Doctor of Ministry in Transformative Discipleship

An Apprentice Institute & Northern Seminary Partnership

In partnership with the Apprentice Institute, Northern Seminary presents a program intentionally designed for Christian leaders who desire a deep experience in personal discipleship while simultaneously growing in the capacity to bring transformation to others within their own ministry context.

Students who join the Doctor of Ministry in Transformative Discipleship become members of a spiritual discipleship cohort, gathering four times over a period of 18-months in retreat with the staff and faculty of the Apprentice Institute. These four gatherings constitute the “Apprentice Experience.” The curriculum is based on James Bryan Smith’s “Triangle of Transformation: Narratives, Practices, and Community.” The faculty include: Scot McKnight, Shane Claiborne, James Bryan Smith, Curt Thompson, Jan Johnson, Keith Matthews, among others.


In between the intensives, students deepen their learning as they interact and reflect biblically and theologically with their seminary professors through meaningful academic assignments. The curriculum includes four cohort gatherings, plus three core Doctor of Ministry courses and a practical thesis project.

Flexible                 1-Week Intensives

Attainable            Doctor of Ministry earned within 43 months

Affordable           $23,500 for both the Apprentice Experience* and Doctor of Ministry Degree**


Institute and Seminary Faculty
James Bryan Smith Scot McKnight    Shane Claiborne
Matthew Elliot Keith Matthews    Jill Fleagle
Jan Johnson John Carroll    Karen Walker Freeburg

Course Schedule

Four courses integrated with the four Gatherings plus three core DMin Courses and a thesis, comprise the course schedule.


Dates Year Class/Gathering Location
Nov 6 – 10 2017 Gathering 1
The Kingdom of God:
My Narrative
Wichita, KS
March 19 – 23 2018 Gathering 2
Putting on the Character of Christ:
Changing False Narratives
Wichita, KS
TBA Becoming Drs. of the Church Lombard, IL
Oct. TBA 2018 Gathering 3 Wichita, KS
May TBA  2019  Gathering 4
Living Out Our Faith
Wichita, KS
June TBA 2019 Biblical & Theological Reflection Lombard, IL
Oct. TBA 2019 Thesis Design Lombard, IL
Jan. TBA 2020 Thesis Phase: Project & Writing In Context
June 2021 Commencement Lombard, IL


The Northern Seminary faculty member facilitating the coursework attached to the four Gatherings is Dr. Jill Fleagle. The Professor of Record works with individual students to assess learning and provide opportunity for participants to deepen their practices and engage in doctoral level biblical and theological reflection. Coursework is completed during the 3-month period following each gathering. Final course assignments are normally be due 90 days following the Gathering.


Application Process

 Students follow normal application procedures and deadlines for admission to both the Apprentice Experience and Northern Seminary. The processes are separate. Students entering into the Doctor of Ministry program must be accepted by the Apprentice Institute. Since spiritual, personal, and academic readiness are important factors in admission, admission to either the DMin degree program or Apprentice Experience is not a guarantee of admission to the other program. Students have two weeks after the Apprentice Institute Gathering 1 to apply for admission to Northern Seminary. Northern faculty members, Dr. Scot McKnight and Dr. Jill Fleagle will be available during the first retreat to answer questions.



There is an option to complete the four Gathering-related courses at the master’s level and earn a Graduate Certificate. Upon successful completion of the four courses, master’s level students complete a 5th course entitled “Transformative Discipleship: Project in Context” where they develop a plan for implementing transformative discipleship within their local context. The master’s credit earned may be applied to a Northern Seminary master’s degree program or transferred into another graduate school program if allowable by the receiving institution’s policies. (Northern Seminary is accredited by ATS. Each graduate school has their own policies regarding transferability of credit.)


Thesis Supervisor                    

At the thesis phase of the program, each student in coordination with the Doctor of Ministry Office identifies a thesis supervisor who is vetted by the seminary faculty. Supervisors must have a PhD, doctorate, or other terminal degree plus experience in the topic approved for the thesis project.


The next cohort begins October 31, 2016. The second cohort will launch November 6, 2017.

To learn more, contact Admissions at (630) 620-2125 or email us at


A Master of Divinity or its educational equivalent is required in order to enroll in the DMin program.

* Apprentice Experience costs are paid directly to the Apprentice Institute: $7,000 in three payments for the 4-Gatherings; includes lodging, meals, books, Kindle Fire Tablet and resources.

**  Northern Seminary Doctor of Ministry: $16,500 in monthly payments includes tuition, fees, & commencement costs.


Northern offers two types of DMin programs with specialized emphases available in each. In the Cohort program, there are emphases in New Testament ContextChristian Community DevelopmentContextual TheologyTransformative Discipleship, and Preaching.

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