Date of Conferral







James Keen


Although multiple studies have been conducted on the considerations of midcareer pastors from Christian denominations and faiths in making their decisions to seek graduate degrees in ministry, no study has been conducted with tenured pastors within the Apostolic Pentecostal ranks. The purpose of this study was to explore what these tenured pastors considered when deciding to enroll in a graduate degree program in ministry. This interview study, using a basic qualitative method, focused on 10 tenured Apostolic Pentecostal pastors who were recent graduates from a graduate ministry degree program at an institution that serves this denomination. The conceptual framework for this study was based largely on Cranton’s, Kegan’s, and Loder’s theories of transformative learning. The key themes from the participants’ reflections were both personal and professional and presented a better understanding of why tenured Apostolic Pentecostal pastors enroll in graduate degree programs. The findings of this study were that pastors had different considerations for enrolling in the graduate degree program depending upon which stage of their pastorate they were in. The younger pastors were motivated by self-identification, the mid-career pastors were interested in maintaining their congregations and the elder pastors were driven by their desire to invest in younger pastors. This research may help college and university educators tailor programs to meet the needs of this unique demographic and contribute to positive social change as pastors become more effective in leading social change initiatives in their churches and outreach programs.