Who We Are
The mission of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary is to advance communities of faith, justice and compassion through innovation in theological education.
Now in its eighth year of reinvention, JCSTS is building an educational platform that is affordable and accessible to diverse audiences regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality or orientation. An historically Black institution, JCSTS' programs are rooted in Black Liberation Theology and are designed to promote justice across the various sectors of society.
JCSTS' primary audiences today are:
African Americans of faith disenchanted with pop theology, prosperity gospel, and worship cliches who are looking to ground their faith in the liberative traditions of the historic Black Church.
persons of various ethnicities currently in some form of service to the church (ordained and non-ordained) who are searching for tools to help them further their ministries in today’s cultural environment.
persons from various walks of life in need of an educational experience that will help them engage their faith in the public sphere.
persons currently engaged in justice work (community organizing, advocacy, justice reform, et.al.) attempting to deepen their understanding of the intersection of faith and justice.
persons who found their first programmatic experience with JCSTS so rewarding they came back for more (repeat customers).
small groups who find JCSTS' Justice Foundations Series a suitable small group study resource.
All JCSTS programming falls into one of its four curricular models: (1) facilitated, cohort-based certificate program, (2) accompanied self-paced learning, (3) colloquy, (4) cohort curation. All together, these four models allow for in-depth study as well as short theological engagements on current affairs with justice-related implications. In time, JCSTS expects to be able to ‘stack’ certificates together to offer a degree.
JCSTS has a staffing model that is reflective of the communal values espoused in African traditional religious practice. Standing in stark contrast to the hierarchical, secularized models used in many institutions of higher education today, JCSTS aspires to a communal approach to educational design, administration, and governance. We believe our identity as an historically Black institution demands that our organizational ethos to stand apart from that of other institutions.