Christian Theological Seminary Announces Two Schools, One Mission
At the inaugural State of the Seminary address on April 28, 2023, President David Mellott announced that Christian Theological Seminary is forming two distinct schools with one mission: the School of Theology and the School of Counseling. This restructuring allows CTS to fully embrace its identity as an institution that educates and forms counseling clinicians in addition to pastors, chaplains, educators, and community leaders. It creates explicit pathways for students of all types to discover and engage the diverse array of educational offerings at CTS.
Formation of the two schools with one mission is an extension of CTS’s strategic planning process which began in 2020 and involved input from more than 400 stakeholders, including thought leaders in theological education, students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community leaders. As CTS began implementing its strategic plan, it heard from therapists and those who employ therapists about the increasing need for qualified mental health professionals. Even more, CTS noted that when looking at the pool of therapists, African American and Hispanic populations are particularly under-represented. CTS also received feedback from pastors and lay leaders in ministry about the need for mental health resources, not only for their congregations, but also for themselves.
“Creating these two schools is an evolution of the life-changing work and training that has been taking place at CTS for nearly a century. It’s also an affirmation of our commitment to address the gap in accessible mental health services,” Dr. Mellott shared. “While CTS has offered counseling degrees for decades, mental health professionals in our region don’t often know about us. Furthermore, they don’t typically know about our Counseling Center, even though we provided more than 10,000 client sessions in the last year alone.”
The School of Counseling will incorporate the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy and the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degrees. The school is equipped to face an ever-changing world that presents individuals, couples, and families with new challenges daily. Such challenges to mental health and family relationships require that counseling clinicians are not only well grounded in theory and practice, but also see their personhood as a tool for therapeutic change. Both counseling degree programs share an emphasis on integrating spirituality in the therapeutic enterprise and offer extensive on-site practicum experience at the CTS Counseling Center where students see individuals, couples, and families with supervised oversight.
Graduates from CTS’ counseling degree programs are highly respected and quickly employed upon graduation; the placement rate for students from both degree programs exceeds 95%. Establishment of the School of Counseling will help CTS serve more students and train more highly qualified therapists to serve the mental health crisis in Indiana and beyond.
The School of Theology will incorporate the Master of Divinity, Master of Theological Studies, Doctor of Ministry, and PhD in African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric degree programs, as well as CTS’ certificate programs in theology and yoga, the First Season Project, the Clergy Renewal Program, and the new Skills for Flourishing Congregations program which provides practical skills training for church leaders. The degrees and educational opportunities offered by the School of Theology center on a core belief that theological reflection can foster justice, compassion, beauty, and abundant life in the world, and that Christian community is critical to Jesus’ vision for the world. The Christian Theological Seminary School of Theology will continue to bring a distinctive voice, informed by commitments to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, in serving the world through serving the church. With recently redesigned degree programs in the School of Theology, theological education at CTS is now more accessible and relevant than ever.
“God is calling us to participate in the transforming of this world,” said Dr. Mellott. “By strengthening congregations and addressing the mental health crisis in this country, we are doing just that.”
In addition to these two schools, the seminary will enhance its commitment to the Counseling Center and the Faith & Action Project. These efforts will increase outreach to individuals and communities of faith to make God’s liberative, restorative, and life-affirming message manifest. CTS will support pastors and communities of faith as they commit to making our life in common more just and equitable. The institution will also expand its mental health support, helping pastors heal from their own trauma as they help others.
CTS community members from across the country tuned in to the livestream address through Facebook Live and YouTube to hear the exciting news. The Common Room was filled with CTS leadership, faculty, staff, students, and alumni who applauded the announcement. President Mellott concluded the address by sharing, “You have heard Dr. Scott Seay speak about the history of CTS. He always asks us to remember three years: 1855, when Northwestern Christian University, which became Butler University, was founded; 1924, when the Butler School of Religion opened, offering theological education to ‘all students on an equal basis;’ and 1958, when the School of Religion separated from Butler and became Christian Theological Seminary. 2023 will be the next year to add to that short list – the year Christian Theological Seminary established the School of Counseling and the School of Theology, fully embracing its identify as an institution that supports the preparation and formation of pastors, chaplains, educators, community leaders, and counseling clinicians through its programs in counseling and theology.”
You can watch the full video recording of the livestream address with President Mellott announcing Two Schools, One Mission below.