Skip to main content

Student Spotlight: Seminary Distance Learning

December 6, 2023
Aaron Solomon-Mills (pictured with his wife, Michelle) and Annika Kolean are distance learners at Calvin Theological Seminary.
Aaron Solomon-Mills (pictured with his wife, Michelle) and Annika Kolean are distance learners at Calvin Theological Seminary.

Calvin Theological Seminary (CTS) is in its last full week of classes for the fall semester. As students gear up for exams, they ask for your prayers. This includes students who are studying through CTS from locations all around the world. Two such students also offer glimpses of their lives to share about the seminary-student experience for distance learners.

Aaron Solomon-Mills, a loving husband and a father to six children, lives in southern California, is a gifted pianist, and cherishes his connections with others.

This past March, Solomon-Mills was installed as the lead pastor at First CRC in Bellflower, Calif. At the time, he was encouraged by his family and the church to enter the CTS master of divinity (M.Div.) program in order to “bridge” his ordination as a commissioned pastor to become ordained as a minister of the Word.

“God is calling me toward faithful preaching and teaching, helping our new members to understand Reformed liturgy and the concept of covenant in church membership, and helping our church in community engagement,” he said.

But the journey isn’t always easy. Being a lead pastor and a father while pursuing a seminary education can be a challenge.

Solomon-Mills offers these words of encouragement to others in a similar situation: “Remember that in this busy season of seminary learning, family and the people entrusted to our care must always come first.”

Solomon-Mills added that he feels blessed to be part of a diverse educational community. He appreciates the interesting and formational coursework at CTS and believes it is equipping him further for his work in pastoral ministry.

Annika Kolean is a distance learner from Zeeland, Mich. She has been a student at CTS since 2021.

Gifted with a great passion to study Scripture, Kolean said that when she was considering options for the future, she was drawn to CTS because of the academically oriented master of theological studies (MTS) program.

Though unsure of where the Lord was calling her, she said she knew that studying Scripture would play a key role. She also trusted that the Lord would guide and lead her.

In fact, said Kolean, one of the major areas of growth that this journey has provided her is in learning how to trust God and his timing.

“Studying at CTS has been nothing short of a joy,” said Kolean, who now plans to pursue a career in teaching after finishing her degree.

CTS offers six different master’s degrees, two doctoral degrees, and a certificate in Christian leadership. Whether students study part-time or full-time, on campus or via distance learning, they share their gratitude for the prayers, ministry share support, and other assistance they receive from the people of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.

This fall, CRC News is sharing stories that demonstrate the impact of ministry shares. To learn more, visit or invite Jeff Bolt (U.S.) or Roshani Morton (Canada) to speak to your council, congregation, or classis.