Open Doors through Seminary Now

Jeaneane Payne loves serving the church and her community, and she loves learning. Jeaneane has grown in her ministry skills and Bible knowledge by participating in a nine-month leadership training course called First Leaders run by Dr. Bill Shiell, who is now president of Northern Seminary. She has taken online courses at Northern, including Exodus with Dr. Shiell and Ephesians with Dr. Lynn Cohick. But that wasn’t enough learning for her. She heard about Seminary Now through her encounters with Northern Seminary, and she has been a Seminary Now subscriber for a year.

She is an active student on the platform, working her way through all the courses in the Certificate of Ministry track. After that, she plans to complete the courses in the Certificate of Justice & Reconciliation track.

One of her favorite Seminary Now courses has been Roadmap to Reconciliation from Brenda Salter McNeil. She said, “This course is a must for everyone involved in any form of ministry and for all community leaders. From Dr. Salter McNeil’s teaching, I learned ways to interact with community members and leaders to bring forth change.” She appreciates that these courses have answered many of her questions concerning the modern-day church and our responsibilities in them.

Jeaneane is deeply invested in serving her community both in and out of the church. She lives in Sevierville, Tennessee, where she publishes the Knoxville Daily Sun and runs several websites about the Great Smoky Mountains and the surrounding areas. She is involved in local hospitality and tourism associations as well as chambers of commerce.

She has served at First Baptist Church in Knoxville, where she created a monthly art show that ran for nine months and invited area artists to share their art at the church. With the First Leaders program, she coordinated a community event at a local elementary school in a neighborhood where many students were living below the poverty line. They hosted a dinner with games and activities for children and breakout sessions for parents. The program brought together school and church leaders with students and parents.

She has also served in parachurch organizations, such as CONNECT Ministries, a non-profit organization, and worked together with a group of community leaders to form an outreach and prayer organization called Outside These Walls.

She loves church but isn’t able to attend her church currently due to health concerns around COVID-19 because she is diabetic. While at home, in addition to taking online classes, Jeaneane keeps busy with hobbies. She loves to read and collect hardback books and walk on mountain trails.

Jeaneane said that Seminary Now has impacted her service to the church. “I have learned why the church is still valid in modern day society and how it should function in the community today.” She has learned “ways I can more effectively interact with national, state, and community leaders to help bring forth positive change.”

Seminary Now has also given her a vision for the future. “Having a better understanding of how the church should be structured and what its purpose is today has given me insight into the possibility of designing a guide for churches to follow when restructuring their individual church. Seminary Now has opened up doors and ideas I never dreamed of. I feel like I have a fresh, new life.”

She encourages others to subscribe to Seminary Now: “I would highly recommend Seminary Now to anyone who wants to help bring forth change in our individual communities, our country, and in the world.”

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