A Chicago Pastor Engages the Ever-Changing World of Ministry
Reflecting on his experience as a student at Northern Seminary, Lawrence Walker quotes a line from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” Over the last three years at Northern, Walker says, “That is just what has happened to me. Dr. Robert Price, Dr. Felecia Thompson, Dr. Gerald Dew, and others have taught me to think outside of the box because ministry is constantly changing. They reminded me that as the methods change, the Gospel message doesn’t. I wholeheartedly cherish the privilege of learning from these stalwarts in ministry.”
Walker himself has been active in various ministry roles over the last fifteen years. Currently he serves as the Children and Youth Pastor at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in the Englewood community in Chicago. Previously he has taught Sunday school, worked with and mentored youth, served as an executive pastor, “and everything in between.”
Walker decided to pursue a degree at Northern Seminary after a conversation he had with Dr. Gerald Dew. “In this conversation, he strongly suggested that I should consider furthering my education by enrolling at Northern,” he says.
The highlights of Walker’s time at Northern include new relationships as well as new ideas. “While I received a great education, I also gained amazing relationships with the staff and students. My cohort has become family, and many of the professors have become mentors. We’ve laughed together, prayed together, and have gotten through some tough times together.”
Among the many things Walker believes he and his classmates have learned from one another during their studies, one of the main lessons he identifies is perseverance. For example, Walker says, “Oftentimes when you begin a program, a facilitator will say, ‘Look around the room. A face that you see here won’t be here in the end.’ I found that phrase to be true. For the ones who persevered, the ones who will walk the stage with me, we have been able to stand the test of time. This amazingly resilient group of people has demonstrated strength to overcome all distractions and obstacles. I am blessed to have learned with and from each of them.”
Another part of Walker’s Northern experience was giving a student testimony at the 2019 Faith Leaders Symposium and Evening in the Word. This event supported Northern Seminary’s Master of Arts in Urban Leadership Program at Walker’s home church. It also featured three panel discussions on current issues and best practices related to ministry in urban churches.
After graduating from Northern, Walker aims to continue both learning and ministering with perseverance. “I plan to begin the doctoral program with an emphasis in preaching and leadership,” he says. “Prayerfully, in the near future, I will realize the great privilege of becoming a Senior Pastor.”
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