Doctor of Ministry Faculty

Dr. Frederick D. Aquino, Professor of Systematic Theology

M.Div., Abilene Christian University, 1993; M.A., Abilene Christian University, 1994; Ph.D., Southern Methodist University, 2000.

Fred brings his strong experience as a philosophical theologian into active conversation with preaching and ministry. Known for his thoughtful questions and his deep intellect, he enjoys his experiences with D.Min. students at the intersection of faith, knowledge, and practice.

Dr. Jonathan Camp, Assistant Professor of Communication; Director, Organizational Development Program

B.A., Harding University, 1995; M.Div., Harding Graduate School of Religion, 1999; D.Min., Abilene Christian University, 2007; Ph.D., The University of Memphis, 2008.

As a graduate of ACU's D.Min. program, Jon served as a minister for several years. He completed a Ph.D. in Communication and now directs ACU's master’s program in Organizational Development. His primary focus is on leadership in "helping" professions such as healthcare and ministry. Jon conducts research on communication habits of leaders who practice healthy self-differentiation amid conflict. As a qualitative researcher, he prepares congregational leaders in methods which cultivate deep attentiveness to underlying organizational structures, especially as they relate to uncovering and addressing conditions of marginality and exclusion.

Dr. Jeff Childers, Professor; Carmichael-Walling Chair of New Testament and Early Christianity

B.A., Abilene Christian University, 1989; M.A., M.Div., ACU, 1992; M.St., University of Oxford, 1993; D.Phil., University of Oxford, 1996.

Jeff has been teaching in the D.Min. program for over ten years, utilizing his gifted scholarship to inform Christian spiritual formation and congregational vitality. These commitments are reflected in his own publishing, which includes: Crux of the MatterUnveiling Glory: Visions of Christ’s Transforming Presence, At the River’s Edge, "When Worlds Collide: Clashing Spiritual Styles in Church," and "Moving to the Rhythms of Christian Life: Baptism for Children Raised in the Church." Jeff finds it especially gratifying to work with ministerial leaders in the D.Min. program, learning about their contexts and coaching them as they imagine new and richer ways to apply the wisdom of the Christian tradition in their own ministries.

Dr. Chris Flanders, Associate Professor of Missions; Director, Halbert Institute for Missions

B.A., Abilene Christian University; M.S., Abilene Christian University; M.Div., Abilene Christian University; Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary

Chris brings more than a decade of mission work and church planting to his ongoing consultation practice with church leaders, ministers, and missionaries. His newly published book, About Face: Rethinking Face for 21st Century Mission, reflects his commitments to reading culture to inform ministry and mission. Chris loves to engage ministers and leaders in the ongoing conversation about how missional theology shapes North American ecclesial practices.


Dr. Mark Hamilton, Onstead Professor of Old Testament

B.A., Freed-Hardeman College; M.A., Abilene Christian University; M.Div., Abilene Christian University; Ph.D., Harvard University.

After ministering several years in congregations in Connecticut and Massachusetts and studying at Harvard University, Mark moved to ACU in 2000. Through his teaching of Hebrew and Old Testament, he tries to convey to students in both graduate and undergraduate classes a passion for the "strange world of Scripture," and to draw anyone who will listen into the stories, rituals, poems, and prayers that make up Israel's texts. To that end, he speaks often in churches and schools in the United States and has taught in colleges in New Zealand, Croatia, Ghana, and Russia. The author of numerous books and articles, he seeks above all to love his family—Samjung, Nathan, and Hannah—and to use his gifts to bring glory to God. 


Randy Harris, Instructor; Spiritual Director, College of Biblical Studies and Siburt Institute for Church Ministry

B.A., Harding University, 1979; M.A,, M.Th., Harding School of Theology, 1983; M.Phil., Syracuse University, 1987, Ph.D. candidate, Syracuse University.

Randy Harris is Spiritual Director for the College of Biblical Studies and the Siburt Institute for Church Ministry, where he leads the Contemplative Ministers Initiative. He also teaches in ACU's Department of Bible, Missions, and Ministry where he has earned numerous faculty awards, and previously taught at Lipscomb University. His areas of expertise are modern theology and ethics. He was the preaching minister for ten years at the Donelson Church of Christ in Nashville, and for two years at South 11th and Willis Church of Christ in Abilene. Randy has authored three books, God Work, Soul Work, and Living Jesus. He is a spiritual director and certified by the Shalem Institute.  



Dr. Elaine Heath, McCreless Professor of Evangelism, Southern Methodist University; Adjunct Professor at ACU

B.A. Oakland University, 1990; M.Div., Ashland Theological Seminary, 1995; Ph.D., Duquesne University, 2002.

From The Mystic Way of Evangelism to her forthcoming title, Gospel Bearing: The Theory and Practice of Apostolic Life, Elaine demonstrates her commitment to the integration of theology and congregational practices. Elaine is deeply involved in both intentional, missional communities and established congregations. As a noted lecturer, teacher, and learning facilitator, her work creates a marvelous backdrop for ministers and D.Min. students to expand their facility for leadership, discipleship, and evangelism.

  Dr. Houston Heflin, Associate Professor of Ministry

B.S., Abilene Christian University, 1995; M.S., Abilene Christian University, 1997; Ed.D., Southern Seminary, Louisville, KY, 2004.

Houston has been teaching at ACU for over a decade, instructing especially on the art of teaching, dedicated to helping students become better teachers for their contexts. After completing his bachelor's degree he spent a number of years as a youth minister in Richardson, Texas. He has been part of a number of publications including his books Youth Pastor: The Theology and Practice of Youth Ministry (2009) and Teaching Eutychus: Engaging Today's Learners with Passion and Creativity (2012). Houston and his wife Karen live in Abilene with their four daughters.


