I am excited to announce that only just a couple of months ago, I was accepted into the PhD in Divinity program via the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. I begin the program this week and will be completing it long-distance from Memphis.
Back in 2015, I launched into the Doctor of Intercultural Studies (Missiology) program at Fuller Seminary. I completed two years of the program and it was actually a great educational experience regarding the areas of missiology, research methodology and leadership development. Really excellent. However, in 2017 I needed to take a break from the program.
With that, I was trying to find the best way forward with my research and re-entrance into the program at Fuller. In all, not too long ago, an opportunity opened for me to consider studying via the University of Aberdeen. I actually had originally preferred a UK university, since they do allow for long-distance PhD’s. The U.S. isn’t as open to it. Also, PhD work in Europe tends to go straight into the research portion, whereas the U.S. still has doctoral coursework (plus comprehensive exams within PhD’s). However, the costs were prohibitive to enter a program in the UK at the time I began my doctoral studies.
Yet, by God’s grace, this week I launch into the program at Aberdeen.
I will actually bring a lot of my research from Fuller to Aberdeen.
As to my research: There is plenty of material out there on how spiritual growth can/does propel us into mission. And, of course, that is very much true. However, my interest is in researching the converse: how missional practices contribute to spiritual formation in the Christian life. I very much love to see people transformed by the classic spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible study, fasting, silence, solitude, etc. But we will do well to remember that our spiritual formation also comes through a life of mission.
As to the group of people I will study: At Fuller, I was particularly studying creative artists/musicians. But this will shift a bit at Aberdeen. I imagine I will do a comparison between what this looks like for church leadership and what it looks like for everyone else (i.e., clergy vs laity). In specific, I may consider new church plants within the urban setting of Memphis. Something of that nature. But these details haven’t been nailed down as of today.
So here is to a new academic journey for me, one I am thoroughly excited about.