Doctor of Ministry

Year Approved


First Advisor

Tim Senapatiratne, Dr.


This project advocates for a change in communication course teaching for Baptist and independent seminaries in the United States and Canada. The researcher used a mixed method of quantitative and qualitative processes to analyze communication course offerings available to master of divinity students in 59 Baptist and independent seminaries. Statistical data revealed that persuasion based preaching and evangelism courses exponentially outnumbered all forms of relational communication courses. Seminary courses on interpersonal communication constituted less than three percent of master of divinity communication course offerings. A focus group with Christian master of communication course graduates provided qualitative data on the continuing positive impact and efficacy of the course in their personal and professional interpersonal contexts. The qualitative data also contained unanimous recommendation from all participants for master of divinity programs to offer an advanced interpersonal communication course for all persons in professional ministry. The literature review focused on interpersonal competence theories and theorists with an explication of the narrative paradigm analysis approach of Walter Fisher. The biblical component of the research project used six interpersonal competency skills and Fisher’s narrative paradigm to analyze the Prologue, two dialogic interaction narratives of Jesus, and the final chapter from the Gospel of John.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

Document Type

Doctoral thesis