Attorney Becomes Pastor, Author and Seminarian

Kellye Fabian became a Christian through the ministry of Willow Creek Community Church in 2008. At that time, she was a partner in a Chicago area law firm. Kellye had her degrees, her career and now a faith in Christ. She could not have imagined how this newfound faith would change the course of her life.

Today, Kellye Fabian is Pastor of Protection, Conciliation and Doctrinal Casework at Willow Creek, a published author (no easy task) and a soon-to-be graduate of Northern Seminary (Master of Arts in New Testament—May 2020). We asked Kellye to reflect on how her seminary education has impacted her work and what advice she would have for other women who are considering seminary.

“I went into seminary with one view of things and that’s been shifted. The foundation that I have is much firmer now,” Kellye says. She cites how she had approached church life much as she did her own life – on her own. A friend of Kellye’s once made the comment “You can’t do the Christian life alone,” and she thought “Why?” Kellye explains, “It seemed to me that life and church life felt fairly individualized.” You practiced your faith by doing a checklist of things as an individual. Since delving deeper into the theology of her faith, “My doctrine is driving my practice.”

During Kellye’s first and second year of seminary at Northern, she worked on her book Sacred Questions: A Transformative Journey Through the Bible. Kellye invites readers into a daily personal practice of reading Scripture and responding to questions, helping them partner with God in their Christlikeness transformation. A Northern Seminary class taught by Dr. Cherith Fee Nordling greatly informed a section of her book addressing the embodiment of Jesus. Kellye recalls that the class “emphasized the importance that Jesus was human and in body. The embodied Jesus is a significant learning that I incorporated into the book. This truth impacts how we engage with Him and others.”

As a woman studying and ministering in a predominately male led profession, what advice does she have for other women considering seminary?

“It’s good, valuable but there is something that can be a bit hard—seminary can start to feel, over time, that all the scholars are male. Things you read sometimes don’t resonate with how women experience them.” Kellye cautions that when many of your readings are authored by white males, there is a temptation to be distracted by this imbalance of diversity and not learn what you can. She values that in her program Northern Seminary is purposefully diverse in gender, race and sometimes ecumenical. Kellye will tell you that seminary was a good decision for her, “My love for, allegiance to, and wonder about Jesus Christ has only expanded. This is a testament to my professors and the reading they have assigned. I am at the same time more convinced of the truth of the Gospel and more aware of the mystery of the Gospel. This deepening of faith allows me to do my ministry work with more trust that God really is at work and with more compassion for those who are struggling.”

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