News Articles

Golden Gate 5-year plan envisions gains in students, faculty

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–“We expect God to do miraculous things in our future,” President Jeff Iorg told trustees of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in presenting a five-year plan for expanding and improving the strategic Southern Baptist entity in the U.S. West.

“This report is a preview of what we are asking God to do through Golden Gate in the next five years,” said Iorg, who became the seminary’s seventh president in August 2004.

Trustees responded by endorsing the 2010 Plan during their April 12 meeting at the seminary’s Northern California Campus in Mill Valley.

Iorg said the 2010 Plan focuses on seven strategic objectives:

1. Increase enrollment to 2,500 students total for the seminary’s five campuses, producing 1,100 fulltime equivalents. For the 2003-04 academic year, the seminary counted 1,675 students.

2. Strengthen the strategic programs offered at each campus and prioritize improving the quality of the seminary’s academic program system-wide.

3. Expand delivery systems, including residential students, commuter students, distance learning and online studies.

4. Enhance the faculty by growing to the equivalent of 40 fulltime positions, and improve compensation and housing for faculty. Organize them into five departments or schools: theology, leadership, educational, intercultural studies and music.

5. Reorganize, redeploy or change the staff as needed to accomplish these objectives.

6. Maximize facility resources. The seminary’s five campuses are located in five of the seven largest metropolitan areas in the western United States.

7. Increase financial resources to take fresh responsibility for the seminary’s financial future with anticipation that God will provide for the vision expressed in these strategic objectives.

“Some of this plan may seem impossible,” Iorg said. “You wonder how we can grow this much, change this much, achieve this much or raise this much money. Well, we can do it. In God’s power, we can achieve what seems impossible.

“God wants to do remarkable things through us at Golden Gate. We are already one of the largest seminaries in North America, yet we have so much unrealized potential,” Iorg continued. “We have strategic locations. We have supportive partners. We teach sound doctrine and live the Great Commission. Our faculty is passionate, our staff is willing to work hard, and our students amaze me with their eagerness to change the world.

“So, let’s ask God to do the impossible, do our part to make it happen, and give Him the glory when it does.”

The plan was developed over the past six months, involving seminary staff, faculty, constituents and partners, Iorg said.

In other actions, trustees elected Joe Panter from Arizona as their new chairman and E.W. McCall from California as vice chairman, while re-electing Janie Finlay from Texas as secretary. Outgoing chairman Gary Black, a California trustee, was presented a plaque and a rocking chair for his two years of service as board chairman, which included leading the board in selecting Iorg as the successor to retiring President William O. Crews. Black will continue on the board for two more years.

Also, the trustees’ instruction committee recommended the reinstatement of the doctor of philosophy degree, to be awarded in biblical theology. Pending accreditation approval, the Ph.D. program scheduled to begin in the fall of 2006.

Trustees also approved appointment of Mark Tichenor from dean of student life to vice president of student services. The appointment is intended to give Tichenor a system-wide influence on student life issues facing the seminary’s five campuses.

New Testament professor Richard Melick was approved for a semester sabbatical in spring 2006. He plans to use the time for writing two or three books that are in process with the expectation of completing at least one. Melick also plans to complete his site research on the cities of Paul in Turkey and Greece.

Edsel D. (Eddie) Pate Jr. was named director of Golden Gate’s Southern California Campus. Pate has been associate professor of missions at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Virginia since July 2004. Previously he was responsible for Southern Baptist mission work in several countries in the Middle East and North Africa with the International Mission Board.

Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary is a Cooperative Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention, with campuses in Northern California, Southern California, the Pacific Northwest, Arizona and Colorado.

    About the Author

  • John C. Eagan