2019 Urban Faith Leaders Symposium & Evening in The Word

Wednesday, August 21, 2019
1:00pm to 9:00pm

Antioch Missionary Baptist Church
415 West Englewood
Chicago, IL 60621 (MAP)

The Faith Leaders Symposium will be a cutting edge presentation on four topics that impact how we do ministry in urban and suburban contexts.

This symposium will ignite, inspire, and inform Faith Leaders to higher levels of ministry involvement and deeper depths of ministry effectiveness.

Public offering will be received to support  the Urban Leadership program at Northern Seminary.



Faith Leaders Symposium | 1:00pm – 5:30pm

1:15pm – 2:30pm | Reaching and Retaining Millennials in Ministry
Greg Armstrong, Nick Rivera, Rev. Jonathan “Pastah J” Brooks

2:35pm – 2:55pm | Creating a Time, Place and Space for Serious Conversations
Insert Speakers

3:00pm – 4:15pm | Healthy Minister Healthy Ministry
Rev. James Brooks, Rev. Dr. Jill Sidler-Fleagle, Frank Thomas

4:30pm – 5:30pm | In Times Like These What Shall We Preach?
Bishop Dr. Gary Hayles, Rev. Gail L. Rice

Dinner Break | 5:30pm – 6:45pm

Free to registrants attending Symposium and/or Public Lecture

Evening in The Word | 7:00pm – 9:00pm

KEYNOTE SPEAKER | Rev. A. Wayne Johnson

Opening Praise & Worship | Greetings and Purpose | Worship in Music | Northern’s Heart for the City | Student Testimonies | Special Musical Guest | Keynote Speaker Call to Action | Offertory Appeal and Period of Giving | Announcements and Closing Prayer

A free-will offering will be taken.



Symposium Host/Facilitator

Rev. Dr. Gerald Dew
Director of the South Side Center for Urban Leadership, Northern Seminary
Pastor, Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, Chicago

Rev. Dr. Dew is the Director of the South Side Center for Urban Leadership and Affiliate Professor of Ministry at Northern Seminary.  He is also the pastor of the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago where he serves his congregation as a prolific preacher, visionary teacher, and fearless leader.

Keynote Speaker

Rev. A. Wayne Johnson
President, General Baptist State Convention of the Northwest & Faculty, Hampton University teaching in the PRIME Program

Rev. Johnson has served on multiple boards and committees, including the Religious Platform Committee for the Obama Administration and the Executive Board of Church World Service, and currently, President Jimmy Carter’s New Baptist Covenant Executive Board.


Greg Armstrong
Director of Enrollment, Northern Seminary

Greg is a native Chicagoland resident loving the opportunity to see transformation in his city. With his beautiful wife, Kristal  of 14yrs, and their two sons, Evan and Ethan, everyday is full of life and love.  As the Lord has blessed Greg with an incredible family, placing family first will always remain a priority.  Over the last 15yrs Greg and Kristal have served in many capacities in the local church.  From young adult pastors to worship leaders, associate pastors and many other roles within the local body.
In addition to leading Renew Church, Greg serves as the Founder and Director of Renew Movement, a worship collective comprised of worship pastors and musicians from various churches in the Chicagoland area.


Rev. James Brooks
Pastor, Harmony Community Church & Chief Ministry Officer, Lawndale Christian Health Center

Pastor James Brooks currently serves as the Senior Pastor of Harmony Community Church and the Chief Ministry Officer at Lawndale Christian Health Center. Pastor Brooks is a summa cum laude graduate of Concordia University where he majored in Organizational Management. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Northern Theological Seminary where he was the first Dr. John Perkins Scholar graduate. Pastor Brooks completed his Youth and Theology Certification at Princeton Theological Seminary and Clinical Pastoral Education unit at the University of Illinois Medical Center. Pastor Brooks is committed to listening and responding to the people who have been hurt and marginalized by society.


Rev. Jonathan “Pastah J” Brooks
Pastor, Canaan Community Church, Chicago & Author of Church Forsaken

Jonathan Brooks is a lifelong resident of Chicago, IL and currently serves as Senior Pastor at Canaan Community Church in the West Englewood neighborhood and as an educator on many different levels. As a firm believer in investing in your local community, Jonathan has a deep desire to impress this virtue on the students and young people in his congregation, classroom and community. His ministry focuses on youth development, holistic health, college scholarships, art and music training as well as restorative justice practices and care for the incarcerated and their families.

Pastah J, as he is affectionately called, is a sought after speaker, writer, artist and community activist. He has contributed to numerous blogs, articles and books and recently released the book Church Forsaken: Practicing Presence in Neglected Neighborhoods.


Rev. Dr. Dennis Edwards
Associate Professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary

Rev. Dr. Dennis Edwards is Associate Professor of New Testament. He is originally from New York City, was a church planter in Brooklyn, NY as well as Washington, DC, and has been in urban ministry for nearly 3 decades. Dennis holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University and has been a high school science and math teacher. He also earned a Master of Divinity degree in Urban Ministry (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School), Master of Arts and PhD degrees in Biblical Studies (Catholic University of America). Dennis has a passion for God’s word and God’s church and has been an instructor of Bible and New Testament Greek at several schools, including Bethel Seminary and St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute in Baltimore, MD.

Dennis has been married to Susan Steele Edwards for 34 years. They are the pleased parents of four adult children and one grandchild.


