Winter 2009 Commencement
Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary Confers Degrees at Winter Commencement Ceremony
Fifty-nine students received degrees Friday evening, December 11, at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary’s 2009 winter commencement ceremony, held at First Baptist Church of San Francisco. Students came from the Seminary’s five campuses, as well as from several of its regional Contextualized Leadership Development centers.
The graduates represented 16 states and 10 countries, and received diplomas, masters and doctorates of ministry. In all, 8 types of degrees were earned among the graduates: Diploma in Christian Ministries-CLD, Diploma in Theology-CLD, Diploma in
Theology, Master of Arts in Educational Leadership, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Divinity, Doctor of Ministry and Doctor of Philosophy.
The Seminary’s highest student award, the William O. Crews Presidential Leadership Award, was given to Seth David Postell, a Doctor of Philosophy graduate from the Northern
California Campus. “Seth is an outstanding student, who exemplifies the leadership values of the Seminary,” said Seminary President Jeff Iorg. “He has proven himself, both in the Seminary community and in his ministry, to be worthy of this award.”
Two graduating students shared the story of their journeys towards earning their degrees. Seth Postell returned to the podium, and Emile Masabarakiza, who received a Master of Divinity degree with a concentration in Biblical Studies, described how God sustained him through his seminary studies.
Through its 63 Contextualized Leadership Development (CLD) centers across the country, operated in partnership with local churches, associations and state conventions, the
Seminary conferred 18 Diplomas in Christian Ministries and 8 Diplomas in Theology. “It never ceases to amaze me how many language groups we are touching with our work,” noted Dr. Iorg. “God has truly made us a seminary for the nations.”
In his commencement address, President Iorg told the graduates that God likes variety in life and in leaders. “Our Seminary shapes leaders, but Golden Gate leaders are not one-size-fits-all. I challenge you to emulate the models of different aspects of leadership portrayed in the Bible.” He urged the seminarians to be innovative, to share the Gospel in ways that have never been done before, or ways followers have never seen before. He encouraged them to be builders, “to build your ministry over time,” Iorg said. “It takes time to understand people, and building a ministry requires systems and organization.”
“Be a leader who challenges the people to rise above themselves,” Iorg said. “Speak up when it is difficult, when it may be controversial.”
Iorg concluded by urging his listeners to be leaders who grow over a lifetime. “Don’t ever stop growing, learning, changing, and pursuing what God has in store for you. Grow and change and develop as you lead over a lifetime.”