Church Renewal and Planting Resident Welcomed & Supported

Northern Seminary’s Church Renewal and Planting Residency program is designed to immerse seminarians into a church leadership practicum while supporting the local and regional church planting mission. “Seminaries were the
information into their heads,” continues Mike, “and then you would have a lot of churches planting by themselves.” The church planting model was more of an assembly line rather than a dynamic, collaborative approach.

Christ Community Church (CCC) in Lansing, Michigan is the launching pad for the new residency program. CCC has faithfully ministered in the state capital of Michigan for more than 170 years. Across the street from a local community college and in view of the capitol building, this church has witnessed significant changes in the community. When CCC’s ministry began nearly two centuries ago, the community was primarily Euro-American. Today, it is increasingly diverse and multi-ethnic. A concentrated effort to revitalize Lansing’s downtown has brought in new apartments, businesses and residents. Today, a refreshed energy and excitement surround downtown Lansing. Christ Community Church and its partners hope to offer an equally fresh expression of their local church to minister to both newcomers and established residents.

With the help of this faithful church and the American Baptist Churches of Michigan region, Northern Seminary will offer students real-world training while completing their master’s degree at Northern. Seminarians will work side by side with experienced local and regional church leaders to reach people with the gospel.

Rev. Brian Johnson, is Senior Pastor at Crossroads Community Church and Consultant for Church Leadership with ABC of Michigan and Northern Alumnus,
expands on this approach, “We are taking an already existing church that has space and a strategic location and using their facility to plant a fresh expression of the church and encourage the already existing congregation.”

Mike adds, “The great thing here is that Christ Community Church knows Lansing better than everyone, they are the local experts with boots on the ground, Northern has world class faculty and ABC provides regional support.”

Korderro Brown lands as the first Northern seminary resident in Lansing for this
initiative. Though the pioneer resident of this program, Korderro need not forge ahead on his own. In addition to Brian Johnson, Korderro will work closely with Pastor Mike Dunkelberger of Christ Community Church and Northern Seminary’s Dr. Mike Moore. Two other residents will follow in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

Korderro, pictured left, already an experienced and active church leader, was attracted by Northern’s online studies platform and how “Northern strategically set the residency up as a part-time role … to work in the community, an intentional bi-vocational ministry.” This model will help the seminary residents develop and keep connections with the community as part of the local workforce. Having just moved to Lansing this summer, Korderro is in the initial stages of planning and immersion into the community. He welcomes the innovative and flexible approach this residency offers. “I’m used to things that seem nontraditional; adaptability that just comes from how I grew up … I think I’ll be
in more of a dual role starting a new ministry and supporting
the current congregation.”

As Korderro looks to the future, he hopes the expression of the new church reflects the community. “My goal is for a church to be extremely diverse— multicultural and multigenerational. That is a challenge. I want to develop a diverse core team. I also believe there is a healthy balance being missional and attractional . . . we want the Word of God to be life-changing and, at the same time, we want to make church not something you do out of obligation or tradition. My goal is to connect with people. A church that really has an impact that garners people to say: ‘I have to be connected …when I connect with this ministry that feeds my soul, that helps me discover purpose and destiny in God.’”

If you would like more information regarding the Church Planting and Renewal Residency, or to apply to be a resident in the program, contact Dr. Mike Moore,
Program Director at mdmoore@seminary.edu.

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