Impact Story: Paul Thompson

March 21, 2023

Northern Seminary has been preparing leaders since 1913 who will serve Jesus Christ and the world He loves. Paul Thompson has been a part of Northern’s storied history, and continues to be fruitful in ministry decades after graduation.

“I graduated from Northern with the original Bachelor’s in Divinity degree in 1965 and upgraded it to the Master’s of Divinity in 1972,” he said. “I received the Doctor of Ministry degree from the school in 1983.”

Thompson, the youngest of nine children, was born and raised on a dairy farm in central Minnesota. He graduated from Wheaton College with a Communication Arts degree before enrolling at Northern Seminary. “When I was sixteen, I received a very direct call to ministry,” he said. “I had resisted it for some time because all my brothers and sisters had received the same and I wanted to be different, but surrendered my will to the Lord.” Four other siblings in addition to Paul attended Northern as well: Henry, David, Edward, and Mary Anne.

He met his wife Sue, who was enrolled in the college division of Northern, which is now Judson University. “While I was a student at Northern in the early 1960’s, I became the business administrator of Judson University. I was involved in overseeing the building of the first eight buildings on Judson’s campus, developing the campus, and managing the business affairs of the school,” he said. The Thompsons’ three children all graduated from Judson. He and Sue are grandparents of six and great-grandparents of two. The couple recently celebrated their 53rd anniversary.

“God’s assignment to ministry other than serving at Judson was to serve a church that was either in a declining mode or had major internal conflicts,” Thompson said. “I became the agent to either renew the congregation’s vision or bring healing and set it in a new direction. In my forty years as a senior pastor, I ministered to six churches in Michigan, Kansas, California, and Ohio. I then became the Discipleship Director for North American Baptist Conference. I was responsible for pastoral placement, church enrichment, church intervention and other ministries. My final full-time ministry position was at The Chapel in St. Joseph, MI as Administrative Pastor.” Thompson is now enjoying a slightly more relaxed season of ministry as he serves on staff at Calvary Church in Lancaster, PA, assisting with pastoral care duties.

Thompson and his siblings who attended Northern established and endowed a scholarship program to help future students in their training at the school. The family’s role in Northern’s history is not a past-tense story, but is continuing to create a spiritual legacy for a whole new generation of students.