“Imagine a pilot who never went to school flying a machine at 600 miles per hour having over three hundred souls aboard. Likewise, it is a disaster and messy in ministry if we have ministers who serve without training,” Northern seminarian and reverend Alfred Onyango Angasa uses this aeronautical analogy to drive home the importance of training and higher education.

In 2012, a request from pastors in Kenya’s Kibera Slums launched the multi-year Africa Pastoral Training Institute (APTI) plan. This innovative partnership between the Kenyan church leaders, Lawndale Community Church (LCC), the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) and Northern Seminary has graduated more than 200 students.

Seven of those APTI graduates from Kenya, including Alfred, now continue their training through Northern Seminary’s Christian Community Development (CCD) specialization. With the Kenyan students logging on at 4:00 am, students participate via interactive live-streaming classes. CCD students also engage in a one-week intensive learning experience based in Chicago. According to Affiliate Professor Dr. Wayne “Coach” Gordon, the Kenyan’s presence benefits the entire CCD cohort, “… the fact that you get to be in classroom with Kenyans, this is an unbelievable privilege that Americans have being with pastors doing work in Kenya.”

Why study at Northern: in their own words.  Below are insights from the others regarding the APTI and CCD programs:

Wanda Jones, a Registered Nurse, cares for HIV patients in a hospital setting and pastors in her church.
“My involvement in the APTI certificate program has changed me from a person full of fear to a person of courage. Now, I am the women leader used in teaching, preaching and coordinating sisters through the skills gained from the Northern seminary. Back at my place of work, I use the pastoral skills even in handling my clients who are hurting.”

Benson Momanyi pastors a church with outreach activities including addiction ministries, at-risk youth, leadership training and food distribution.
“A holistic approach is what motivates me most. I started doing community work in 1999 and founded Bema Children’s Project (a community based, non-profit organization). I am involved in church leaders’ workshops, youth leaders and women empowerment programs … I therefore need knowledge and skills, to enable me to serve my community better by walking the talk …

Stephen A. Opanga’s ministry includes coordinating psychological counselors in five counties for the Kenya Counselling and Psychological Association.
“Given the continuously evolving socio-political environment in our world …  I find myself greatly privileged just like the sons of Issachar in the days of King David, who had understanding of the times … Being a DM Perkins Scholar places me on the right side of history.”

Jared Orina Onserio is CEO of CCDA-Africa and volunteers as the Africa Regional director for APTI.
The diploma program helped me to become a brand-new leader who knows how to integrate the gospel in CCD. I am a better preacher and disciple maker… I was motivated to join the CCD program because of my involvement working among the poor people in Kibera slums, the largest in Africa. And to become a professor like Coach in Africa so that I may serve my people with refined knowledge.”

Dorcas Mutonyi Jumba preaches, trains and teaches within her church community.
“The Church [Lawndale] is a wonderful community that values relationships, partnerships and networks. The Seminary has good programs of training Church leaders especially the masters and doctorate programs. This will equip saints for service in the kingdom of GOD.  Above all, the scholarship sponsorship I have been accorded to study is a great honor to me and my church. I cannot take it for granted. God bless you so much.”

Andrew K. Marando pastors and preaches the message of reconciliation and forgiveness to victims of interclan violence.
“My involvement with the APTI Diploma Program had a radical effect on my perspective in regards to my approach to Christian ministry. CCD, through APTI, set within me with clarification what the greatest commandment is…loving God and loving people.”

The seminary’s International Student Scholarships allows tuition to be cut in half for these dedicated leaders, several of whom receive no compensation for their work in ministry. You can help others by donating to the Scholarship Fund here.

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