Jan 11, 2016

Announcing Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas as the Dean of the Doctor of Ministry Program at Ligonier Academy

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Since 2013, Dr. Sinclair Ferguson has served as dean of the doctor of ministry program at the Ligonier Academy of Biblical and Theological Studies. Over the past two years, he has evaluated curriculum, consulted and counseled with students, and evaluated numerous student projects. Having extensive ministry experience as a pastor and teacher, he has served faithfully in encouraging, exhorting, and training our D.Min. students. We are so grateful for his service.

Dr. Ferguson desires to prioritize his time as he continues to accept speaking requests, write, and lead as a teaching fellow with Ligonier. He will, however, be passing on the torch for the dean of the doctor of ministry program.

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas is the new dean of the doctor of ministry program. Dr. Thomas is a longtime friend to Ligonier Ministries and well-known and beloved by our friends and supporters. He recently became a teaching fellow for Ligonier.

In his role as dean, Dr. Thomas will build on the work of Dr. Ferguson by assisting in the evaluation of the overall curriculum and being involved in the selection of D.Min. professors. He will also be a point of contact for the students, available for consultation and counsel. In so many ways, Dr. Thomas himself represents the goals of the D.Min program. We are happy to have him lead this program.

Dr. Thomas explains why he is excited about serving as the dean of the Ligonier Academy doctor of ministry program:

I have been telling students for almost two decades that I am not really interested in theology that cannot be preached. What I mean by this statement is simply that good theology ought to be preached, and good preaching is theological. Ligonier's D.Min. Program is driven by the belief that the improvement of preaching and pastoral ministry requires greater facility in theological understanding and application and growth in personal holiness. Ligonier's D.Min. program is designed to help busy ministers become better preachers and pastors.

As a pastor myself, I often feel the need for the kind of spiritual refreshment that time away from ministry in the company of other pastors provides. Busy pastors often feel the need for being stretched beyond the weekly obligation of sermon preparation and pastoral counseling. Time spent in intensive study alongside other pastors and scholars is therefore both required and refreshing. I am convinced that churches are immensely blessed and invigorated by the infectious enthusiasm of a renewed pastor's mind and heart that is the result of a D.Min. study program.

For these reasons, as well as a love for Ligonier, I am enormously privileged to be asked to become the Dean of the D.Min program.

Dr. Thomas' many years of pastoral ministry in the United States and Ireland, along with his extensive and profound understanding of Reformed theology, give him a unique ability to serve the pastors who are studying in the D.Min. program. He served as a pastor in Belfast, Ireland for seventeen years before being called to the United States to serve as minister of teaching at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Miss. In 2011, he became associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, S.C., and in 2013 became senior minister there. He is also the Robert Strong Professor of Systematic and Practical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta. Originally from Wales, he graduated from the University of Wales (B.S.), Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and the University of Wales (Ph.D.). He is the author of numerous books, including How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home, Calvin's Teaching on Job: Proclaiming the Incomprehensible God, and Praying the Saviour's Way: Let Jesus' Prayer Reshape Your Prayer Life.

Dr. Thomas will serve as dean remotely from his home in Columbia, South Carolina, as he continues his roles at both First Presbyterian Church and Reformed Theological Seminary. We are so thankful to the Lord for the gifts that He has given Dr. Thomas, and we trust that his service to the pastors in the D.Min. program will be a blessing to the church.