It was his intention to become a doctor. A medical doctor. Actually, when Ted Kang completes the Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program at Alliance Theological Seminary (ATS) in 2021, the healing power of the Gospels will be exactly what the Great Physician ordered for the people whose lives Ted will would touch.
What could be better medicine for others and for himself than the Good News?
The journey of answering the call to ministry included traveling around the globe with Youth With a Mission and eventually earning an M.Div. He and his wife, Sandy, who he met in seminary married in 2001. In March 2002, the Kangs joined San Jose Christian Alliance Church (SJCAC) as missionary interns with hopes of serving in Asia.
God’s plan was for them to “bloom where they were planted,” as pastors at San Jose Christian Alliance Church. Their season of blooming eventually led Ted to step into the senior leadership of the church, surrendering their initial plans for overseas ministry.
Two years into his senior leadership role, the mission of the ministry, “bringing people to wholeness and fruitfulness” took root in Ted’s life on a fresh, new level. Not satisfied to lead solely with his academic and experiential credentials, he began to research D.Min. programs.
“I didn’t want my leadership to hit the ceiling,” he explains. “A part of my leadership ceiling was that I didn’t know how to take our church to make an impact in this fast changing culture. I started to ask some friends who had gone through D.Min. programs and came upon ATS.”
An academic program was not a prerequisite for him, but one that could contribute to his personal growth as a leader. Describing D.Min. programs as typically “highly academic with a lot of research and reading,” he began to hone in on the topic of evangelism. “That’s how the Lord led me to consider ATS. I really wanted to look into the area of leadership development and how to develop leaders.”
Echoing the sentiment of other ATS D.Min. students, he mentions the program’s course on “soul care” as a pivotal part of personal transformation.
“I think God freed me from a lot of lies of past experiences that became a limitation for processing leadership failures. It’s not something we want to hide or run away from. There is so much to learn by looking at your failures and processing that.”
He adds, “Soul care is a concept that has been around since the beginning. It’s the essence of discipleship. The sad part is that the church has taken the idea of discipleship more as an academic endeavor of gaining knowledge and information; but what Jesus meant about discipleship was to have transformation from the inside out.”
What better way to begin impacting other lives than by first pursuing wholeness for yourself?
Ted’s change took place right before his family’s eyes. It was noticed in particular by the most important people a parent could want to impact, namely his children. He relates during a dinner conversation that one of his four daughters asked if he could please call Martin Sanders (D.Min. program director) and thank him for her. Her response to his “Why?” spoke volumes about the impact of the program on her father. She wanted him to thank Dr. Sanders for her “new” father.
What exactly does the new Ted look like to his children? You can safely assume his daughter’s response put a lump in his throat. She said, “You are a lot more patient. You’re the same person that I see at church and you have become more loving. I think you love Mommy more than before or ever.”
Recognizing a “new Ted Kang” did not stop with his family. His church staff says that he is a different leader. Members of his congregation have commented about a new depth to his teaching.
Dr. Sanders and other faculty members like Dr. Rob Reimer and Dr. Sherwood Lingenfelter are people Ted credits with his life-changing D.Min. experience. But he is equally grateful for members of his cohort.
“Our contexts are very different, but being able to translate what they experience and have gone through has helped me to think about my own ministry context. That has been invaluable to me. The other part is the fellowship. Even after the first cohort, we stayed in touch, Skyped, prayed and encouraged one another to make sure we were pressing through. That has been a beautiful part.”
“I would say there are many great D.Min. programs, but I think ATS is the most developmental program out there. As I write papers and go through readings, this really was an experience of a real transformation not just in my mind, but in my heart; not just as a pastoral leader but as a husband and father and friend to many people. I just feel like I’ve gone through a radical inside-out transformation.”
Learn more about ATS D.Min. program.