Golden Gate graduates urged to build ministry on the Gospel
Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary conferred degrees on 202 students at the Seminary’s five regional campus commencement ceremonies this spring.
President Jeff Iorg urged the graduates in his commencement address to “build your ministry on the Gospel, not to please men, but to please God.” He told them, “Whether you are now beginning a ministry or continuing a ministry, you have a responsibility to enlarge your impact for the kingdom of God.”
Dr. Iorg challenged the graduates to build their ministry on their personal example, and to build it on the Gospel. “Do not preach from arrogance or impurity, for personal gain or flattering speech, nor greedy motives. I challenge you to move beyond these motives.” He reminded them, “You are responsible as ministers of Christ to live differently than your followers – righteously and blamelessly. You have a higher calling, a responsibility – and your motives matter.”
He told the graduates that sometimes they will have opposition to the Gospel, but to do it anyway – to expand the mission of God.
“Southern Baptists have experienced a decline in baptism and church growth the past seven years,” he noted. “Golden Gate graduates…you have to do better!”
Iorg challenged the graduates to “have a deep, caring relationship with the people in your ministry.” He described the type of love a parent has for his child as a sacrificial love, and implored them “to be willing to sacrifice to build a ministry that lasts, to have that same type of sacrificial love for your community, your ministry.”
Two graduating students also shared their “Stories of the Journey.” Jamie Sanchez, who received her Master of Divinity degree, explained how Ann Judson, pioneer missionary to Burma, became her role model during Seminary. Jamie told how God challenged and humbled her as she shifted her perspective, which made a major difference in her life.
Eric Herrstrom, who received a Doctor of Ministry degree, described how his experience at Golden Gate gave him a thirst and a hunger to pursue education and share the Gospel. He thanked those who encouraged him during his time at Golden Gate, and expressed appreciation for the investment they made in his life.
The Seminary’s highest student award, the William O. Crews Presidential Leadership Award, was given to David Englekemeir, a Master of Divinity graduate from Northern California Campus and Keith Evans, a Doctor of Ministry graduate from the Pacific Northwest Campus.
This spring, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary conferred:
• 67 Master of Divinity degrees, including those with concentrations in areas such as missions or Biblical studies
• 19 Master of Arts in Educational Leadership degrees
• 34 Master of Theological Studies degrees
• 1 Master of Theology degrees
• 2 Diplomas in Theology
• 1 Diploma in Educational Leadership
• 10 Doctor of Ministry degrees.
Through its Contextualized Leadership Development centers across the country, operated in partnership with local churches, associations, and state conventions, the seminary also conferred 53 Diplomas in Christian Ministry and 15 Diplomas in Theology.