Center for Urban Leadership

In Fall 2017, Northern Seminary launched an urban leadership training program in partnership with New Life Covenant Church SE and a community of South Side pastoral leaders.

The Center equips Christian leaders to engage in ministries of reconciliation to transform urban communities. Training is available at the Master’s, Graduate Certificate, and Certificate levels.

On October 5, 2016, twenty-four Christian leaders from Metro Chicago gathered to share their dreams for a seminary to train urban Christian leaders. The pastors of some of the most respected and prominent African American congregations expressed their disappointment in the training available to urban leaders.

Uniquely Designed by Urban Leaders for Urban Leaders
In collaboration with these pastoral leaders, Northern has created an accessible program reflecting the unique needs and challenges of urban leaders. Students are trained in theology, homiletics, and pastoral care in ways that lead to integration with the realities of the urban ministerial context.

Delivered in Context
The Center for Urban Leadership provides accessible training to students who live in the Metro Chicago-land area. Learning in the urban context from urban ministry practitioners provides students with the skills needed to engage their local communities.

Taught by Leading Practitioners
Courses are taught by expert faculty in urban and contextual ministry.

Biblical, Justice-Oriented, & Diverse
Northern Seminary is committed to biblical authority, justice in our communities, racial diversity, and women in ministry.

Northern Seminary’s Center for Urban Leadership delivers education so that:
1. Pastors are encouraged and strengthened to remain in their churches, and churches are able to sustain their ministries
2. Churches become centers of hope, healing, and help during troubled times.
3. People are converted to Christ because of the witness of the gospel in these pastors and church leaders.
4. Churches are able to provide sustainable financial solutions in their communities, where they are empowered and equipped to address problems.
5. Violence and poverty are reduced because churches are offering hope and help.

Training is available at the Master’s, Graduate Certificate, and Certificate levels.

Master of Arts in Urban Leadership*

Northern’s Master of Arts in Urban Leadership trains culturally competent ministers for urban communities.

Students engage with the complex social and cultural issues facing urban communities, including systemic racism, poverty, violence, and incarceration, and exegete their cultural contexts using ethnographic skills. This practical approach builds on a foundation of biblical knowledge, theology, and church history, focusing on urban theology and the history of the urban church in America. Leading practitioners in urban ministry train students in preaching, evangelism, conflict mediation, and pastoral care.

Innovative Content (57 Quarter Hours)

Urban Leadership Ministry Courses:

  • Church in Community
  • Social and Cultural Issues Impacting Urban Communities
  • Formation for Urban Ministry Leadership
  • Leadership in Urban Communities
  • Evangelism in Urban Communities
  • Discipleship in Urban Communities
  • Preaching in Urban Communities
  • Worship & the Arts in Urban Communities
  • Supervised Ministry 1 & 2
  • Integrative Seminar

Christian Heritage Courses:

  • Exploring the Bible
  • Pentateuch
  • Former Prophets
  • Jesus & the Gospels
  • Acts and Paul’s Letter
  • Christian Theology 1
  • Christian Theology 2
  • Theology of the Urban Church and Culture
  • History of Christianity Survey
  • History of the American Urban Church

Graduate Certificate in Urban Leadership
Students in the Graduate Certificate program complete 9 courses at the Master’s level: Exploring the Bible, Jesus & the Gospels, Theology 1, Theology 2, and five urban ministry courses. Students have the option to apply the Master’s level credit earned toward a degree such as the Master of Arts in Urban Leadership, Master of Arts in Christian Ministries, or Master of Divinity.

Certificate in Urban Leadership
The Certificate program is primarily for students without a Bachelor’s degree. Students in this program complete the same 9 courses. Certificate students have less reading and assignments than students earning Master’s credit.

Convenient Schedule
Students participate in classes only one day a week in the late afternoon or evenings.

The Urban Leadership program offers a unique pricing structure designed for the leader in an urban context. The cost of the program is substantially lower than most Master’s Degrees in theological institutions and is paid as monthly installments over the course of your program.

Join Us
Serving the urban church in Chicago is at the heart of Northern’s mission and we invite you to join our community of learners.

For more information or to get started:
Email the Admissions Office     How to Apply     Explore Financial Aid Options

Northern Seminary is accredited by the Associated of Theological Schools and authorized to operate by the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

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