Northern Seminary Invites Feedback on our Distinctive Mission

Building on our 109-year history, the Board of Trustees of Northern Seminary invites feedback from our stakeholders on the Seminary’s core documents: our Mission, Vision, Values, Statement of Faith, and Standard of Conduct. Since our shift to a Livestream, globally-connected Seminary in 2016, God has continued to bless Northern with accelerated growth and expanded vision. Today over 2,000 people are receiving training from Northern through Northern Live, Seminary Now, and the Grow Center. Our commitments to biblical formation, Christ-centered education, cross-cultural learning have not wavered. Now more than ever, we need women and men who are called to lead the church and engage the world. In order to do so, we want to embody fully who we are. We deliver seminary-level education to pastoral leaders where they serve, online and on-demand.

When we expanded in 2016, we concluded a significant chapter as a residential seminary. This expansion providentially prepared us for the church’s needs during the pandemic. We have simultaneously continued our commitments to the West Side of Chicago at our Lawndale Center, begun a program in Urban Leadership on the Chicago’s South Side, opened a center in San Antonio, Texas, and partnered with Trinity Christian College to deliver an accelerated Master of Divinity degree. In addition, we have added faculty across a diverse spectrum of evangelistic life. Today, Northern faculty claim credentials from Baptist, Anglican, Wesleyan, and Christian and Missionary Alliance traditions. Students now serve in 40 states, 10 countries around the world and in over 20 different Christian denominations and fellowships.

In 2021, the Board of Trustees commissioned a working group to pray, discern, and gather input from stakeholders regarding our current mission, vision, values, statement of faith, and standard of conduct. In addition, the faculty and board conducted a joint working session in October 2021; and the board held a facilitated retreat in January 2022 to respond to feedback and discern the Seminary’s guiding principles.

These documents reflect the following consensus we heard from the Seminary community.

  • Northern will continue to teach and uphold its longstanding commitments to American Baptists, and members of American Baptist churches will continue to serve on Northern’s board.
  • We want our Seminary’s guiding principles to be clear, concise, and memorable.
  • We want to express clearly our uniqueness as a seminary and appeal to all stakeholders and prospective students now and in the future.
  • Educational delivery systems have changed, but God’s word has not. We remain faithful to Northern’s heritage, grounded in scripture, and faithfully “entrusting these teachings to reliable people who can in turn teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2,3).
  • In light of the issues churches face, we want to show and demonstrate respect for all persons created in God’s image and provide space for academic inquiry, biblical teaching, and embodied justice.

The linked proposed core documents clarify Northern’s distinctive role in accredited graduate theological education and call us to live out our mission as students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends.

We invite you to offer your perspectives on these documents by answering the questions below and to help us embody our identity in the months to come. Please register to attend one of several zoom meetings with Trustees and Staff by registering here. Once you register, you will receive a zoom link.

  1. How does this version of the Mission, Vision, Values, Statement of Faith, and Standard of Conduct express clearly what Northern does, who we are, and where we’re going?
  2. How do these documents pull us forward as an institution?
  3. How do you imagine yourself and Northern living out these statements in the next few years?
  4. What additions or deletions to these documents would you like the board to consider?


If you cannot participate in these meetings, please email your comments to





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