Spring 2011 Commencement

A Christian rap artist earned a master of divinity, two students received the first master of missiology degrees, and the 7,500th graduate were among 253 students graduating at the five campuses of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in May 2011.

Choong Man (DK) Kim has been performing original Christian rap in both Christian and secular high schools, camps, and retreats since 2001. “My rap presentations enable me to speak about spiritual beliefs to a group that is often difficult to reach,” said the 28-year-old native Californian, who also serves as the English minister at Shalom Baptist Church in Dublin, California. In addition to his rap ministry, DK and a few others are “starting a non-profit organization to plant churches in homeless communities and local parks in the city of Oakland,” said the master of divinity graduate.

Alan Krober (Hawaii) and Keith Thompson (South Carolina) were the first Golden Gate students to earn a master of missiology degree, which was launched in fall 2010. The degree is designed to equip, develop, and train students for a competent, biblical ministry in a cross-cultural context.
President Jeff Iorg challenged the graduates about the filling and power of the Holy Spirit in their ministries. Referring to the church in Antioch, he introduced Barnabas as a Spirit-filled leader and provided instructions about what it means to lead and be empowered by the Spirit based on his example.

“Barnabas was described as being full of the Holy Spirit,” Iorg said. “Several things happened immediately as a result of his leadership including ‘large numbers of people were added to the Lord.’” He cautioned the graduates, “You may deliver the message of salvation, but you will not deliver it powerfully unless it’s done in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

The president explained how Barnabas brought Paul to Antioch, where they taught the church for a whole year. “The capacity to develop a strategy and select the right leader to implement that strategy also requires Spirit-filled leadership.” Iorg described Spirit-filled leadership as including “preaching, speaking, teaching about the future you anticipate and challenging people to go there with you.” He added, “Leaders don’t have the capacity to predict the future, but they are responsible to anticipate the future, and lead people to fulfill that vision.”

President Iorg’s graduation message ended his year-long teaching and preaching emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit in ministry leadership. He delivered three major addresses to the seminary community, several chapel messages, presentations to the faculty, and spoke on these themes in almost every seminary venue during the past academic year.

The Seminary’s highest student award, the William O. Crews Presidential Leadership Award, was given to two students. Stephen Aoki (Hawaii), master of divinity graduate at the Northern California campus, and Kenneth Curry (California), master of divinity graduate at the Southern California campus. Also at the Northern California campus, Versil Milton (California), a master of divinity graduate, was recognized as the 7,500th graduate of the Seminary.

Versil Milton, of California, (left) was recognized as the 7,500th graduate of Golden Gate Seminary, as he received his master of divinity in Northern California. Milton had received his master of theological studies in 2007 and attended that ceremony despite the death of his wife, Regina, earlier that same day following a long bout with cancer.

 Stephen Aoki, of Hawaii, (right) had his robe adjusted by Dr. Faith Kim before the Northern California campus' commencement ceremony. Stephen, a master of divinity graduate from the Northern California campus, has been Dr. Kim’s teaching assistant for two years. He received the Seminary’s highest student award, the William O. Crews Presidential Leadership Award.

Continuing Golden Gate Seminary’s tradition of celebrating graduates from 50 years prior to the current year, seven “Golden Grads” from the class of 1961 marched with this year’s graduates of the Northern California campus and were honored at the commencement ceremony.