Educating the Asian American Future: Interview with Ben Shin

Dr. Benjamin C. Shin was interviewed by Inheritance Magazine (March 2013) about the Talbot School of Theology’s Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) Asian American Ministry Track.

INH: How did you get involved with the inception of this program?

BENJAMIN: It started with the realization that maybe Western seminaries, as good as they are, might not be helping students in their own cultural context. So the idea for this program had been around for about a year, when the director of the D.Min. program came to me and asked if this was something I’d be interested in. It was a no-brainer for me, as I’m very passionate about this.

I’m at a point in my career where I’m trying to be more strategic. I’m training people who will be pastors in the M.Div. program, and I’m training pastors who are coming back for more education in the D.Min. program. I see myself as a shepherd or pastor to those pastors, and this program with Talbot will be a tremendous opportunity to do that.talbot-quote1

We are trying to retool, renew, and reform Asian American pastors and churches. As we retool them, we want to renew them with encouragement, with the hopes of reforming the Asian American church so they will be better and healthier for the future. And it all starts with the leaders. We want to help pastors understand what Asian American ministry is and how to succeed, flourish, and endure.

INH: Can you give us a sneak peak of what the program will be like?

BENJAMIN: We’ve set up classes for a three-year cohort, and we’ve hired what we think are the best speakers for this program. I was intent on getting a Japanese pastor (Pastor Cory Ishida), a Chinese former pastor turned strategist (DJ Chuang), a Korean pastor (Michael Lee), and an Asian cultural expert (Dr. Sheryl Silzer), who understands Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. That group will be completed by myself as the theologian/pastor. The five of us will be teaching different classes through the cohorts.

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