Northern Seminary and ABC-IN/KY Launch Teaching Church Initiative

Northern Seminary and American Baptist Churches of Indiana/Kentucky (ABC IN/KY) are launching a “Teaching Church Initiative” pilot program to train pastors for ministry. Beginning fall 2018, a maximum of five new students will be awarded scholarships that cover up to 100% of tuition costs for a Master of Arts degree from Northern Seminary, with an emphasis in New Testament or Theology and Mission. Students will serve a local church in Indiana or Kentucky while attending Northern via the school’s live streaming technology, Northern Live. Interested students can apply through Northern’s admissions and scholarship process.

Northern will provide biblical, theological and leadership training for student ministers through its New Kind of Preacher program, while ABC IN/KY provides the student ministers with opportunities to serve healthy, established churches. This five-year covenant partnership between churches, students, the region and seminary, desires to renew multi-generational, local IN/KY churches while providing a structured learning community for student ministers as they learn while serving. Upon graduation, the Teaching Church and their student minister may choose to continue their pastoral relationship.

The Teaching Church Initiative will endeavor to build bridges between student ministers and established churches with the hope of strengthening them both. While students fulfill their calling to ministry, they become valued, trained leaders devoted to American Baptists principles with solid, local church experience. The churches benefit through the presence of a pastor or staff members devoted to the church’s mission and ministry for five years and Northern will see consistent class engagement and discussion with student ministers serving in established contexts in ministry.

ABC IN/KY and Northern will provide ongoing training and support for each congregation as their student minister engages their academic studies. The goal of this training is to equip churches with the tools necessary to create an environment that encourages, supports and cares for its student minister as they lead the congregation while completing their academic studies. Student ministers will be challenged to contextualize their coursework in their ministry setting.

Churches in ABC IN/KY will host student ministers as they serve the local church. Teaching Churches will apply through the advisory team in early 2018 and will be trained by Northern staff. Teaching Churches will provide a salary and related benefits and, depending on each student’s needs, will be a resource to provide housing and family support throughout the program. ABC IN/KY will provide modest stipends to Teaching Churches who host students.

This initiative seeks to address some of the challenges experienced by seminary students and churches.  The student minister will be offered tuition relief and the church has the opportunity to be led by a typically younger minister who will be shaped and formed by the contextualized application of their academic studies.

The Teaching Church Initiative is made possible, in part, by grants from the Gordon and Virginia Palmer Jr. Trust of the American Baptist Foundation. Northern Seminary and ABC Indiana/Kentucky look forward to building upon their strong, historic relationship with the implementation of the Teaching Church initiative.

For more information contact Bill Shiell –,  Phone: 630 620 2101


Soozi Whitten Ford – at the ABC Indiana/Kentucky office.