GGBTS: Missiology degree to launch in fall

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)--Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary is now offering a new master of missiology degree to train students for biblical ministry in a cross-cultural context.

The seminary has received accreditation approval for the degree from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the Association of Theological Schools. Two of Golden Gate's five campuses, Northern California in the San Francisco area and Southern California in the Los Angeles area, are now accepting registration for classes for the fall 2010 semester.

The California campuses provide "the ideal learning context" in two of the most culturally and religiously diverse urban centers in the world, noted associate professor of missions Eddie Pate, who chairs GGBTS'intercultural studies department and directs the Kim School of Global Missions.

Pate said the two-year degree will include an urban concentration to equip students to create strategies for distinct peoples, needs and opportunities in a city, and formulate a strategic response from the church. A global concentration, meanwhile, will help students develop skills necessary for cross-cultural living to interact with the world's cultural diversity, change and diverse religious practices.

"The master's degree in missiology with an urban concentration will lead students to understand the complexity and unique environment that is the city in the West and the world," GGBTS President Jeff Iorg said. "We know the future of world-shaping Kingdom growth is in the cities, and our graduates will succeed in their ministries in part because they will know how to minister in a large city environment."

The two-year master of missiology is designed for students who sense God's call to be missionaries, missions pastors, lay missions leaders, evangelism pastors or community ministry leaders in local churches or nonprofit organizations.

GGBTS academic dean Michael Martin said students will develop the capacity "to communicate biblical truth to diverse cultures in clear and compelling ways." He added that "special attention will be given to ministry in multi-cultural contexts typical of the large urban centers of our modern world."

The degree joins the seminary's three-year master of divinity degree which has long been offered with a concentration in missions. Additionally, Golden Gate Seminary entered into a partnership with Union University, called the Global Studies Partnership (GSP), to deliver both a theological master's degree and an intercultural studies degree in tandem. Unlike the three-year M.Div., the new master of missiology is a two-year theological master's degree focused on missiology focused on urban missions or global missions. It may be taken as a stand-alone degree or may be paired with the master of arts in international studies degree offered through Union, in Jackson, Tenn.

For more information about the master of missiology degree, contact Golden Gate's admissions office: toll-free 1-888-442-8701; e-mail, admissions@ggbts.edu; or website, www.ggbts.edu.

BRIDGE CHURCH/WORLD CHASM, SPEAKER EXHORTS -- "There are two worlds: the world of church and the world of unbelievers. Today's pastor bridges the chasm between these two worlds," Gregory L. Waybright told students, faculty and staff as part of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary's Hester Lecture series.

Waybright, senior pastor of Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, Calif., who was president of Trinity International University in Deerfield, Ill., from 1995-2007, noted that he strives as a pastor to see the church "balanced between the need of people who walk into the church with a desire to receive and the side where people are called to go out and give."

Waybright said he likes "the metaphor of a breathing church, inhaling and exhaling. As with all living things, it is vitally important for a church to breathe, to both inhale and exhale."

People need to "inhale" in church -- to gather for corporate worship, to hear the Word, to sing and participate in the rituals, Waybright said in his 4 lecture at the seminary's Mill Valley, Calif. campus March 4. "Then, after inhaling, church members need to exhale -- to evangelize and to minister to the world through social justice, compassion and other means to convey God's mercy.

"There are two parts to serving God's mission," Waybright noted, referring to 1 Peter 2. "The first part is to declare. Believers must know something about God in order to declare to others. The second part is to live. Unbelievers must see a difference in our personal lives and how we treat people."

When believers meet together, Waybright said, "to breathe in -- to put God at center stage -- so we have something of substance to breathe out" in response to who God is.

"Just inhaling is spiritually dangerous and leads to sterility and spiritual death," Waybright observed. "The comfort of the church is not our goal, as this comfort can cause isolation of believers from the world. The test of our authenticity as Christians is when we leave the house of worship and go out into the world and become Christ-like towards unbelievers.

"Yes, I see you when you gather at church on Sunday, taking communion, singing songs and praying," Waybright imagined God speaking. "But I also see how you treat your co-workers on Monday, your attitude when you drive down the street."

Waybright exhorted seminary students who intend to become a pastors "to say to your congregations, 'When you gather on Sunday you remember the cross. But on Monday, you'll be called on to forgive someone, as God has forgiven you. Will we care as God has cared for us?' ...

"Breath in the life. Breathe out the hope and compassion, the Good News. Stand between two worlds and bridge the gap," Waybright said.

The Hester Lectureship on Preaching is in memory of the late H.I Hester, a longtime professor of Bible and head of the department of religion at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo.

THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION ADDRESSES 3 CULTURES -- "The goal of proper theological formation of a student is to teach him or her how to understand the dynamic interface of three cultures: the culture of the Bible, the culture of the student and the culture of the unbeliever," J. Raymond Tallman said at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary's academic convocation March 11.

"Over the past century and a half, missionary understanding of culture has changed drastically," said Tallman, the Baker James Cauthen Chair of World Missions at Golden Gate and professor of global missiology and intercultural studies. "Missionaries have probably led the way in probing the questions of cultural difference, bringing major contributions to both verbal culture with an emphasis on Bible translation, and non-verbal culture with an emphasis on adaptation....

"The potential Great Commission workforce we are training will be called by God to go, compelled by the compassion of Jesus Christ to preach and conditioned by the Holy Spirit to be ambassadors for Christ," said Tallman, formerly the longtime chairman of Moody Bible Institute's missions department. "They will make their Gospel appeal from God to people from every tribe, tongue, nation and people group -- to every culture."

Tallman, who earned a master of divinity degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, also holds a doctorate in missiology from the Chicago-area Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.


Based on reports by Phyllis Evans of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.

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