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Grand Rapids
Theological Seminary

At Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, we're dedicated to learning, serving and leading through rigorous scholarship and a humble approach to Scripture.

Create Without Ceasing

Grand Rapids Theological SeminaryResilience: Finding Wholeness in Ministry by Way of the Cross

Resilience Curriculum

Sometimes, pastors and ministry leaders feel like they have been dashed against the rocks. Waves—caused by external and internal crises—break around them, leaving them depleted and struggling to find the strength to serve those God has called them to lead. How can they stay afloat amidst all that threatens their wholeness?

Guided Studies for Small Groups and Individuals

Through the 2020 Talking Points Conference, we listened to pastors, theologians and researchers as they taught us about resilience and finding wholeness in ministry by way of the cross. But we wanted to keep the conversation going and equip pastors, ministry leaders and those who care for them with resources to sustain them in their work. To that end, we have developed seven studies that invite active engagement with the conference topics.

As a free resource to go with the seven studies, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary is offering the Resilience Packet to the first 100 churches/pastors who check out the curriculum. Request your set through the CU Bookstore. The Resilience Packet is a set of nine books featured in the Resilience series.

Study 1 | Preparing for Resilient Ministry

Develop healthy expectations, and create good habits while in a ministry preparation program. Study 1 features video reflections from local pastors.

Study 2 | Burnout and Resilience

Become equipped to identify symptoms of burnout in yourself and your ministry colleagues. Study 2 features video reflections from Bob Burns and local pastors.

Study 3 | Self-Care in Ministry

Learn what wellbeing is, why it is important and how to cultivate it as a pastor or ministry leader. Study 3 features video reflections from Matt Bloom and Danjuma Gibson, in addition to local pastors.

Study 4 | Pursuing Wholeness in Community

Understand the importance of community for pursuing resilience and wellbeing in ministry as a pastor or ministry leader. Study 4 features a video reflection from Chuck DeGroat.

Study 5 | Wholeness by Way of the Cross

Recognize threats to your wholeness as a ministry student or leader. Study 5 features video reflections from Ingrid Faro, Matt Bloom, Chuck DeGroat, Danjuma Gibson and local pastors.

Study 6 | Wellbeing for Leadership Teams

Understand what wellbeing is, why it is important and how to cultivate it as a ministry leadership team. Study 6 features video reflections from Matt Bloom, Danjuma Gibson and local pastors.

Study 7 | Caring for your Pastor

Learn to care for your pastors and ministry staff well as a church leadership team. Study 7 features video reflections from Matt Bloom, Chuck DeGroat and a local pastor.

About the Speakers

We are excited to have brought together a roster of keynote speakers and panelists whose expertise and personal experience give them unique and important voices in this conversation. Select a name to learn more about their background and involvement in the study.

Ruth Haley Barton

Ruth Haley Barton is founding president/CEO of the Transforming Center, a ministry dedicated to strengthening the souls of clergy, Christian leaders and the congregations and organizations they serve. A sought-after teacher, retreat leader and spiritual director trained through the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation (Washington, D.C.) and The Pathways Center for Spiritual Leadership (Nashville, Tenn.), Ruth has served on the pastoral staff of several churches including Willow Creek Community Church.

Educated at Northern Seminary and the University of Loyola Institute for Pastoral Studies, Ruth has authored numerous articles and books, including “Pursuing God’s Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups,” “Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry,” “Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation,” “Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence,” and “Invitation to Retreat: The Gift and Necessity of Time Away with God.”

Ruth has been a student, a practitioner, a teacher and a leader in the area of Christian spirituality and spiritual formation for over 20 years, and as the founder of the Transforming Center, she leads the two-year Transforming Community experience, guiding full-time ministry people in learning and practicing sacred rhythms in their personal and leadership lives.

Presentation

Matt Bloom

Matt Bloom, Ph.D., is a professor at the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame. He leads the Flourishing in Ministry and Wellbeing at Work research projects which focus on the wellbeing of helping and caring professions. Matt is passionate about finding real solutions to make work a healthy, vibrant, life-enriching experience. Matt and his team has been engaging with clergy, through various research methodologies, to understand the “rapid changes” of clergy work and how people manage and navigate these changes throughout a life in ministry. Matt is the author of the new book “Flourishing in Ministry: How to Cultivate Clergy Wellbeing” released in October 2019.

Matt teaches courses on innovation and design thinking. He has worked with a variety of not-for-profit organizations, both in the United States and internationally, helping them learn about and integrate wellbeing research into their programs and initiatives.

Presentation

Scholar Interviews

The following studies in the Resilience curriculum feature interviews with Matt Bloom.

Study 3 | Self-Care in Ministry

Study 5 | Wholeness by Way of the Cross

Study 6 | Wellbeing for Leadership Teams

Study 7 | Caring for your Pastor

Bob Burns

Dr. Bob Burns serves as pastor of spiritual formation at Church of the Good Shepherd in Durham, N.C. He has served in many varied ministry positions ranging from youth and singles ministry to worship arts and senior pastor. He has also served as an associate professor, dean of lifelong learning and director of the Doctor of Ministry at Covenant Theological Seminary, as well as a Guest Faculty at Reformed Theological Seminary. He holds degrees from the University of Maryland (B.A.), Covenant Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Westminster Theological Seminary (D.Min.) and the University of Georgia (Ph.D.). He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church of America with over 45 years of pastoral experience.

Bob is the author of numerous books and articles. His books include “Resilient Ministry: What Pastors Told Us About Surviving and Thriving” and “The Politics of Ministry: Navigating Power Dynamics and Negotiating Interests” (both with Tasha D. Chapman and Donald C. Guthrie) as well as “Recovery From Divorce,” “The Adult Child of Divorce” (with Michael Brissett) and “The Fresh Start Divorce Recovery Workbook” (with Thomas Whiteman). Bob and his wife Janet have been married for 42 years and have two sons and eight grandchildren.

