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Scott McClelland Brings Experience and Expertise to the College of Theology

by South University
June 5, 2015 Scott McClelland started out in college with plans to become a medical doctor, but along the way fou
Faculty member Scott McClelland

Scott McClelland started out in college with plans to become a medical doctor, but along the way found himself drawn to another area of study—biblical studies, and the ways in which this field encompasses and addresses issues applicable to the daily lives of all people.

After earning his BA and MA in Biblical Studies at Wheaton College, he continued on to Westminster Theological Seminary to earn his Th.M. and then The University of Edinburgh for a Doctor of Philosophy. During his years at graduate school, Dr. McClelland developed a passion for education and the practical application of theological scholarship.

He explains, “I began to understand how scholarship can inform churches and church life, the applicability of biblical studies to the pulpit, and that the work we were doing as scholars should never be far from the life of the average churchgoer practicing their faith.”

Connecting Two Worlds

When friends or colleagues asked Dr. McClelland, Do you want to be a professor or do you want to be a pastor?, his answer was always yes. Thus, he found a way to become both. He says “I went back and forth between the two worlds,” adding, “I have done so ever since.” Today, he is a Program Director for the fully online Doctor of Ministry program at South University, Online Programs.

South University’s Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program is intended to give students of all faith traditions an opportunity to

  • study the nature and purpose of ministry
  • enhance skills in leadership and ministry
  • promote personal and professional growth and spiritual maturity.

Dr. McClelland explains “Because we are boldly multi-denominational, we can bring together people from a number of different traditions to discuss, debate, and share perspectives.”

The program is also uniquely designed with two distinct tracks—a Standard Track for students with a bachelor’s degree in which students can earn DMin in as few as three years and an Advanced Track for those who already hold related graduate degrees.

“No other DMin program I know allows a person to begin a DMin track without a Master of Divinity degree” says Dr McClelland. “There are thousands of people ministering who didn’t qualify for a DMin program until now. Now, we can take that experience they have from all those years, along with their educational background, and we can formalize that experience with access to education they would have otherwise never had.”

In addition to his role as Program Director, Dr. McClelland is also an instructor in the DMin program. As part of his teaching strategy, he follows the methods of the Apostle Paul, who, instead of answering questions, taught individuals to think through the problem. In this way, students are prepared to find solutions to future questions that come up outside the classroom setting.

He explains, “Many students are still trying to search for right and wrong answers instead of exploring ideas. So I try to expose students to a process of self discovery. I help them to consider ideas and concepts they haven’t understood before while guiding them in interpreting scriptures of the past and then applying that same meaning to today’s contemporary issues. Just as importantly, I show them how to teach congregations to use this same strategy themselves.”

Spirituality at Wild Goose Festival

This July, Dr. McClelland is attending the Wild Goose Festival in Hot Springs, NC, an outdoor festival taking place from July 9-12, 2015 that explores the intersection of spirituality, justice, music and the arts. At this festival, he is excited to talk with those who share his interests, to hear from renowned speakers and musicians, and to introduce others to the opportunities available at South University.

“The church has been impacted not just by globalism and related social change, but also the disruption and distrust of authority that has been going on since the 1960s. All of these things have converged and a number of people are now questioning the fortressing around who is in and who is out that can take place in a religion,” says Dr. McClelland. “People are searching for the next expression of the church that will take into consideration these broader perspectives and that will advocate for the dignity of humans across the globe. So that’s what Wild Goose is all about—searching for the next iteration of the church that will be faithful to a message that promotes peace, acceptance of people, and justice for all.”

If you’re attending Wild Goose Festival, stop by the Spirituality Tent to meet Dr. McClelland (or email to arrange a time to chat) and discuss our Doctor of Ministry program. 

Or, learn more online about this program and South University today!

See for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, alumni success, and other important info.

The Information and opinions expressed herein represent the independent opinions and ideas of the faculty and/or staff and do not represent the opinions or ideas of South University.

Tags: theology faculty ministry

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