James Nieman, Academic Dean, has announced that Dr. Scott Thumma, Professor of Sociology of Religion, is the Seminary?s new Director of the Doctor of Ministry program. Dr. Thumma adds this to serving also as Director of the Seminary?s Distance Education efforts, the Parish Inventory program and a member of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.
Dr. Thumma has been a faculty member at the Seminary since 1997. Nieman said, “I am confident that Dr. Thumma will be of great service to Doctor of Ministry students and graduates in this new role. He has decades of experience in researching the dynamics of congregations of diverse faith traditions. Additionally, his work with Hartford Institute ensures that he is aware of the latest religious trends and social shifts.”
In reflecting on this new appointment, Dr. Thumma said, “This is an enormously challenging time to be a clergyperson in a local congregation. Both denominational structures and dynamics within congregations are being reshaped by rapid changes in American life. Leadership teams in congregations need fresh ideas and a challenge to be innovative along with the support of their peers and colleagues as they undertake this formidable task. Our Doctor of Ministry program offers this combination. Hartford Seminary’s academic and research resources, when applied to the Doctor of Ministry program, make it uniquely qualified to address this changing context and assist clergy in these critical pastoral ventures.”
Dr. Thumma has a Ph.D. from Emory University in Atlanta and a Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory. His areas of academic specialization are congregational studies, sociology of religion and contemporary religious movements.
Dr. Thumma has studied megachurches, gay religious life, and recently nondenominational religious trends and congregational use of Internet technologies.Besides journal articles and book chapters, Dr. Thumma is co-author of The Other 80%: Turning Your Church’s Spectators into Active Participants(2011), Beyond Megachurch Myths (2007) and Gay Religion (2001).