From Seminary Now Subscriber to Northern Student

Brian Cygan has long felt called to pursue academic preparation for ministry. But first he was led to the marketplace. With his wife, Gerianne, in 2000 Cygan cofounded what will soon be the largest personal training franchise in the U.S., with more than 100 locations around the country plus 35 locations in Japan.

Years ago Cygan enrolled in an online seminary program. However, he says, “when the Lord led us to adopt two boys just one month apart in age, it was all hands on deck at home and work. I had to put off my pursuit of a theological education.”

While confirmed in his calling as a husband, father, and entrepreneur, Cygan continued to think about ministry training. “In recent years,” he says, “my spiritual growth has led to a reconstruction of my personal theology. Then, as I became more familiar with the staff, programs, and overall approach of Northern Seminary I was so energized that I knew this was finally the practical and theological fit I had been waiting for.”

Cygan first became interested in Northern when he learned about Seminary Now through a tweet by one of the featured contributors. He was impressed by the list of notable thinkers featured in the courses.

“Seminary Now features incredible content from top authors and theologians,” he says. “There is a broad range of balanced perspectives represented on the platform. The content is organized into logical and digestible chunks, which makes it very motivating to consume. Getting to hear from the featured contributors in a more distilled format makes each word they speak full of meaning. And I really enjoy that there are certification tracks that the coursework satisfies. I cannot recommend Seminary Now enough for anyone looking for a quality spiritual formation experience or who may be considering seminary training.”

For Cygan, Seminary Now did become a launching pad to enroll at Northern in the Master of Arts in New Testament (MANT) program. “After completing the Seminary Foundations course I was convinced that Northern Seminary was the next step for me. If I could complete the coursework on Seminary Now in my discretionary time, I figured the part-time, remote offerings at Northern would work for me too.”

Even alongside the demands of work and family life, Cygan believes the MANT program is practical. “It’s definitely master’s level work, but the school cares about making advanced theological training available to men and women who can’t commit themselves to being a full-time student.”

Overall, Cygan says, his experience with Northern has been “nothing short of life changing. Northern is clearly intentional about creating a healthy and inviting culture for students and staff alike. The curriculum and professors are current and cutting-edge. And the class format is ideal. The cohort approach to enrollment makes the class feel like a family as we each grow together and build each other up.”

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