I just got news that I've been awarded a scholarship for my studies. This is a HUGE blessing. I'm sharing this since many supporters are asking about the implications of studies on my support needs.
Apparently, some people have been asking if/how my studies are affecting ministry, if it's taking away time and energy from ministry.
I can wholeheartedly say that choosing to continue my education has been one of the best things I've done this year. So far, I have gained invaluable insight regarding missions in Africa - insights that have already helped me to be more effective in the work that I do. But even as I look ahead at future classes, I cannot help but be excited about how the classes I'm choosing will equip me to do in-depth training for pastors whom we through our "pastor's empowerment program," or even students in our one-year agricultural program. Classes such as "Africa and Islam," to name but one. (There are several more which will undoubtedly be very useful in our training, but I'll disclose those once I know for sure that they've been OK'ed.)
Insofar as taking time from ministry: These classes have not taken time away from ministry other than having me travel for the 2 classes this year. Subsequent classes will be through correspondence, so it's not like I'll be traveling for class for the next few years.
If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to ask me. I would be more than happy to visit with you about the program and classes.
And fear not: I am far from being a perpetual student! I hope to be a lifelong learner, yes. But not a perpetual student.
One other thing: Someone asked about the difference between a Ph.D. and a D.Min. It basically comes down to the former being a research degree while the latter is a practical degree. In fact, according to the Wikipedia definition, "The purpose of the Doctor of Ministry degree is to enhance the practice of ministry for persons who hold the M.Div. degree and have engaged in ministerial leadership" (emphasis mine). I'd still be doing research, yes. In fact, for my dissertation I'll be evaluating the work ELI has been doing over the past 11 years, specifically in terms of sustainable development. It's something ELI's been wanting to do, so it's mutually beneficial for me and ELI to do this study.
If you still have questions, please do not hesitate to ask. I'll be happy to explain, whether through e-mail or over a cup of coffee. Seriously. Just ask. I don't want anybody to have a misconception of what I'm doing/why I'm doing it.