“I’ve been preaching all of my life,” says Doctor of Ministry Program Director at South University, Tampa Campus and Orlando Learning Site Dr. Paul McCuistion. “When I was three or four, I’d have my stuffed animals lined up on the bed and I’d be preaching to them.”
Although he’s been a professor now for over eight years (and loving every minute of it), Dr. McCuistion has spent much of his professional life working full- or part-time in the pulpit. He actively practiced ministry for 20 years, some full time; some bi-vocational. “There aren’t many careers that you could name that I haven’t somehow come in contact with,” he says. “I did construction, insurance, title work, a little bit of everything, and enjoying life.” Some were to support ministry and others to support my family while I did graduate work.
At 52, he decided he wanted even more. “I walked into the house one day and told my lovely wife, ‘I think I'll go back to school,’” he recalls. That announcement, that decision, turned into an 11-year quest resulting in two master’s degrees and a PhD. First, he earned a Master of Arts in the New Testament from Johnson University and a Master of Arts in Theology from Saint Leo University—where he also began serving as an Adjunct Professor.
For Dr. McCuistion, teaching feels right. He loves to do it and has for a long time. In fact, he remembers attending his first Bible camp at age nine and then returning the following Sunday to share a full report of what he learned in front of the church congregation.
“I always knew that I could teach; it’s just a gift,” he says. “When God sets his sights on something, there’s no guesswork about it. You know the call and you know that you’re responsible for it.”
Soon after his master’s, Dr. McCuistion earned a Doctor of Philosophy in the New Testament from the North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa. He then taught at two other institutions before joining the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program at South University in 2016.
“Coming to South University has been the highlight of my academic career,” he says. “Not only am I getting to work with world-class scholars, but this program is the first I’ve seen that’s truly connecting the study of theology with the application of theology in church ministry.”
The practicality of South University’s DMin program aligns well with what Dr. McCuistion is doing in his own personal ministry, Teaching4Jesus Ministries. Through Teaching4Jesus, Dr. McCuistion leads a seminar that helps churches to sharpen their focus on Jesus. Working with his brother, David whose background is in organizational leadership, Dr. McCuistion also guides church leaders in developing and refining their mission, vision, goals, and strategy—ensuring that these all tie back to that underlying theological focus. Their vision for T4J is Empowering Christians for service that builds up of the body of Christ.
The DMin program at South University has been a great fit for Dr. McCuistion, who sees extreme value in the way the program teaches students not only the underlying theology of ministry, but also gives them practical tools and strategies for connecting it to their ministry practice.
“First, we lay the foundation and then we move into ministry skills—leadership and management, discipleship, communication skills, conflict mediation. Then there are practicum courses and advanced ministry skills. The program moves from theology to application of theology,” he explains. “I think it’s tremendous.”
Join Dr. McCuistion for a Workshop that can Support Your Ministry
This February, Dr. McCuistion and South University are offering a workshop for pastors in the Tampa and Orlando areas. The workshop, titled “Forging the Sword of the Spirit: Historical Survey of the Development of the New Testament Text,” will review the history of the written Bible and is designed to help ministry practitioners answer a question that many of today’s churchgoers are asking: “Can I trust the Bible to be God’s Word for today?”
All ministry professionals are invited to attend this workshop at South University, Tampa Campus on February 28th from 6 to 8pm and at our Orlando Learning Center on March 7th from 6 to 8pm. The event will include a Meet and Greet, a Presentation from Dr. McCuistion and a 30 minute Q&A session. If you can’t make it, follow South University on Facebook for news and other upcoming events. To learn more about the DMin program, request information online or at 1.888.444.3404 anytime.