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Doctor of Ministry Student, Rev. Steven Trefz, Receives The Journal of Christian Ministry Award of Excellence

EVANSTON, Illinois, April 2013 – The Association for Doctor of Ministry Education (ADME) has selected current Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) student, Rev. Steven Trefz, as the recipient of The Journal of Christian Ministry Award of Excellence for his recently completed thesis. Entitled “Picturing” Lay Ministry: Photovoice and Participatory Group Spiritual Gifts Assessment, Trefz’s thesis was chosen from hundreds of D.Min. theses from 55 ADME represented schools across the United States and Canada. 

Steven TrefzTrefz presented his thesis at ADME’s annual conference, held at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Illinois, on April 12. In his research, Trefz used the visual methodology of photovoice (taking and describing photos of ministry in one's community) as a way of generating participatory laity discernment around the topics of calling, rural ministry, and spiritual gifts. His research, involving 62 laypersons, shows that a photovoice intervention can positively impact participants’ awareness and ownership of calling and spiritual giftedness. It also encourages people to recognize how they are already, often unwittingly, engaging in ministry as well as pointing them toward hope-filled opportunities for mission.

Trefz, an ordained elder in the Dakotas Conference of The United Methodist Church, received his Master of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical in 2005 and will graduate this May with his D.Min. When asked about his experience in the D.Min. program and his thesis, Trefz said, “I ventured into the Doctor of Ministry program at Garrett-Evangelical in hopes of regaining a focus and a faithfulness to the ministry that first called me. The faculty and staff at Garrett-Evangelical worked together to make my project possible, and for them and for the ministry of the Doctor of Ministry program I give God the thanks and praise. This award speaks to their leadership, as well as to my cohort of fellow students who questioned and supported my studies along the way.” 

Rev. Dr. Mark Teasdale, the Director of Garrett-Evangelical’s Doctor of Ministry program and Trefz’s advisor, said, “ADME’s recognition of Steve’s thesis is a powerful external affirmation of the program we have developed. Three years ago, the Doctor of Ministry program launched a completely revamped curriculum and structure. Steven was among the first students to move through the updated program and we are thrilled he has received this honor.”

Launched in 2010, the revised Doctor of Ministry program has five areas of concentration including congregational leadership and spiritual formation. “We believe we have created one of the most academically sound and ministerially practical Doctor of Ministry programs in the United States,” said Teasdale. “Our students are not only receiving a solid education, but are graduating equipped to be blessings to the church by exploring and articulating innovative forms of ministry.”

To learn more about the D.Min. program at Garrett-Evangelical, please visit To learn more about The Association for Doctor of Ministry Education (ADME), go to

Garrett-Evangelical, a graduate school of theology related to The United Methodist Church, was founded in 1853. Located on the campus of Northwestern University, the seminary serves more than 500 students from many denominations and various cultural backgrounds, fostering an atmosphere of ecumenical interaction. Garrett-Evangelical creates bold leaders through master of divinity, master of arts, master of theological studies, doctor of philosophy and doctor of ministry degrees. Its 4,500 living alumni serve church and society around the world.


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