My colleague George Robinson, Josh Via, colleague Tate Cockrell, and me after Josh’s defense

Today my long time friend, former student, and now my doctoral student Josh Via  successfully defended his doctor of ministry project. Josh represents so many of the students I’ve had the honor of mentoring through doctoral work.

Josh didn’t need to earn a doctorate to validate his ministry. He’s a remarkable worship leader, missionary/pastor, and church leader.  His family represents the beauty of God’s church: a wonderful wife named Tasha, his co-laborer in ministry; beautiful children in their self-described “colony,” including precious Alethia adopted from Uganda (that’s another story in itself); and a dad, mom, and siblings all devoted to the gospel.

Josh wants to do more for God, not less. His project challenged his worship team at Journey Church to be more missional in their everyday lives. He wants those who lead from the stage to live a life that represents the mission of God in every day life, and not just on the platform. He’s written a very helpful manual to help do just that which I hope to help him publish.

I’ve lost count of the number of doctoral students I’ve mentored. To this point they’ve all been in the PhD and D.Min programs, though I’m now happy to have my first EDD students as well.  Several of them teach at academic institutions, a number of them are published authors, and as a group they are doing much to help fulfill the great commission in our lifetime.

These students have taught me more than I’ve taught them. Some of the greatest learning I’ve  experienced has come from working with them. They have helped immensely with the books I’ve written. Today, I offer a tribute to all the doctoral students who have come to Southeastern, especially mine. It’s a huge commitment to pursue doctoral work. I’m honored to serve you.

And today, a special congrats to Josh, a humble, focused, gifted, man of God. I’m proud of you.

One thought on “A Tribute to Doctoral Students

  1. It’s hard to imagine how we could have taught you more than you have taught us. Thank you for such kind words and for your passion for the gospel.

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