Called Across Cultures
Sarah Burton leaves Iowa’s farm country to serve suburban youth. More »
Seminary grad Jeanine Parolini teaches her students the value of becoming whole leaders.
BEGIN . BELONG . BECOME
When businesswoman Jeanine Parolini came to know Christ in her late 20s, she prepared for everything to change. “I knew immediately I wanted to minister,” Parolini recalls. “I also knew I wanted to help develop others. That was a new feeling.”
Although the feeling was new, it came from a gift Jeanine had all along: leadership. As she became active at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago, colleagues quickly saw her potential for full-time ministry and encouraged her toward seminary. With an MBA already in hand, though, Jeanine was skeptical. “Why do I need another master’s degree?” she thought.
Then she looked into Bethel Seminary. Beyond relevant Bible and theology teaching, she discovered a focus on becoming personally whole—and an effective administrator too. This integration matched up with what she knew of leadership demands in the real world, including the Body of Christ. “I realized I wouldn’t just get a degree,” she says. “This was a life- and heart-transforming process. God was going to change me.”
Now God is using Jeanine to transform others as a faculty member at Bethel Seminary as well as a church consultant and ministry coach. "I help leaders apply theology to their environment and leadership roles,” she says of her purpose. “I don't want it to just stay in their heads.”
To Jeanine, Bethel is the place for balanced attention to heart and mind, a place where “assignments are much more practical” than at many seminaries. "The ministry portion and the study need to be equal," she insists. "I encourage leaders-in-training here to take the time to grow; to be mentored and to mentor others; and to focus on the being part."
“The doing will come out of that,” concludes the born—and reborn—leader. “That's the fruit of ministry."