ONWARD is a partnership between The Orchard Network and the Wheaton College Graduate School. It allows participants to receive practical ministry training in a local church, The Orchard, while receiving an MA in Evangelism and Leadership through Wheaton. Our goal is to bring the best of church and seminary-level training together to shape pastors, church planters and missionaries who are ready to move onward in their calling and to take the Gospel onward to the world.
A bridge to vocational ministry
The best of the classroom and the best of the local church
A focus on Spiritual LIFE, Biblical DOCTRINE and Ministry SKILLS
Reasonable Cost. Shorter Program. Practical Orientation.
Teaching by recognized professors and pastors
A Gospel foundation for life-long ministry
Course Description: Examines the spiritual, doctrinal, and practical dimensions of Christian ministry in relation to personal godliness and ministry leadership.
Course Goals: Students who take this course will be able to:
Course Description: Examines the spiritual, doctrinal, and practical dimensions of Christian ministry relation to preaching and pastoral care.
Course Goals: Students who take this course will be able to:
Students will spend time each week immersed in the life of The Orchard, culminating in 200 hours of directed, supervised ministry leadership during the second year.
Note: ONWARD students will receive the training referred to as “MOMENTUM” in the testimonies below.
Laura Kleinschmidt (Director of Women’s Ministries, The Orchard – Barrington)
Every Friday morning I left encouraged and refocused on the importance of the ministry God has called me to. I felt refueled and recharged. I learned that ministry is difficult at times for everyone, not just me. I learned that this is a job I can do and a job that I must do – bring the Gospel to women.
Adam Magnuson (2015 TEDS MDiv; Associate Pastor of Youth and Worship, Westosha Lakes Church, Wisconsin)
The three hours I spent every week at MOMENTUM were worth every second. Because of the practical and pastoral touch of Colin Smith, the fellowship of the people involved, and its laser-like focus on the gospel, I can think of no better supplement to a TEDS education.
Ray Chang (2016 TEDS MDiv; Ministry Associate for Discipleship, Wheaton College)
The Orchard Network has been a tremendous blessing to my development as a pastor. MOMENTUM is a theologically rigorous, yet highly practical program that blends well with the seminary degree. During our time together, we explored helpful insights rooted in church history, faithful puritans, self sacrificing missionaries, contemporary theologians, and everyday pastors. With Pastor Colin’s 35 years of highly intentional ministry and the wealth of wisdom provided by Gospel-loving, world-class Christian leaders like Jerry Bridges, Lee Strobel, Tom Nelson, Craig Ott, and others, those who participate in MOMENTUM have gained years of counsel to advance in the understanding of doctrine, in the shaping of a godly life, and in the maturing of important skills for ministry.
Brandon Myers (2016 TEDS MDiv; Pastor of Congregational Life, The Orchard – Arlington Heights)
MOMENTUM helped equip us for front line ministry in the body of Christ. Through MOMENTUM my appreciation for God’s people/local churches and the high calling of ministry has profoundly deepened. Additionally, my need to depend on the word of God and prayer through all areas of ministry has been greatly strengthened. Through MOMENTUM I have been greatly equipped with practical and pastoral wisdom to minister to people in counseling sessions, in preaching and teaching opportunities, in home visits and in a variety of other ways with a greater confidence in the power of the Gospel and the word of God. I praise God for his grace in allowing me to participate in this rare and excellent program.
Tom Yoon (2010 TEDS MDiv; Pastor of Worship and Students, The Orchard – Northfield)
MOMENTUM has been invaluable for my development as a pastor. Not only has MOMENTUM given me a solid biblical foundation for pastoral ministry, the application of the pastorate in terms of preaching, shepherding, and leading has been enriching and enlightening. In many ways, I feel that I’ve personally gained more insight into the pastorate this past year then my previous 14 years in ministry. I am confident that this will be a crucial learning experience for others and I cannot help but wonder how God will use MOMENTUM for the years to come.”
Brad Wetherell (2015 TEDS MDiv; Campus Pastor, The Orchard – Itasca)
I am so grateful that I was able to combine MOMENTUM with my TEDS experience. Alongside the broad scope of the MDiv’s curriculum (which I really appreciate), MOMENTUM provides an opportunity to hone in on the life, doctrine, and skills of pastoral ministry. As a result of MOMENTUM I feel more equipped and encouraged to press on in my own personal godliness, my confidence in Biblical authority, my desire to preach faithfully, and my ability to provide strong leadership and pastoral care to those I serve.
Josh Parsons (2015 TEDS MDiv; Campus Pastor, The Orchard – Northfield)
For me, there has been no tool so expertly wielded by the Lord for my pastoral development than MOMENTUM. It has been such a helpful bridge from academia to practical church ministry, and has on its own pumped into me a greater passion for Jesus, the Gospel and the Church.
If you are planning to graduate from college and plan to pursue a ministry future, we recommend a traditional MDiv program. It’s worth it!
However, if you are not able to participate in a traditional MDiv program, ONWARD is a compelling option. Consider:
To do ONWARD, your mindset should be similar to someone who moves to a graduate school to live on campus and study full-time.
You may be employed in a professional setting, but you are called to shift to full-time, vocational ministry in your future.
If this is you, ONWARD will give you the qualifications and experience to shift your career to full-time vocational ministry. At the end of the degree, you could apply for a job as a full-time pastor, church planter or missionary.
To do ONWARD, your mindset should be that when you start this program, you are permanently shifting your working life. Aim to keep your job in a way that provides for you and your family over the next two years, but creates space for 4 weeks of “intensive modular classes” each year and gives you Friday mornings for church training. Then plan to find a full-time job in vocational ministry after the program ends.
Note for those currently working: Perhaps through the Lord’s provision you are in a position to rearrange your work schedule within the week or evenings to allow you to attend the various teaching sessions and church immersion opportunities. If you have a fair amount of seniority or if your company offers vacation time in addition to personal days, you may also find that the ONWARD schedule is workable.
You may be employed in a professional setting, but you are called to incorporate paid, bi-vocational ministry into your future.
Perhaps you are working in a professional setting and are called to continue to use your skills, training and experience in that setting. Yet you also feel that you could give yourself 15-20 hours a week to a paid, part-time ministry setting. ONWARD will give you the skills and qualifications for such a position.
To do ONWARD, your mindset should be that when you start this program, you are permanently shifting your working life to be 75% in your current professional field, 25% in ministry. Aim to shift your job into something that will allow you to complete ONWARD and then get a part-time ministry job when the program ends.
You are called to full-time or part-time vocational ministry and currently have space in your life to complete the requirements of ONWARD. For example:
You can take early retirement and are called to make vocational ministry a part of your future.
You are currently employed in vocational ministry and want to go back to school for a graduate degree.
If this is you, ONWARD is open to you. However, we expect ONWARD participants to be immersed in the life of The Orchard. Please contact us to see if we can work this out for you in your current ministry setting.
For more information about ONWARD, contact Arthur Kok, Director of Training, The Orchard Network