Will Willimon is the Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry and Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at Duke Divinity School.

Will Willimon has instructed thousands of students (including seven UMC bishops) in hundreds of courses across a variety of subjects including liturgics, preaching, Karl Barth, and pastoral theology.

In addition to Duke Divinity School’s Masters students, he has also taught courses at Duke to undergraduates and doctoral students and short courses at over a dozen seminaries in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Korea, Singapore, and Germany.

Will teaching a seminar at Duke Divinity
Will in the classroom

Directing the Doctor of Ministry

Will has served as the Director of Duke Divinity School’s Doctor of Ministry program since 2015. Within the D.Min., Will typically teaches first year students’ Introduction to Christian Leadership seminar. During the course of the semester together, they explore leadership as a Christian practice, focusing on how individuals are formed to lead and how they might offer leadership in a theologically astute and sophisticate way. Will also conducts the capstone course Integration: Sustaining and Strengthening Mission which considers the ongoing practices of fruitful Christian leaders, especially those practices that promote individual, programmatic and institutional health and longevity.

About Duke Divinity School’s Doctor of Ministry program, Will writes:

I’ve taught in a number of D.Min. programs. Duke has quickly become the premier D.Min. program in the country by attracting some of the best students and engaging them with world-class faculty in in-depth integration of theological commitments and concrete realities. I have found that the cohort format, where a small group of students study together throughout the program is the optimum peer learning environment.

The Doctor of Ministry at Duke is a hybrid program combining on-campus intensives with online synchronous learning which aims to offer Christian leaders the opportunity to hone their ministerial skills and deepen their theological reflection in a continuous cohort across their time.

Study of the church’s scriptures and traditions is paired with study of contemporary leadership theory and practice, encouraging deeper understanding of the sources, nature and character of authentic Christian leadership and enhancing the critical skills of persons engaged in the direction of congregations or church-related institutions.

Click here to learn more about the program.

Click here to read about cohort-based learning.

Click here to sign up to receive information and updates about the program.

Click here to watch a webinar of Will talking about the D.Min. program.

Recent Teaching

Each year, Will teaches Introduction to Christian Ministry: Ordained Leadership, one of the most popular electives for Masters of Divinity students. Out of the teaching of this class sprang Pastor, which has since become a standard text, used at over a dozen seminaries.

In recent years, he has also taught masters courses called Local Church in Mission to God’s World, Preaching the Psalms with Stephen Chapman, and Preaching with Barth.

Bishop Willimon is an engaging yet relatable teacher. His teaching combines the best of thorough academic preparation with practical wisdom for the local church. His decades of experience as a preacher give him an unmatched reservoir of stories, illustrations and anecdotes that bring theology into the heart and mind of the listener.

– Parker Haynes
Elder, Western NC Conference of the UMC

Contact Duke Divinity School Admissions for help figuring out if learning from Will at DDS is part of God’s call for you.


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