President Iorg's Message at SBC Annual Meeting

Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary reminds SBC messengers that the west is a significant mission field for Southern Baptists

Jeff Iorg, president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, began his June 10 report to messengers by noting that the seminary operates as the Southern Baptist outpost in the West. “Golden Gate is the only Southern Baptist Convention-owned entity in the Western half of the United States.” President Iorg

Every summer at the Southern Baptist annual meeting, people make comments about California, including "our liberal politicians, our liberal social standards, our more casual approach to life and even our pass-happy Pac 10 football teams," Iorg said. "And this year we know many of you are concerned about the Supreme Court ruling legalizing 'gay marriage' in our state."

Southern Baptists living in California, however, recognize the strategic nature of their assignment, Iorg said. "God has placed Golden Gate Seminary in the midst of a tremendous opportunity for training leaders in a missional setting," he told messengers.

Golden Gate's two California campuses -- situated in diverse urban settings where people of many nationalities live -- give the seminary a unique venue to train pastors and missionaries to reach out to the peoples of the world, Iorg said. Los Angeles is one of the largest Korean cities in the world, while more than 160 languages are spoken in the San Francisco Bay Area in the homes of children who attend public schools.

Iorg urged Southern Baptists to prioritize taking the Gospel to the people of the world who live in their midst. "We must move beyond paternalistic viewpoints about ethnic ministry and learn to live in intercultural, multicultural, multinational Christian communities that demonstrate the power of the Gospel," he said. "This is the future of ministry in North America, and Golden Gate is leading the way in meeting this great challenge."

The training methods used to produce leaders for the future must continue to change, Iorg said. He announced a seminary-wide process to help define the seminary Golden Gate is becoming. "By this time next year, you will be hearing about our initial plans and the steps we will be taking to implement them," he said.

Iorg asked messengers to pray for the seminary, specifically in regard to gas prices. "We expect the price of gas to have a direct impact on our fall enrollment, since more than 80 percent of our students are commuters," he said.

"You can also help us by sending us students," Iorg continued. "We are looking for students who want to be trained in a multinational setting, students who want to live, study and work in some of the most spiritually challenging settings in North America."

Iorg concluded by expressing appreciation for Southern Baptists' Cooperative Program gifts, as he acknowledged "we are still dependent upon these gifts for our financial survival."