LGP Stories

Personal Stories from DLGP

I made it!

Written by: on January 21, 2019

I made it!


I have what it takes.


I began this year wondering if I could cut it. Did I have what it takes to sit with the big dogs in a Doctoral Program. Well here I am, writing my year-in-review statement. Granted I haven’t seen my summer semester grades yet…


What surprised me from being a participant in this D.Min. LGP8 group is how much connection we were able to build with our fellow cohort. Despite having only seen each other in person for two weeks, we were able to connect very quickly. This comradery has been a huge asset to everyone in this group, as every week we seem to be rotating through who needs prayer or encouragement because of a life struggles or difficulty grasping the material.


Secondly, I was surprised by how much I learned from reading my colleagues posts. We were after all, all reading the same things. But everyweek I seemed to be asking myself, “how could I have missed that!?” as I read the other’s posts. Their perspectives on the reading, personal takeaways, and the steps they took to apply that same raw information was some of the most significant learning moments for me in this program. This is doubly true for how I saw them integrate these findings into their own field of study. Many of these items were utilized and applied in ways I could have never thought of. This became a very edifying process for me as a researcher. I noticed that this level of interaction and discussion in our group was a major between my previous experience with graduate school where so much of the discussion was just students reviewing what we had all read in the material.


The best way to describe how I have grown this last year would be to simply share how I was able to respond to a recent nearby event that happened in Sacramento where I pastor. My response to this event represented a culmination of engagement, learning, and being taken out of my previous comfortable shell. I’m talking about how I was able to respond to the shooting of Stephon Clark, and how I was able to address my congregation because of the process I had been going through. Here are some of the different influences the last year of our learning had on my life.


  • I was courageous enough to address a racial issue because of Capetown. Now, what will I say?
  • I knew people were drawing lines because of Imagined Communities. Would they feel community with me?
  • I knew Idealism was not enough because of To Change The World. So, what were we to do?
  • I knew why people were being more and more polarized over this issue because of The Righteous Mind. Now, how do I unify?


I honestly don’t think I would have addressed this topic had I not gone through this program, I would have like so many pastors, had regular Sunday morning church, without even giving any notice to what had just happened. I’m grateful to God for the development and confidence this process has infused into my life.



About the Author

Kyle Chalko

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