Presentation

Scholar Interviews

The following study in the Resilience curriculum features an interview with Bob Burns.

Study 2 | Burnout and Resilience

Chuck DeGroat

Dr. Chuck DeGroat serves as professor of counseling and christian spirituality at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Mich., and co-founder and a senior fellow at Newbigin House of Studies in San Francisco. He is the author of several books, including “Wholeheartedness: Busyness, Exhaustion, and Healing the Divided Self” (March 2016) and “When Narcissism Comes to Church: Healing Your Community from Emotional and Spiritual Abuse” (March 2020).

Chuck is also a licensed therapist, retreat leader and spiritual director. He has been married to Sara for 25 years and has two daughters.

Presentation

Scholar Interviews

The following studies in the Resilience curriculum feature interviews with Chuck DeGroat.

Study 4 | Pursuing Wholeness in Community

Study 5 | Wholeness by Way of the Cross

Study 7 | Caring for your Pastor

Ingrid Faro

Dr. Ingrid Faro serves as dean of academic affairs and associate professor of Old Testament at Northern Seminary in Lisle, Ill. Before coming to Northern, she was the director of master’s programs at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill. She has an M.Div. and Ph.D. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill. Her Ph.D. is in Theological Studies, with a concentration in Old Testament and Semitic Languages.

Ingrid is an international speaker at conferences and churches and writes on topics that include navigating evil and suffering, women in the Bible, forgiveness, the goodness of God, identity in Christ, discipleship and leadership. Her forthcoming books are “Evil in Genesis” and “Honest Answers: Exploring God Questions with Your Tween.” Ingrid has lived in Israel and Sweden and is a regular teacher and preacher in China.

Previously, Ingrid worked in nutrition, including as an associate professor and as an entrepreneur in health insurance. She has a married son and married daughter and is a happy grandmother.

Ingrid’s heart motivation is to encourage people, help them navigate the sufferings of this world and grow in thriving relationship with God and others.

Presentation

Scholar Interviews

The following study in the Resilience curriculum features an interview with Ingrid Faro.

Study 5 | Wholeness by Way of the Cross

Danjuma Gibson

Dr. Danjuma Gibson serves as associate professor of pastoral care at Calvin Theological Seminary. He is also in private practice as a psychotherapist in Grand Rapids, Mich. Prior to joining Calvin Seminary, he was the senior pastor of a church in Chicago for over 16 years and was also bi-vocational as a commercial banker during that time. His most recent book—”Frederick Douglass, A Psychobiography: Rethinking Subjectivity in the Western Experiment of Democracy” (2018)—is an investigation into the formation of Douglass’ psychological and religious identity in the context of trauma and the American slavocracy. He explores questions like, How did Douglass develop a robust sense of self and agency as a human being in the context of extreme suffering?

Dr. Gibson earned his degrees from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary (Ph.D.).; Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M.A., Urban Ministry and Master of Christian Studies); DePaul University (M.B.A.); and Morehouse College (B.A.). He received his clinical training from the Center for Religion and Psychotherapy of Chicago where he earned an advanced certificate in psychotherapy and religion.

Presentation

Scholar Interviews

The following studies in the Resilience curriculum feature interviews with Danjuma Gibson.

Study 3 | Self-Care in Ministry

Study 5 | Wholeness by Way of the Cross

Study 6 | Wellbeing for Leadership Teams

Sean Nemecek

Sean Nemecek serves as the West Michigan regional director for Pastor-in-Residence Ministries, a ministry dedicated to partnering with God and the church in the work of pastoral renewal and restoration. A third-generation pastor with nearly two decades of ministry experience, Sean has been coaching pastors for more than 10 years. His coaching and his own experience of ministry burnout led him to start The Pastor’s Soul, a blog that addresses the two primary causes of pastoral burnout: the care of the pastor’s soul and the culture of the church. In addition, he co-hosts the Hope Renewed podcast, encouraging pastors as they face times of uncertainty, crisis or transition.

Sean’s goal is to invest in your pastor’s joy for the good of the church.

Presentation

Panelists

In addition to the speakers above, the curriculum features a panel of local pastors, including:

  • Dr. Kizombo Kalumbula, Tabernacle Community Church, Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Dr. Rob Peterson, Evangelical Covenant Church
  • Pastor Nate Wagner, Sparta Baptist Church, Sparta, Mich.

Local Pastors

We interviewed six local pastors for the Resilience project. They are featured in the curriculum as follows:

Mike Bartlett, Redemption City Church (Grand Rapids, Mich.)

Joy Bonnema, Madison Square North (Grand Rapids, Mich.)

Dr.Walter Gibson, Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church (Lansing, Mich.)

Karen Ingebretson, Thornapple Covenant Church (Ada, Mich.)

Mark Shaw, Calvary Baptist Church (Greenville, Mich.)

Ben Vaught, Ada Bible Church (Ada, Mich.)

Darrell Yoder

Hours

MON - FRI: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
SAT & SUN: Closed

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Undergraduate

At Cornerstone University, you’ll get the full college experience with a Christ-centered worldview. Learn more about the undergraduate experience below or explore campus with a virtual tour.

Adult

Persevere in what you know you’re capable of. Our programs for adults provide a creative approach to learning anchored in Christ-centered virtues as you follow your unwavering purpose.

Graduate

Go further as an influencer in your work and community. Our graduate programs prepare you to open new doors as you reach your God-given potential.

Seminary

At Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, we’re dedicated to learning, serving and leading through rigorous scholarship and a humble approach to Scripture.