 Dr. Stephen Johnson, Associate Professor; Vice President of Academic Affairs, ACU Dallas

B.A., Abilene Christian University, 1990; M.S., Abilene Christian University, 1994; M.Div., Abilene Christian University, 1996; D.Min., Abilene Christian University, 2000; Th.D., University of Toronto, Victoria University, 2007.

Stephen brings a solid balance of academia and ministry into the mix at ACU, with over 20 years of preaching experience and two doctorates. He has been teaching at ACU for 15 years, and has been preaching at the Buffalo Gap Church of Christ for over a decade. He earned the ACU Honors Program Professor of the Year award for the 2007-2008 school year, as well as the ACU College of Biblical Studies Outstanding Faculty Member award the following year. Stephen is responsible for a number of publications on homiletics and preaching over the years and has presented at the Christian Scholars Conference, Cascade College Expositors Seminar, the Annual Meeting of Academy of Homiletics, and many other conferences. He and his wife Gayna currently reside in Dallas and have two daughters and one son.



Dr. Thomas Long, Brady Professor of Preaching, Candler School of Theology (Emory); Adjunct Professor at ACU

B.A., Erksine College, 1968; M.Div.; Erksine Theological Seminary, 1971; Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary, 1980

Renowned as teacher of homiletics and as a powerful preacher, Tom Long brings both scholarship and practice together in the classroom. His textbooks on preaching and his commitment to congregational vitality make him an excellent resource for our D.Min. program. But what students and preachers may appreciate more than anything else is Tom's pastoral insight and his capacity to help preachers develop the art of preaching in ways that serve the church's mission.


Dr. Royce Money, Professor; Chancellor 

B.A., Abilene Christian University; M.Div., Abilene Christian University; M.S., University of Nebraska; Ph.D., Baylor University.

Royce Money became Chancellor of ACU in 2010, after serving 19 years as ACU's tenth President. In September 2012, he founded the Siburt Institute for Church Ministry and continues to serve on the executive leadership team. He has been an elder in Abilene and has ministered to churches in Texas, Alabama, Maryland, and Missouri. He and Pam, his wife of 50 years, have two daughters and six grandchildren. Fun fact: in 1987, he was the first director of ACU's D.Min. Program.


Dr. Carson E. Reed, Assistant Professor of Practical Theology; Director, Doctor of Ministry; Vice President, Church Relations

B.A. Oklahoma Christian University; M.Div., Harding School of Theology; D.Min., Abilene Christian University.

Carson brings 30 years of congregational ministry into conversation with the renewed discipline of practical theology. Recognized as a minister to ministers, he sees his task as bringing the many resources of ACU and of the academy to revitalize congregational leaders in partnering with God’s mission in the world.

Dr. Timothy R. Sensing, Professor of Ministry; Associate Dean, Graduate School of Theology

M.Th., Harding Graduate School of Religion, 1984; D.Min., HGSR, 1992; Th.M., Duke Divinity School, 1994; Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 1998.

Tim’s involvement with the D.Min. program began in 1999. Emerging from that work are two books, Qualitative Research: A Multi-Methods Approach to Projects for Doctor of Ministry Theses and The Effective Practice of Ministry: Essays in Memory of Charles Siburt. Tim's primary area of research is in homiletics, narrative research models, and ethnographic based congregational studies.

Dr. Jerry Taylor, Associate Professor, Department of Bible, Missions, and Ministry

B.A., Southwestern Christian College, 1984; M.Div., Southern Methodist University, 1988; D.Min., Southern Methodist University, 1995.

Jerry’s passion is preaching, but what fuels that passion is his relentless commitment to be in the presence of God. Highly sought after as a preacher across the country, Jerry travels widely. Yet the thing that keeps Jerry grounded is his disciplined commitment to the practices of silence and solitude. In the D.Min. program, Jerry helps preachers manage the practices of engagement with multicultural social contexts while listening to the voice of God.

Dr. David Wray, Faculty Emeritus, College of Biblical Studies; Director, ACU Summit

B.S., Abilene Christian College, 1967; M.S., Abilene Christian University, 1970; D.R.E., Temple Baptist Theological Seminary, 1995.

David Wray is an elder at the Highland Church of Christ in Abilene. He served for 20 years in congregational ministry before transitioning to teaching and administering in the College of Biblical Studies at ACU. During his tenure at ACU, some of David’s roles included Associate Professor of Ministry and Christian Education; Chair of the Department of Bible, Missions, and Ministry; and Associate Dean for Spiritual Life and Co-Curriculum. After retiring from ACU, David has continued to consult with church leaders and teach in ACU’s D.Min. program, and currently directs ACU Summit.



Dr. Richard Wright, Associate Professor of New Testament

B. Mus., Oberlin Conservatory of Musicc, 1984; A.B., Oberlin College, 1984; M.A., Abilene Christian University, 1986; M.T.S., Southern Methodist University, 1988; Ph.D., Brown University, 1994.

Richard is a highly decorated professor with an interest in music as well as theology and Scripture. He taught at Oklahoma Christian University for nearly a decade, being granted tenure in 2014. He now teaches a number of courses at ACU as the Associate Professor of New Testament, with three books currently on the way, adding to his considerable publishing experience. Recently he received the Rowe Distinguished Scholar Award from Oklahoma Christian University.


    Application Deadline:
 Summer 2017
  • January 15, 2017

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Featured Spotlight

For some, the journey to victory can be pretty grueling. Such was the case for Danny Mercer, preaching minister for Friendswood Church of Christ near Houston. After suffering from a cancerous brain tumor, he beat the disease and completed his Doctor of Ministry degree at ACU in 2013.


Read more about 
Danny's journey


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