First-ever Doctor of Ministry (Dmin) Postdoctoral Fellow: David McDonald

Portland Seminary is excited to announce its first DMin Postdoctoral Fellow. David McDonald, a 2006 DMin in Leadership and Emerging Culture alumnus, will return to the seminary to work with lead mentor Leonard Sweet and his Preaching as Story DMin cohort. McDonald is the lead pastor at Westwinds Church, an influential non-denominational church in Jackson, Mich., that has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Time magazine.McDonald

“Have you ever been in a room where somebody told a joke, but it wasn’t really funny, so the joke-teller kept pressing and pressing until people courtesy-laughed? That’s the church experience in America today. The jokes are tired. No matter how many times we tell them, and no matter how much energy we expend, people no longer enjoy our preaching,” says McDonald, “Like tired comedians, we’re going to be telling our church jokes to smaller and smaller audiences until the only ones who listen are other tired comics looking for next weekend’s material.”

However, this is precisely why McDonald wanted to work with the Preaching as Story program in the accompanying postdoctoral position at the seminary.

“There has never been a revolution in preaching, but I'm excited to work with George Fox to redefine oratory for the world of Last Week Tonight,” says McDonald of the opportunity.

The seminary is enthusiastic about this new postdoctoral position. It may be the first of its kind for the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree and programs, and a historic achievement for the seminary.

“When designing the position, we were not able to find any evidence in our research that any other university or seminary has ever offered a DMin postdoctoral position. We repeatedly had to turn to PhD postdoctoral positions for examples and ideas for creating our own,” says Loren Kerns, director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Portland Seminary, “It is really a testament to Leonard Sweet’s vision as a futurist and semiotician.”

When asked about how the leading-edge nature of this program and position, McDonald confidently replies, “Portland Seminary is the most innovative seminary on the planet. If there's anywhere we can press into the future, it's at George Fox. Fox is the model laboratory for creativity, imagination and change.”

The position will serve as a pilot for future postdoctoral positions that the seminary plans to make available to Doctor of Ministry alumni and graduates across the world. Kerns notes,

“We are excited for what future holds, and we are anticipating great things from David and the Preaching as Story program here at George Fox.”