Can You See Yourself at Northern?

By: William D. Shiell

When you log into a Northern live stream classroom, you’re likely to meet one of six different kinds of students. Although they come from various backgrounds, every student wants to engage the Bible and lead church ministry. Take a look in the mirror, and see if you might recognize a familiar face.

1.) Full-time pastors increasing their knowledge

A congregation has already called these women and men to serve. These students plan to return to school after they paid down college debt and their children start elementary school. In other words, they are  waiting for the “right time.” Their spouse encourages them to come, and the Northern Live platform gives them the flexibility to fulfill their calling. They hear about our dedicated faculty and want to learn specifically from one of them.

2.) Missionaries serving around the world

These students are serving in places such as Kenya, Rwanda, and Mozambique. They are campus missionaries at Loyola University Chicago and Purdue. They come to Northern to learn how to train others in the field. In addition to sharing the gospel, they are starting pastoral training schools. They educate lay ministers in difficult areas to share the gospel publicly but where the church is growing exponentially.

3.) Lay ministers seeking personal spiritual growth

These lay ministers, who are often women, seek professional development and validation for their calling. People often discouraged them from pursuing ministry, and they feel insecure, initially. But their Northern experience provides long-lasting, deep friendships that give them the confidence to pursue their calling.

4.) Deacons deepening their faith

These servants have a zeal for ministry and are students of scripture but want to learn the practical aspects of counseling through trauma, pastoral care, and preaching. At first, they wonder why they ever need seminary. Once they arrive, they feel the complete opposite. They can’t imagine continuing in church ministry without seminary-level training.

5.) College students accelerating their learning

These students are dually enrolled at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois, while also attending Northern Seminary. They are excited to start pastoral ministry as soon as possible and are committed to a lifelong journey. Northern provides mentoring, coaching, and education so that these students can fulfill God’s call at an early age.

6.) Church planters evangelizing communities

These students are intentionally multi-vocational. They are energetic apostles who are committed to ministry in communities. They live, work, and play in places that need the gospel and are committed to starting churches and remaining there for the long haul. They are tired of the “sound and lights show” of the “church planting movement” of the 1990s and 2000s. Instead, they love the church and the community so much that they work where they minister and have a weekly rhythm of fellowship, work, worship, and Sabbath.

Can you see yourself in their shoes? Do you recognize someone in your church who looks like one of these students? If so, Northern is a community for you. Recommend someone to Northern today who can lead the church and engage the world.


July 16, 2021

William D. Shiell

President, Professor of Pastoral Theology and Preaching

ABOUT William

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