Church Renewal and Planting Residency

LANSING, MICHIGAN—January 29, 2019

Northern Seminary, American Baptist Churches of Michigan, and Christ Community Church of Greater Lansing have partnered together to establish a Church Planting and Renewal Residency in Lansing.

Christ Community Church (CCC) will host up to three church planting residents from Northern Seminary from 2019-2022. Beginning in Winter 2019, the residents will help renew CCC’s Lansing location and plant a new, fresh expression of Christ Church in Lansing, while completing a Master’s degree at Northern Seminary. The first resident will begin in 2019, followed by two others in 2020 and 2021 respectively. ABC of Michigan will provide housing for the residents.

“This unique partnership combines the strengths of the seminary, church, and region to share the gospel in greater Lansing and renew Christ Community Church,” said President Bill Shiell of Northern Seminary. “Our vision as a seminary is to strengthen churches, and the best venue for training pastors is in and through a local church. With the help of Christ Community and the ABC Michigan region, we’ll be able to train pastoral leaders in context and plant a new fresh expression of CCC that will reach a new generation of believers for Christ.”

Dr. Michael Williams, Executive Minister of ABC of Michigan, said, “We are thrilled to partner with Northern to serve this region. Christ Community has planted four churches throughout its history, and this new expression will build on that legacy and establish a thriving ministry in the heart of Lansing.”

Pastor Mike Dunkelberger said, “In partnership with the American Baptist Churches of Michigan and Northern Seminary, Christ Community church is looking forward to a new and exciting chapter in our 170 year ministry. Here’s to a new era filled with growth, risk, challenges and a discerning walk with our Lord.”

Northern’s church planting model, designed by Dr. David Fitch, the Betty R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology, is unique among church planting programs. Church planters function as mission teams working together in an under-churched context. Fitch says, “The goal is to have multiple leaders working together to organize and form a gospel expression in their context in one place that can offer 15 hours of labor each week.” They will be “self-sustaining” in that they all have jobs, so they’re maintaining a common life together. The expectation is that they will be committed to this context/neighborhood for ten years.”

These leaders will then have time and space to:

  1. Get to know their context by listening to their neighbors and neighborhood,
  2. Establish rhythms of life together (worship, prayer, community, discipleship, and presence among the neighbors),
  3. Discern God working in and among the neighbors and neighborhood,
  4. Bring the gospel to these places wherever God is working (reconciliation, peace, forgiveness, healing, righteousness, and new creation), and
  5. Develop ways of bringing those coming into faith in Christ towards growth and discipleship.

Students who receive admission to the program will be eligible for scholarship, a stipend, and housing assistance.

For more information about the Church Planting and Renewal Residency, or to apply to be a resident in the program, contact Dr. Mike Moore, Program Director at

Founded by Second Baptist Church of Chicago in 1913, Northern Seminary is affiliated with American Baptist Churches, U.S.A. and partners with regions and many other churches and denominations to lead the church and engage the world.

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