Bishop Dr. Gary Hayles
Pastor, Tabernacle Bible Church, Cincinnati & Program Director for New Kind of Preacher Program, Northern Seminary

Dr. Gary Hayles has received many notable awards including recognition by the Cincinnati Enquirer as one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans in Cincinnati. He was selected as Cincinnati’s Pastor of the Year, as well as one of the Top 50 Preachers from Cincinnati by Cincinnati Christian University. As an accomplished author, Dr. Hayles’ sermon “Can a Brother Get a Hand” appears in the book, “Voices From the Hill” which was released in October 2003.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Hayles received his undergraduate degree from Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana. He holds advanced degrees from both Cincinnati Bible Seminary and San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He completed his studies and received a Doctorate of Ministry from United Theological Seminary in 2011. Dr. Hayles is a 2012 graduate of the 35th Class of Leadership Cincinnati. He is a 2013 graduate of Proclaimer’s Place expositional preaching program under Dr. Joel Gregory at Oxford University England. Gary will continue his service as Lead Pastor at Tabernacle and office from Northern on Tuesdays each week.


Rev. Dr. Floyd James
Senior Pastor, Greater Rock Missionary Baptist Church, Chicago

The Reverend Dr. Floyd James Sr. is the senior pastor of the Greater Rock Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago Illinois. Dr. James was licensed and ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1973. He succeeded his father in the pastoral ministry in 1985. During his 33 year pastorate, Greater Rock is distinguished by its stewardship program, its fervent worship and its dynamic preaching and teaching. The church exemplifies its theme “A Church designed with the community in mind”

He has served on many district and regional boards throughout his ministry. Dr. James has held many leadership roles. He has served as the Moderator of Salem Baptist District Association, Financial Secretary for Baptist General State Convention of Illinois and the Chairmen of Moderator’s Department of Baptist General State Convention of Illinois. He has served as the Assistant Director of the Minister’s Division of the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education and as General Secretary of the Moderator’s Auxiliary National Baptist Convention USA Inc., a board member of One Church One Child, Safer Foundation Advisory Board and various other religious, civic and social organizations.

He currently serves as an instructor and Vice President for the New Baptist Ministers Fellowship of Chicago and Vicinity, President- NUBBC-W (Network of Urban Black Baptist Churches), President–Greater Rock Development Corp., Instructor for Minister’s Division of the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education, President of The Biblical Exposition Conference. Dr. James has established himself as an anointed preacher and teacher, an activist for social justice, and an affectionate shepherd. His ministry reaches beyond the walls of the church into the local, regional and worldwide community. Dr. James has traveled both in the United States and abroad teaching and preaching the unadulterated Word of God.

Dr. James is an honors graduate of Blackburn University. He received an honorary doctorate from the Theological Institute in Houston Texas. He earned his Masters of Theology and Masters of Divinity from Faith Evangelical Lutheran Seminary and is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.

He is married to the former Vera Walker. They are the parents of five children, Lavonda, Quiana, Floyd Jr., Leshawn and Letisha, and they are the proud grandparents of three.


Rev. Gail L. Rice
Preacher, Teacher, Psalmist & Associate Pastor, Freedom Hillside, Hillside, IL

Rev. Gail L. Rice is an anointed preacher, teacher, psalmist and minister. Her gift has made room for her and her ministry produces fruit.

Her calling is to see lives transformed and liberated through the power of God. Her passion is helping people discover the joy, satisfaction and absolute delight that comes in knowing, serving and loving Jesus. She has a particular passion for women and helps them rise above every obstacle to walk victoriously in their God-given purpose and destiny. She has mentored and helped birth destiny in MANY women seeking to overcome addiction.

She currently serves as an Associate Pastor at Freedom Hillside, Hillside, IL, under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Craig Melvin Smith. She also served for 15 years in a variety of ministerial roles at her home church, First Baptist Congregational Church, including Assistant Pastor of Worship and Associate Pastor to Women.


Nick Rivera
Director of Youth Discipleship, By The Hand Club for Kids, Chicago

Nick Rivera is from Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood and currently resides on Chicago’s west side in Garfield Park with his wife Santy and 3 children Laila, Isaiah, Jeremiah. He has served with a number of ministries throughout Chicago since 2000 from Inner City Impact, Grip Outreach for Youth, Park Community Church and New Life Covenant Church. Nick currently is Director of Youth Discipleship at By The Hand
Club for Kids. Nick recently planted Engage Community Church in Chicago’s East Garfield Park neighborhood. He envisions a church who displays the love of Christ to their neighbor’s and makes disciples.


Rev. Dr. Jill Sidler-Fleagle
Affiliate Professor of Internship and Spiritual Formation, Northern Seminary

Jill Sidler Fleagle is a long time disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, wife, mother of three young adults, mom-in-law, and granny to Everest. She holds a Doctorate in Ministry in Leadership and Spiritual Formation from George Fox Evangelical Seminary. She is a graduate of Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois, from which she earned a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Counseling.

In 2005, Jill co-founded Crossroads Counseling and Care Center in Crest Hill, Illinois. She has ministered in pastoral care and counseling since 1996, specializing in relational issues addressed in individual, couple and family counseling. Other areas of expertise include grief, anxiety, codependency, women’s issues, parenting, spiritual issues and group work.

Jill is a contemplative, referring to herself as an “Evangelical United Anabaptimaticer,” a term she uses to name the positive contributions of denominational affiliations in her faith walk. She has been a core team member of a church plant in New Lenox since 2010.

A Licensed Professional Counselor with the State of Illinois, Jill is also a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. She has served as a mentor of students in seminary and university programs of Christian ministry. She conducts retreats and provides Christian spiritual direction.



The urban community has its own beauty and its own challenges.  Are you ready to minister there? Check out our NEW MA in Urban Leadership. 


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