Leading Change DMin Cohort (Pasadena)
APPLICATION DEADLINE: Jan 26, 2024
In a rapidly changing world, the primary task of leadership is to energize a community of people toward their own transformation in order to meet the challenges of the uncharted terrain before them. It is what Ronald Heifetz calls “adaptive leadership” and defines as “the practice of mobilizing people to tackle tough challenges and thrive.” Transformational Leadership is the product of a leader’s own personal competency, relational congruence and adaptive capacity.
The key thought is this: Transformational Leadership is absolutely dependent on the leader’s own ongoing transformation and ability to lead others into a process of shared transformation through ongoing learning and navigating loss.
Reading Quarter: Mar 25-June 7, 2024 (4 Units; ONLINE)
Seminar Quarter: Jun 17-24, 2024 (4 Units; Pasadena, CA)
Writing Quarter: Sep 28-Dec 11, 2024 (4 units; ONLINE)
Part 1: Biblical and Theological Foundation of Leadership (12 units)
The first year introduces the core concepts of the cohort and explores the critical difference between ‘stewardship’ and ‘leadership'. We will examine a definition of Leadership as a process of personal-communal growth in a changing environment, exploring competing views along the way. This class will feature a biblical and theological overview of leadership as an overlooked and often misunderstood concept in the Christian tradition. Concepts to explore include: Leadership and the Mission of God, Leadership as Role vs. Function, Leadership vs. Stewardship, Leadership as a Missional Necessity, Leadership and Public witness.
Part 2: Transformational Leadership begins in Technical Competence
In addition, the student will explore the necessity of developing credibility through personal and technical competence as a prerequisite for leadership. This class will feature a discussion of the core competences of missional and pastoral leadership and their role in a transformational process in a changing world. While traditional pastoral competences will be examined, emerging and often overlooked ones (governance, team building, experimentation, vision casting) will be explored.
Reading Quarter: Mar 24-June 6, 2025 (4 Units; ONLINE)
Seminar Quarter: Jun 23-27, 2025 (4 Units; Pasadena, CA)
Writing Quarter: Sep 29-Dec 12, 2025 (4 units; ONLINE)
Relational Congruence and Trustworthy Leadership (12 units)
John Calvin began his Institutes by declaring that all “True and sound wisdom” came from the “knowledge of God and of ourselves.” This second Section will look at the spiritual, psychological and emotional capacities necessary for effective leadership. While leadership begins in “Technical Competence”, it is validated in the leader’s “Relational Congruence”. This week of study will take the leader through exercises and discussion about his or her own internal and external congruence, sense of self, and the spiritual resources necessary for healthy leadership. The Ignatian Spiritual Exercises will be introduced and practiced during these two weeks of classes.
Reading Quarter: Mar 23-June 5, 2026 (4 Units; ONLINE)
Seminar Quarter: Jun 22-26, 2026 (4 Units; Pasadena, CA)
Writing Quarter: Sep 29-Dec 12, 2026 (4 units; ONLINE)
Adaptive Capacity and Transformational Leadership (12 units)
The particular temptation for leaders engaging in adaptive leadership is to believe that knowledge of the concepts of Adaptive Leadership is sufficient to bring organizational transformation. In fact, reliance upon knowledge is a classic expression of ‘work avoidance’. Year Three will take an in-depth look at the practices of adaptive leadership with a study of verbatim case studies that come from student’s project. Some key process skills to be explored include Identifying Adaptive Challenges, The Observations-Interpretations-Interventions model, the necessity of healthy conflict, and the use of a Transformation Team to institutionalize the desire change. In addition, this year will feature online peer-peer and professor-student coaching conversations.
Doctoral Project Phase (12 units)
- 4-unit elective (independent study or elective from Course Schedule)
- DM710: doctoral project proposal online 10-week course (4 units)
- DM706: doctoral project writing course (4 units)
Tod Bolsinger, PhD, MDiv
Vice President and Chief of Leadership Formation, Fuller Theological Seminary
Tod Bolsinger joined Fuller Seminary as vice president for vocation and formation in March 2014 and as assistant professor of practical theology in July. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1993, Dr. Bolsinger served as senior pastor of San Clemente Presbyterian Church since 1997. Prior to that he was associate pastor of discipleship and spiritual formation at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood.
With a PhD in theology and Master of Divinity from Fuller Seminary, he has taught graduate-level classes in theology for the past 14 years at Fuller’s regional campus in Orange County. He has extensive experience in church and nonprofit consulting and executive coaching. He writes frequent weblogs on church and leadership formation. His faculty role at Fuller includes team-teaching the new Touchstone class that all master’s-degree students will take to begin their course of study, leadership classes, and the development of a leadership cohort for DMin students.
The author of two books, It Takes a Church to Raise a Christian: How the Community of God Transforms Lives and Show Time: Living Down Hypocrisy by Living Out the Faith, Bolsinger has also written a chapter about building community in a virtual world in the book The New Media Frontier: Blogging, Vlogging, and Podcasting for Christ.