President’s March Newsletter 2022

Dear Friends,

The pandemic generation is on the minds of everyone who cares about the church. The question for the group becoming teenagers in the pandemic is not just “Will they return to church?” but also “What kind of faith will they have?” For the past four years, I’ve been embedded on a covert mission to learn, listen, and love a very special and rowdy group of teenage boys, most of whom were born between 2006-2007.

When I accepted the call to become a seminary President, I wasn’t exactly sure how to replace the role that local church leadership played in my life. For 20 years, I was on a platform leading worship for 48 weeks per year. When Kelly and I married, the center of our home was the schedule I kept as an ordained minister. Serving the Church, working at a local church, and volunteering at a local church were three different things. I had done the first two; I was not prepared for the third– to be an active (unpaid) member of my local church. When I surrendered what I thought I could do for my church, an opportunity with our students found me and changed my perspective of youth and family ministry.   READ MORE >> 


Lifelong learning

Tammy Melchien has been a Seminary Now subscriber for over a year. She heard about Seminary Now from Scot McKnight by following him on social media and subscribing to his Substack newsletter. She said, “As someone whose seminary experience is now 25+ years in the rearview mirror, I feel like Seminary Now is helping keep my thinking fresh and providing new insights as well as practical equipping for ongoing ministry.” She has earned two certificates from Seminary Now so far. Now she is taking other classes on the platform that will help her become a more effective teacher and leader.

She said, “For years, I have wanted to audit seminary classes just to stay fresh in my thinking and continue as a lifelong learner, but both the cost and time involved were prohibitive. Seminary Now has been a great alternative.”

Read Tammy’s Testimony >>>



Testimony from Northern Seminary’s Partner in Sumba

From Pastor Purnama, pastor of the Maderi congregation’s Waimangu branch [translated to English],

“As it concerns theological education in this congregation, the local churches have appointed two lay persons over this branch. Concerning their preaching ability, it is below standard in the sense that they are somewhere between understanding and not understanding the content they are teaching. They are brave to take the responsibility of leading this congregation as lay persons based on the limited experience they have. For the time being, when we are going to preach, we usually have a Bible Study. We gather materials for our sermon and besides preparing for the text, we prepare the issues and what we would like to share with the congregation. This is a small way we support these lay leaders and the elders, by preparing the text so they can study for understanding in order to share with the community in their own ways.

Of course, our hopes concerning the plans for this theological education project [with Northern Seminary’s Grow Center] are extremely hopeful. I believe it will be incredibly helpful, the theological training that is planned.  We are very joyful that it could increase the level of theological education and understanding here.



June 2022 Brady lectures







Northern Seminary is pleased to announce Dr. Willie Jennings as the lecturer for the 2022 Brady Theology & Mission Lectures. The lectures will take place in the historic New Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church on the west side of Chicago.

Registration for these lectures is currently open and free to the public. Panelists will include Drew Hart, Beth Jones, David Fitch, Marshall Hatch and many more more esteemed guests. We look forward to another spurring one another on through this inspirational time together. Register for in person or Livestream!

Register now


Pastoral resilience series

It is challenging to discern what to preach (or not preach) in uncertain times. Renew your confidence in preaching. Join us for this live event. Register now for our whole series of resilience webinars in collaboration with the Northern Seminary’s Grow Center. Links to participate will be available through our registration link and via Northern Seminary’s Facebook live March 24th at 7pm.

Register now








Northern Seminary is committed to strengthening pastoral leaders. Register now for our 4 part series of resilience webinars in collaboration with the Northern Seminary’s Grow Center. Coming this Friday, March 25 at 12 CST, we host “Finding Success in the Long Term – Part 2.” Part 1 is available here>>.



Your friend,
William D. Shiell
President and Professor of Pastoral Theology and Preaching, Northern Seminary

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