top of page
Shalom Coffee Box Photo .jpg copy.png


Michael J. Christensen, Ph.D., Professor of Theology and Center Director

The Master and Doctor in Specialized Ministry degrees with a concentration in
Faith-Based Community Development at Northwind Seminary
prepare leaders to help communities and congregations engage the systems of power in neighborhood settings (new parish model), and work for the peace and shared prosperity (shalom) of the place that they have been sent by God to minister.

"'Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper… For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" – Jeremiah 29:7-11


Beyond personal acts of kindness, church outreach, and ministries of service, God’s mission in the world includes social justice, reconciliation, collaborative ministry, and community transformation. Northwind offers a professional certificate and degree concentrations in faith-based community development and fresh expressions of ecclesia for the postmodern, post-denominational era of missio dei.


Students will learn how to study their communities, engage systems of institutional racism, generational poverty, immigration, environmental crises, and changing neighborhoods.  

Graduates will know how to lead congregations and community organizations in ministries of healing, health, and reconciliation so that all people in the neighborhood parish can flourish.  


This program is ideal for those who are:


  • Called and committed to compassionate ministries, rural or urban community development, and multicultural collaboration  

  • Already involved in community-based, non-profit ministry connected to local churches

  • Community leaders and practitioners inspired by the place-based community development work of Communities of Shalom, Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), or the Parish Collective

  • Church leaders with a personal passion for congregational revitalization and community transformation in the NeXt Church or “New Thing” God is doing in the world (Isaiah 43:19)

A Doctor in Specialized Ministry degree is a professional doctorate in a specific understanding of ministry. Similar to the Doctor of Ministry degree (DMin), the D.S.Min requires 36 credit-hours of professional study leading to portfolio research, and paper which is reviewed by a faculty committee. 

Michael J. Christensen, PhD

Director of The Center for Theology, Spirituality, and Ministry at Northwind

Professor of Theology, Academic Dean

Michael is an ordained United Methodist minister and Executive Director of WorldHope Corps—an international development agency that provides clean water and community development training in Africa and elsewhere. Formerly National Director of Communities of Shalom of The United Methodist Church, he is the author or editor eleven books on spirituality and social justice, including: Children of Chernobyl, City Streets City People, The Samaritan’s Imperative, and Equipping the Saints: Mobilizing Laity for Ministry


Faculty Mentors in Northwind’s Faith-Based Community Development


Core faculty, visiting professors, and guest lecturers serve as Faculty Mentors in the program, offering original lectures, recommended resources, and periodic participation in group discussions and doctoral committees. In addition to Professor Christensen, this year’s program faculty include:



Assistant Dean for African Outreach and Faculty Mentor for Global Missions

Caroline is an expert in international development involved in program design and ABCD in Uganda, Malawi and Palestine through WorldHope Corps; and formerly as an assistant general secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church. 



Northwind Institute Faculty for Faith-Based Community Development

Annie is a local pastor, certified trainer, and experienced facilitator in community development, broad-based organizing, social justice advocacy, and non-profit leadership. She teaches practical theology courses on strategies, skills, systems, and stories for community transformation. 



Northwind Institute Faculty for Social Innovation

Rachel is an emerging voice and trainer in the relatively new field of social innovation and social entrepreneurship in community settings; and Director of the Brink Small Business Development Center at the University of San Diego. 

Listen to Amy Moritz’s interview with Northwind Faculty mentor Annie Allen on her personal story of institutional racism, and the hope she finds today in new stories of faith-based community development and fresh expressions of church as a healing and reconciling body:

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
Master's Degree
Specialized Ministry
30 Credit Hours

Four 3- Credit Courses:

Introduction to Graduate Studies

Dr. Christin Ditchfield-Lazo

Three Courses transferred from

Northwind Institute:


Specialized Skills for Community Development

Community Social Innovation

Social Justice and Community Development


Three 6-Credit Courses:


Capstone Research Methods

Dr. Robert J Duncan, Jr.

Capstone Research I

Assigned Faculty

Capstone Paper

Assigned Faculty

Doctoral Degree
Specialized Ministry
36 Credit Hours

Four 3-Credit Courses:

Christian Tradition
Dr. Michael J. Chrsitensen

Global Perspectives on Faith-Based Community Development
Dr. Caroline Njuki

Readings in Faith-Based Community Development

Assigned Faculty

Oxford Course - Custom Course of Study

Assigned Faculty

Four 6-Credit Courses:

Treatise Research Methods

Dr. Carl Savage

Treatise Research I

Assigned Faculty

Treatise Research II

Assigned Faculty

Treatise Paper

Assigned Faculty

Faculty-Mentor Directed

The Faculty Mentor facilitates scheduled video conversations and participates in the portfolio preparation and examination.

Online and Flexible

Students set their own schedule and proceed at their own pace. Each course can be completed within 30 to 90 days.

Capstone Experience

Students in Master's Programs journey through a series of research milestones to generate the final Capstone Project that addresses a 

Need or Opportunity in their ministry context.

Treatise Experience

Students journey through a series of research milestones to generate the final Project Portfolio that addresses a new understanding of their approach to ministry.

bottom of page