Golden Gate, SEBTS give 2014 reports
BALTIMORE, Md. (BP) -- Presidents of the six Southern Baptist seminaries submitted reports June 11 to messengers at the 2014 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Baltimore, Md.
Included here are reports from Golden Gate and Southeastern seminaries. Other reports were included in the June 12 issue of Baptist Press.
Golden Gate Theological Seminary's imminent campus relocation was the primary topic of President Jeff Iorg's report, as he explained the rationale behind the sale and move.
"We are positioning ourselves strategically, geographically, and financially to impact the Western United States and world like never before," he said. "We are changing locations, not abandoning our mission."
"At Golden Gate, the mission matters most. And our mission isn't land development. It isn't campus preservation. It isn't institutional legacy," Iorg said. "Our mission is shaping leaders who expand God's kingdom around the world."
The future of Golden Gate will reflect its current commitment to being biblical, missional and global, he said, reminding messengers of Golden Gate's difficulties in developing its current Mill Valley campus.
"As I have reported to you over the past four years, we have been involved in a contentious process trying to redevelop our campus."
Having consulted with a variety of experts over those years, Golden Gate changed its perspective, Iorg said. They no longer considered the situation as an obstacle to overcome, but as a barrier designed to redirect the seminary.
Although the final location of the new campus has yet to be determined, the school has narrowed its decision generally to the Inland Empire of Southern California, Iorg said, based on demographic projections.
Golden Gate is committed to the completion of every current Northern California campus student's degree program, Iorg said. The seminary will continue to operate at full capacity at that campus until the summer of 2016.
"We will work with every student who can't finish on that timetable to assure they can complete their program as seamlessly as possible," Iorg said.
The two California campuses will be located on new properties in Southern and Northern California, and will essentially switch roles in the 2016-2017 academic year, Iorg said. The new Southern California property will become the primary campus and the Bay Area location will become a regional campus.
Students have responded positively to the relocation, Iorg reported, as have staff and faculty.
The "biggest surprise," Iorg said, has been an increase in the number of approved applicants from last year.
"Our fall student approvals are ahead of where we were at this time last year," Iorg said.
Iorg encouraged Southern Baptists to focus on the future rather than the "dilapidated campus, resource-draining political and legal conflict, and financial challenges" the school is leaving behind.
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary met its 10-year, $50 million campaign goal and is anticipating this fall its sixth year of record enrollment, seminary President Daniel Akin reported.
"Today we have a little over 3,200 students," Akin said, "students that are on mission for the Lord Jesus Christ taking the Gospel to North America and around the world."
The Summit Church in Durham, N.C., has committed to give SEBTS $500,000 over the next five years, the church's lead pastor J.D. Greear announced at the seminary's June 11 alumni meeting, Akin reported.
Akin celebrated his tenth anniversary this year as Southeastern's president. In honor of Akin's years of service, the seminary established a $300,000 scholarship fund to provide financial support to minorities. The funding is committed to realize Akin's goal of training students from every tribe, tongue and nation to build strong churches.
"Southeastern Seminary is a Great Commission seminary," Akin said, highlighting the institution's commitment to the Great Commission.
The seminary offers seven completely online degrees from the college level to a master of divinity.
"We recognize that in the day in which we live and the age in which we find ourselves we have to be proactive in taking theological education to where you are," Akin said.
The seminary added three new endowed chairs, bringing the total to seven, Akin said, three of which are in the area of expository preaching. Akin expressed his gratitude to faithful supporters who made the growth possible.
He highlighted Southeastern's fruitful partnerships with the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board to help train church planters.
Through Southeastern's EQUIP program, an intentional partnership with local churches, students receive hands-on ministry experience and earn course credit.
"There are some things that ... you must learn in the fiery furnace of ministry in the local church," Akin said.
Akin expressed optimism and hope for the future, stating that Southern Baptists are operating from the point of victory God has already proclaimed.
"We live in a day where there is a lot of pessimism. … I've read the last book of the Bible. … In the end our God wins," Akin emphasized. "We are not fighting for victory. We are fighting from victory."
"The students that you are sending to our six seminaries inspire me … I have never been more positive and more optimistic about what I believe the future holds for Southern Baptists, in particular Bible-believing Christians across the board," Akin said. "Our God's Kingdom is marching on. He is going to accomplish His saving purpose. And isn't it amazing that He gives you and me the opportunity to be a part of what He is doing?"
Based on reports from Tyler Sanders of Golden Gate Seminary and Ali Dixon of Southeastern Seminary. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).