CST, Mokwon University enrich 25-year partnership

In preparation for the intensive Doctor of Ministry program, students from Claremont School of Theology visit Mokwon University in Daejeon, South Korea.

As part of a 25-year partnership with Claremont School of Theology, 21 Doctor of Ministry students in Practical Theology of Conflict, Healing and Transformation recently began Spring 2023 intensive courses at Mokwon University in South Korea. 

The first private university in Daejeon, South Korea, Mokwon is one of three official theological schools of The Korean Methodist Church. Mokwon has provided low-cost accommodations and facilities – classrooms, school dormitories, parking lots and outside hotels – for CST’s Intensive D. Min. students and faculty.

To launch the spring courses, the Rev. Dr. Jacob D. Kim, general secretary of the Korean Methodist Church’s General Board of Education, offered a special lecture highlighting the purpose of the board’s Premier Pastoral Leadership Program and Certificate. During the week of Jan. 10-14, Dr. Namsoon Kang focused on gender-related conflict, healing and transformation in Korean church and society as the first intensive course. 

Dr. Namjoong Kim, associate professor of the Practice of Ministry and director of the Korean Doctoral Program at CST, explained the topic’s significance for church leadership. It is essential, he said, “to examine conflicts arising from social and religious gender constructions in the Korean church and society and to consider how Christian ministry may contribute to healing and liberation.” 

Other classes include:

  • “Interpreting Conflict, Healing and Reconciliation in the New Testament,” Jan. 16-20, 2023, Dr. Jin Seong Woo; and 
  • “Qualitative Research Methods and Methodologies, Conflict, Healing, and Reconciliation in the Old Testament, Trauma,” and “Spiritual Leadership,” July 2023 and January 2024, Dr. Namjoong Kim, Dr. Soo J. Kim Sweeney, Dr. K. Samuel Lee, and Dr. Hee-Soo Jung. 

Upon completion of the intensive Doctor of Ministry program, Korean Methodist Church pastors receive certificates of premier pastoral leadership. “The advantage of having a certificate,” Namjoong Kim said, “is that the KMC officially acknowledges and honors the Claremont School of Theology’s Intensive D. Min. program as the KMC’s premier pastoral leadership program.”

CST encourages Korean Methodist Church and Mokwon University involvement in its Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, Doctor of Ministry and Doctor of Philosophy programs. “CST takes seriously the role [it] plays in helping prepare leaders for the Korean Methodist Church, particularly by providing continuing education opportunities for their clergy,” Namjoong Kim said. Although enrollment is not limited to pastors, participants must complete theological courses such as biblical studies, church history and Christian ethics. Applicants are also required to have three years of full-time work experience in a specialized field and a master’s degree or higher.

He pointed out that the Doctor of Ministry in Practical Theology of Conflict, Healing and Transformation in Korean Contexts is specifically designed for Korean and Korean American religious professionals who work in Korean or other intercultural contexts. Courses are taught by faculty from CST, as well as Korean and Korean-American scholars from other theological schools. 

“This program,” Namjoong Kim said, “arises from the contemporary Korean and other intercultural ministry contexts in which rapid social changes result in many forms of individual, familial, congregational and social conflicts.”

The prevalence of such conflicts in Korean and Korean-American society, he explained, results in the current burgeoning “industry” of counseling and healing ministries in Korean communities. 

“Many Korean churches adopt traditional forms of healing ministry such as revivals, retreats and worship services,” he said. “These tend to be highly individualistic without accounting for the larger sociocultural context out of which these conflicts arise.” By emphasizing contextual analyses, the D. Min. program presents a critical and systematic understanding of conflicts and healing, a critical reflection of the interface between theory and praxis, and acquisition of integrated practical and theological skills and competence.

The Doctor of Ministry program comprises the equivalent of three full years of academic study (eight courses for 32 credits), including the design and completion of a project that addresses both the nature and the practice of ministry. The degree must be completed in five years.

Last year, Claremont School of Theology celebrated the new president of Mokwon University by presenting a congratulatory plaque honoring the cooperative partner school. CST President the Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Kuan presented the plaque to the Rev. Dr. Heehak Lee, the 10th president of Mokwon University. In a lecture for Mokwon students, Kuan’s topic was “Reading the Moses Narrative for Leadership in a Multicultural World.” He also conducted a student information session. Three CST alumni from Mokwon currently serve as faculty members at Mokwon University.