Impact Story: Paul Rollet
Northern Seminary alumni Paul Rollet is heading west next year. Currently based in Kansas City, he’ll be spending the year traveling between the U.S. and the Philippines as he serves with Companion With The Poor. Companion With the Poor is a missional community based in Manila that has been planting holistic churches in the slums for over 30 years. They also help with health care, education, economic development, and youth outreach in the over 500 slum communities in Manila.
Rollet graduated from Northern Seminary in 2010. The school prepared him well for his current ministry. “I had a calling to ministry from when I was in high school – some who knew me as a child might argue the calling existed in my life before that,” he said. His pastor at the time encouraged him to first get a liberal arts degree before entering seminary. He received a B.A. in Sociology from North Central College before coming to Northern.
“I chose Northern because it allowed me to live and minister in the city and only have to go out to campus a few nights a week,” he said. “I was also able to manage full time ministry in the city with full time classes at Northern. And I was able to get a few scholarships that made my education more affordable so I didn’t have to take out any loans.”
While his entire experience at the school was transformational, Rollet cited his missions class with George Renner, urban ministry classes with Bob Price and Wayne Gordon, and Missional Theology classes with David Fitch as key to equipping him for his current ministry. “A few other highlights were my class in Republic of Georgia taught by John Sundquist, two independent studies in Costa Rica and Kenya with Bob Price and George Renner, and a Chicago intensive taught by Wayne Gordon and Ray Bakke. These classes were great because they introduced me more to the global and urban church and encouraged me to follow my calling as a missionary to the urban poor,” he said.
Rollet is a runner who has completed four marathons so far. He notes that long-distance running translates well as a metaphor for the Christian life. “I remember a few times going on a run from Northern’s campus in the middle of the winter and returning covered in snow and ice. Upon seeing me, my classmates thought I was crazy. But then, I believe I am a bit crazy, as are most of us who enter the ministry.”
He continued, “My ministry has led me to living with the poorest of the poor in Manila, almost dying of hunger as a result; serving alongside and with the homeless in Chicago, even sleeping at the homeless shelter and in the parks on occasion; and now venturing out by faith to help grow Companion With the Poor’s influence from Manila out into the rest of the world! If that isn’t as crazy as running a marathon or running through snow and ice, I’m not sure what is! But then, as the apostle Paul says, it is all for the sake of the Gospel and for Christ, that we might win a few and participate in God’s work of spreading the Kingdom of God throughout the world!” Northern prepared Rollet to run his race well.
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