Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

Karen Claassen, DMin

Second Advisor

Ekaputra Tupamahu, PhD


Pastors may view their divine calling as quid pro quo assurance against personal suffering. Yet everyone suffers. Seminaries train pastors in the technical skills required for ministry, but hermeneutics and homiletics do not help a pastor who is wounded. Churchcraft is about thriving as a leader in a church environment and acquiring the navigational tools, experiential knowledge, and soft skills to do so. Section 1 establishes the problem: Misperceptions about typical pastoral suffering, the disorientation it causes, and the lack of tools needed to respond in a productive way. Section 2 presents possible responses such as Stoicism, Legalism, Epicureanism, increasing one’s faith, and adapting through resiliency. But what ministers really need is a new perception of their suffering and tools to work through it. Therefore, Section 3 introduces the art of Churchcraft. When pastors possess the tools to work through their ministry wounds, it can help them grow spiritually and use their experience to compassionately guide others. A better perception is that suffering finds meaning when it helps pastors help others—ultimately giving a pastor’s wounds a winsome effect. The metanarrative of scripture is presented as comedy and a case study from Matthew 15 demonstrates Jesus’ perceptive genius in dealing with the daily challenges of ministry. A literary and theological perspective substantiate these tools: A theology of suffering; personal agency; self-differentiation, and a comic spirit. Section 4 presents an application of the research. Navigational tools may be taught from mentor to apprentice. The artifact, a book, attempts to play the role of mentor using stories and experiences to translate written words into so-called elbow knowledge. The book serves as the basis for development of a Churchcraft Apprenticeship and Advance (retreat), in which seasoned pastors act as mentors to younger pastors. Section 5 suggests further research opportunities related to Churchcraft.

Included in

Christianity Commons