01/4/16
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PhD Pastors: An Interview with David Hamstra

This interview was conducted via email with my colleague and friend whom I’ve known since elementary school. Even during the early years of our education everybody knew David was smarter than than everybody else 😉  David is one of many pastors who hope to pursue advanced education and his conference’s approach to allowing him to do a PhD is rather innovative for Adventists. It’s also valuable for ministers and conferences wanting some idea of how approach the subject. Thanks to David and the Alberta Conference for allowing this interview to happen.

Okay, give me the biographical breakdown: How long have you pastored? Where have you pastored? How long have you been out of seminary?

I’ve been in full-time pastoral ministry for 10 years (if one year of volunteer youth work in Australia counts and seminary doesn’t). I’ve spent my entire professional career with the northernmost Adventist congregations of Alberta, Canada. I graduated from Andrews University with my MDiv in 2010.

2. The Dmin is the usual doctoral route for Adventist pastors, tell me a little about your decision to pursue a PhD instead.

I think of myself as a pastor whose ministry specialty is theology. My first call was to be a shepherd to the flock, and God hasn’t indicated that I should have any other carrier ambition. But in addition to that, during my MDiv, God also called me to work on a specific theological project. So for my advanced training, I knew that an academic doctorate would prepare me to make that theological contribution in a way that a DMin is simply not set up to do.

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