Doctor of Ministry

Year Approved


First Advisor

Irving, Justin


There is a well-documented problem of shadow side issues, hidden sin or dysfunction, derailing many pastoral leaders and devastating families, congregations, and whole communities. In response to this problem, this Doctor of Ministry thesis project sought to explore the contributions of spiritual formation questions to redeeming the shadow side of pastoral identity. This researcher explored biblical questions and focused on the questions of Jesus in the Gospels to identify an efficacious spiritual formation approach to using questions in redemptive work. In addition, this researcher conducted more than a year of fieldwork with pastoral participants utilizing mixed-method data analysis. Quantitative data were collected through pre and post pastoral inventories. This researcher also designed six prayer exercises around selected questions of Jesus in the Gospels. Dallas Willard’s six aspects of a human life were used to frame the movements throughout each prayer exercise. The participant sample engaged with each prayer exercise over a two-month period. At the end of the fieldwork, qualitative data were collected via an audiotaped interview in which the participants reported how engaging with the questions of Jesus had impacted their lives. The data confirmed that engaging with the questions of Jesus had a transformational effect on the participants. This research project proposes a potential framework for utilizing spiritual formation questions, particularly the questions of Jesus, as a transformational approach to redeeming shadow side issues in pastoral identity for use by individuals and seminary educators. The framework envisioned by this researcher is termed a “redemptive framework” which functions within a “generative environment.” The redemptive framework is Jesus’ questions categorized and approached using Willard’s six aspect of a human life as a holistic Christian spiritual formation grid. The generative environment has four integrated habitats including a slow formation culture, formation companioning, a formation assessment tool, and slow formation exercises.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

Document Type

Doctoral thesis