The Academy of Church Leadership

Alumni Spotlight: Isaac Chong

Isaac ChongIsaac Chong, MDIV, began the Certificate in Church Administration program through the School of Business and Nonprofit Management after realizing that he was underprepared for the complexities of leading and administering to a church. He had entered into the field of church and organizational leadership with an MDIV from a local seminary, yet, as he noted, “I knew that if I was to be prepared for my role, I had to get more practical training on the legal, financial, and operational complexities of the church in all of its unique characteristics.”

While in the program, he really enjoyed learning about financial management for nonprofit organizations—something he was not prepared for by his undergraduate degree in economics. This course, in particular, gave him an understanding of how to gauge the financial health of the church. He stresses that he wishes more seminaries offered this course and training to pastors.

When asked how he planned to utilize the information and knowledge gained in this program, he noted, “I’ve already been using it since I graduated. Right now, I am on track to be ordained as the church’s first executive pastor. Without the training I received with the church administration certificate, I would not know the role of governance, how to read balance sheets and oversee the financial operations of the church, or how to supervise and inspire the staff. It would have taken a lot longer and been much more difficult for me to do what I do now without the benefit of the classes that the certificate entailed.”

As he continues to reflect on his overall experience in the Certificate in Church Administration program, he noted, “I’m grateful for North Park for offering this program in the first place. More and more, I realize how important it is for pastors to receive training not only in the biblical and theological aspects of ministry but also the practical and legal aspects. Leading people in the church is not simply about what we know but also what we learn and practice. And the process of undergoing study and further training is necessary if we are to continue pursuing excellence in our life with God. I believe this program is particularly important for pastors who are running administrative, governance, or financial aspects of their church who did not receive training through experience, and I wish more seminaries included some of these classes as part of their degree program.”

Chong currently works in Orange County, California, at EKKO Church as the operations director.