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5 Golden Gate campuses award 200 degrees

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–More than 200 students from nearly a dozen countries received degrees from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary’s five regional campuses during spring commencement ceremonies.

The seminary’s graduates at the Rocky Mountain campus (Denver) were honored May 12; Southern California campus (Brea, Calif.), May 18; Pacific Northwest campus (Vancouver, Wash.), May 19; Northern California campus (Mill Valley, Calif.), May 25; and Arizona campus (Phoenix), May 26.

GGBTS President Jeff Iorg, speaking at each ceremony, urged the graduates to remain engaged in personally sharing the Gospel, noting, “The personal work of the Gospel is the sustaining food that will keep you going in your ministry.”

Iorg told the graduates that, as Christian leaders, they easily could become “completely encased” within the Christian community and miss out on the opportunity to personally share the Gospel with people.

“It’s a dirty little secret,” Iorg said. “Many Christian leaders do not involve themselves personally in the work of the Gospel. If you are not careful, you will wake up weeks, months or years from now and wonder, ‘What happened? When was the last time I personally shared the Gospel with someone?'”

The solution, Iorg said, lies in breaking barriers -– of location, fatigue, social differences and moral issues. He pointed to the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well as an example of how to break barriers in order to share the Good News with someone personally.

At the Northern California campus ceremony, the seminary’s highest student award, the William O. Crews Presidential Leadership Award, was presented to doctor of ministry graduate Kyung Suk Chung, a Korean national born in Japan.

Chung has spent most of his adult life in Venezuela and other areas of South America planting churches as a lay leader. After earning his master of divinity from Golden Gate several years ago at the age of 62, he returned to Venezuela and led in the starting of the Caribbean Evangelical Seminary, additional church planting and missions work in Cuba. Chung plans to continue his pioneering work in Venezuela.

One graduate from the Northern California campus, Versil Milton, attended the ceremony despite the death of his wife Regina earlier that day following a long bout with cancer.

“I went to the graduation,” Milton, a master of theological studies graduate, said, “because my wife and I had a covenant with the Lord and each other. She ‘graduated’ at 1:24 in the afternoon and I graduated later that night. For her, I pressed on. My being there was simply God’s abundant grace.”

In all, the Golden Gate spring commencement ceremonies awarded:

— 59 master of divinity degrees, including those with concentrations in such areas as missions or biblical studies.

— 22 master of arts in educational leadership degrees.

— 45 master of theological studies degrees.

— 2 master of theology degrees.

— 13 diplomas in theology.

— 1 diploma in educational leadership.

— 11 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 41 diplomas in Christian ministries and 16 diplomas in theology.

    About the Author

  • Amanda Phifer