical and theological concepts of one’s vocational identity, one’s sustaining values and orienting vision, and how these shape one’s call to transformative leadership.
Course Description:  “The grammar of transformational change is the invitational question, not the declarative answer.”  These words from the Fetzer Institute form the structure for our exploration into the connection between the experience of personal transformation and its relationship to the practice of transformational leadership: What would it mean for you as a leader to cultivate the inner life? What would your leadership arising from your core of spiritual groundedness look like?
You’ll reflect on these questions by writing a weekly 600 – 1000 word essay, relating the readings to prompts inviting you to explore various aspects of your interior experience of spiritual conversion and leadership praxis.  The tutorial will culminate with a substantive final essay that consists of, and builds on, your weekly reflections – informed by your learning and my comments on these - on the relationship between your personal spirituality and your leadership practice.  
Required Texts/Readings: All books can be ordered through Amazon 
  • Anello, Eloi et al. Transformative Leadership. Developing the hidden Dimension.  Houston, TX: Harmony Equity Press, 2014. ISBN: 978-941431-00-9
  • Haughey, John, Ed. Revisiting the Idea of Vocation: Theological Explorations.  Washington DC. Catholic University Press. 2004
  • Palmer, Parker.  Leading from Within. Reflections on Spirituality and Leadership.   (PDF)
  • Pearson, Carol. The Transforming Leader: New Approaches to Leadership for the 21st Century

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Area II:  Leadership Theory and Practice 

Objectives:  to examine various leadership concepts, models and practices, to identify our own leadership styles, and learn skills to enhance our practice of transformative leadership in internal, personal and interpersonal relationships and in communal milieus.
Unit 2Leadership Theory I: Transformational Leadership 
Course Description: Those called to leadership must begin by asking questions: what is leadership? And what is it for? In other words, what is its nature and purpose? The questions typify a paradigm shift in the field away from technical (“fix-it”) models toward an adaptive leadership grounded in concern for relationships and values, motivation and morality in leadership practice. 
Unlike other theories, transformational leadership sees the integral connection between these: if values are the criteria by which we make judgments about the ways we want to structure relationships and community, morality is the way we live those out. It’s goal? Deep and durable transformation of relationships and social systems.    In this course, you will explore the concepts and values that ground the model of transformational leadership, and consider new approaches for its place in responding to 21st Century challenges.
Required Texts/Readings:
  • Pearson, Carol ed. The Transforming Leader. San Francisco. Barrett-Kohler Publishers. 2012 (will be used throughout the Core Curriculum). Order from
  • Fry, Louis. “Toward a Paradigm of Spirituality Leadership” (PDF)
  • Bass and Steidlemeyer, “Ethics, Character and Authentic Transformational Leadership Behavior” (PDF)
  • Burns, J.M. “The Power of Values” (PDF)
  • Fowler, Leading with Spirit (PDF)
  • The 4 “I’s” of Transformational Leadership (PDF)
  • Greenleaf, Robert. Servant Leadership.

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Course Description: The poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote: “but poets should exert a double vision: should have eyes to see near things as comprehensively as if afar they took their point of sight; and distant things as intimately deep as if they touched them”.
Like the poet, the prophet sees: injustice inherent in the dominant culture, its effects on those who suffer under it and the vision to “nurture, nourish and evoke a consciousness and perception alternative to those of the dominant culture around us.   In this course, you will explore the identity and tasks of prophetic and servant leadership and reflect on your call to practice these as an agent of transforming hearts, minds and cultures.
Required Texts/Readings: 
  • Brueggemann, Walter. The Prophetic Imagination. 2nd ed. Philadelphia. Fortress Press.
  • West, Cornel. “Transformative Leadership and Prophetic Spirituality” (PDF)
  • Spears, Larry and M.Lawrence, eds. Focus on Leadership: Servant Leadership for the 21st Century.  (will be used throughout the core curriculum.) Available in print from Amazon or as an eBook from 
  • Stone, Russell and Patterson “Transformational vs. Servant leadership: a Difference in Leader Focus”. Leadership and Organizational Development Journal. Vol.25, #4 (PDF)

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Unit 4: Transformational Servant Leadership           
Course Description:  Robert Greenleaf noted that the servant-leader is servant first. His or her desire to lead comes from a desire to serve, and is manifested in the care s/he takes in ensuring that others grow into greater freedom, wisdom, health, and empowered leadership. Transformational leadership invites the leader to engage in a process of service that lifts leader and those they serve to a higher level of being and acting that are the bases for personal conversion and social transformation.  Both nurture the seeds of a vision that leaders and our society not only long for, but can realize.
Each week, you’ll read essays from various thought leaders and practitioners in the field of transformational and servant leadership practices.  You’ll then have an opportunity to reflect on how these can inform and inspire your own leadership practice by writing a 500 – 750 word essay each week.  The tutorial concludes with a 3000 word paper synthesizing course ideas with your personal experience as servant leader.
Course Description
 What does the Lord require of you but to do justice,
to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8
This prescription sums up life in the Spirit:  A faithful disposition of heart, a practice of right relating, and an orientation toward the Holy One.   In this context, justice and compassion are cornerstones of the spiritual life and the foundations of social transformation.  As spiritual values, these are understood in the context of covenants of mutuality, inclusion and egalitarianism that foster right ordering of relationships.  As transformative practices, they encompass a dialectical relationship between individuals and society, within which is an awareness of ways in which the dominant culture could be reordered to reflect life-enhancing values and just social systems.  In this etutorial, we will explore how these virtues cooperate in an engaged spirituality by performing a social analysis of a situation of oppression and injustice with a critical and compassionate eye, proposing solutions which are transformative, life-giving and just.
Required Texts and Readings
  • Cimperman, Maria.  Social Analysis for the 21st Century. Maryknoll, NY Orbis Books. 2015
  • O’Connell, Maureen. Compassion: Loving our Neighbor in an Age of Globalization.  Maryknoll, NY  Orbis Books 2009
  • Eyerman, Ron.  Is This America? Katrina as Cultural Trauma.  Austin TX, Univ of Texas Press. 2015   
 Selected readings noted on syllabus as PDFs 

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Area III:  Transforming Leadership in Service to the World (15 credit hours from approved electives) 

Objective:  to explore the multilevel architecture of personal, interpersonal, social and global structures in context of framing questions such as “What is? What ought to be? How do we structure the world and our leadership practice/ministry to reflect a vision of peace, justice and compassion?”  
Approved Electives 
*denotes courses that are in the final stages of development and for which full course descriptions will be posted soon