Paul McIlwraith

Teaching Pastor, North Park Community Church

Paul McIlwraith

Program: DMin, Preaching and Communication Track

I am currently a little more than half way through the DMIN Preaching and Communication program at Tyndale Seminary. I have to admit there are days that I look in the mirror and ask myself, “Why am I doing this?” The reading, course work and classes on top of an already busy ministry workload can be daunting at times but, it has also been so invigorating.

This program has exposed me to perspectives and scholarly thought around the practice of preaching that have broadened and enriched my understanding of what it means to stand in the pulpit and proclaim the word of God. There have been courses that have sharpened my sermon preparation skills and ones that have introduced me to the necessity of good, sound exegesis. Not only of the text, but also the congregation and setting that I preach to each week.

Perhaps the most significant learning for me has come through the courses that have had us reflect upon ourselves. It is through this knowledge of self, that I have been able to see with fresh insight, the instrument that God has chosen to speak for him. That is, me!

This program has been set up in a way that is challenging and yet very doable. The courses range from practical preaching skill development, to the study of books of the bible, to research techniques and analysis to self reflection and spiritual gifts assessment. The variety maintains my interest and also energizes me to get the most out of this opportunity.

I have found that the program has been designed specifically so that each course compliments the one before it and each year builds into the next. The teaching staff have been interesting and highly qualified and the supervisors of the program have been so helpful and accommodating. They seem to understand the demands and challenges of blending a Doctoral program and ministry in the local church and are quite available to answer any questions or tend to any needs.

My experience with Tyndale as an Educational Institution has been stellar. I completed my Master’s Degree there almost 15 years ago and that is what prompted me to choose Tyndale again for my Doctorate.

Now in my mid fifties, I wondered if it was too late to continue my studies and whether I was past my prime. My experiences in the DMIN program have challenged those assumptions and made me realize, that as followers of Jesus, we should never stop growing and learning and sharpening the gifts God has given us.

Maybe a little fringe benefit to my ongoing education has been the conversations I have had with my adult children. They have told me that when they see me, their dad plugging away in school, it has actually motivated them to stay the course in their own studies.

I would highly recommend the DMIN Preaching and Communication Track at Tyndale, especially to those who find themselves in the trenches of preaching on a regular basis. You will not regret it and your congregation will be sure to thank you.


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