For Dr. John Shultz, Ashland Theological Seminary is “part of his DNA.” From student to professor to president, and now an Ashland Seminary Foundation Trustee, Dr. Shultz has devoted almost five decades of his life to equipping kingdom workers through the seminary. And he has no intention of stopping now.
During his time in the M.Div program, John “saw a great need to equip pastors well for the counseling demands that were going to come their way” and felt led to become a faculty member in Counseling Psychology.
At the age of 14, while his uncle, Joe Shultz, was dean of the seminary, John made the decision to head into ministry. He attended Ashland University’s pre-seminary program with majors in psychology and religion, then went on to seminary to earn an M.Div with a concentration in counseling. As part of the program’s second cohort in 1971, John was a part of the esteemed program’s legacy pretty much from the start.
During his time in the M.Div program, John “saw a great need to equip pastors well for the counseling demands that were going to come their way” and felt led to become a faculty member in Counseling Psychology. After a short stop off at Purdue, where he earned his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology while pastoring a small church in Rochester, IN, John returned to Ashland in 1981 to become a faculty member. But his contributions to the community were just getting started.
Enter Cornerstone Psychological Affiliates, which John started as a small counseling practice in his office, before moving to a bigger office on campus and, finally, a building in town. Over the years, the practice grew to nine different locations in northern Ohio, peaking at 500 clients, five psychiatrists, and a counseling and support staff of 45 employees.
Running a business and teaching at the same time is no easy task, of course. But John’s unique position only served his students more. “It gave me a lot of source material to use in classes,” he says. “I could be talking about principles from marriage counseling and tell them, ‘I tried this yesterday, and it worked,’ or ‘I tried this last week, and it was a disaster.’ I was always current in my teaching.”
In 2006, John had a choice to make: he felt he needed to let go of either the professorship or the practice, because it was getting too challenging to balance both. When he applied and was hired to become president of the seminary, he sold the business. Three Cornerstone offices are still going strong, changing lives in Ashland and the surrounding community.
John emphasizes that Ashland Theological Seminary is a unique school that represents over 70 denominations and an ethnically diverse population, with 30-35% of students from minority backgrounds. “We don’t try to convince students of a particular theology. We just want them to know why they believe what they do. Because of that, we have a strong reputation for people graduating with a stronger faith than when they came in.”
John feels that more great things are on the horizon. Ashland Theological Seminary continuously works to follow and adapt to God’s plan--that is part of its DNA!
Ashland Theological Seminary integrates theological education with Christ-centered transformation as it equips men and women for ministry in the church and the world. Ashland Theological Seminary offers certificate, master’s and doctoral level programs in Ashland, Cleveland, Columbus, and Detroit. Learn more at seminary.ashland.edu.