Guest / Limited Access /

As part of a new "bold vision," Northern Seminary is exploring the sale of some or all of its suburban Chicago campus. The Baptist school owns 28 acres of valuable, commercial-area real estate, located between three major Chicago-area highways.

Mirroring a nationwide trend in seminary education, the school also announced in July that it plans to launch satellite and online courses, beginning this fall.

Founded in 1913 as an evangelical alternative to liberal-leaning seminaries in the Northern Baptist Convention (now American Baptist Churches USA), Northern claims a number of notable alumni: Youth for Christ founder Torrey Johnson, Tyndale House Publishers founder Kenneth Taylor, and several early editors of Christianity Today, including Carl Henry and Kenneth Kantzer.

But the school's enrollment has been flat for a decade, according to interim president John Kirn.

"This is what's driving us to do what I think we should have done years ago: We've got an aging campus, a campus that could house 500 students," Kirn said. "We have just over 200, depending on how you count it, and we are moving from a resident student population to a much more commuter student population, which mirrors what's happening all over the country with seminaries."

Kirn envisions a "hub-and-spokes model" for Northern, with a much smaller central campus and a host of satellite and online classes. The strategy should cut down on overhead and maintenance costs while also reaching more students, he said.

Many successful seminaries have expanded beyond their home sites. Fuller Theological Seminary, Bethel Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary all offer extensive satellite and distance education programs. Yet some schools have resisted the trend, believing ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedMorning Roundup 4/16/14
Morning Roundup 4/16/14
Faces of 2050 America; Love Your City; Church and the Gospel
TrendingBill Gothard Breaks Silence on Harassment Claims by 30 Women
Bill Gothard Breaks Silence on Harassment Claims by 30 Women
(UPDATED) Popular seminar speaker: 'I have failed to live out some of the very things that I have taught.'
Editor's PickYou Probably Love (or Hate) 'Heaven Is For Real' for All the Wrong Reasons
You Probably Love (or Hate) 'Heaven Is For Real' for All the Wrong Reasons
It's not a travel guide. And Colton Burpo isn't the first Christian to have an ecstatic experience.
Leave a Comment

Use your Christianity Today login to leave a comment on this article. Not part of the community? Subscribe now, or register for a free account.

hide thisSeptember September

In the Magazine

September 2007

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.