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Golden Gate music programs revamped; task force to study worship needs

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–Major changes in the music education programs for Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary were reported at the board of trustees May 5-6 meeting at the Mill Valley campus.

In a report from the trustees’ instruction committee, the board was told that the changes call for the “teaching out” of the master of music in church music and the master of arts in worship leadership degrees, and for reconfiguring the master of divinity concentration in church music degree. The changes were made by the Golden Gate President William O. Crews following a recommendation from the seminary faculty.

Trustees affirmed the action of the president in accepting the recommendation of the faculty.

“We intend to keep teaching music,” Crews said. “We are committed to identifying the best way to do that.”

Crews noted that “major changes in the music department nine years ago had proved unsuccessful and the music department has been a financial drain on other degrees.”

He added, “Most churches in the West are small, staffed by volunteer worship leaders who are not candidates for seminary training.” Academic Vice President Rick Durst said only 24 students are enrolled for both music master’s degree programs currently offered, and “that is not enough to sustain them.”

Crews will appoint a task force to assess the worship leadership needs in the churches and to recommend how the seminary might respond more effectively to those needs. The task force will include local church worship leaders (paid and volunteer); denominational church worship leaders; faculty members; and others who are recognized as leaders or stakeholders in the field of effective worship in the churches.

The task force will bring recommendations to the president as soon as possible, with appropriate recommendations being forwarded to the faculty for consideration in its degree program review process. New courses approved by the faculty will be reported to the board.

In other academic action, trustees unanimously approved the master of arts in educational leadership. The MAEL is a retooling and renaming of the existing master of arts in Christian education. The MAEL is a 49-hour degree designed to enable persons to specialize their training according to the needs of their ministry. It allows students to focus in areas of early childhood, student or collegiate ministry while also receiving a foundation in Bible, theology, leadership and discipleship.

The board also approved sabbatical leaves for two faculty members: Kon Yang, fall 2003-spring 2004 and Gary McCoy, fall 2004-spring 2005. Faculty members Paul Smith, Earl Waggoner and Gregg Watson were promoted to associate professor.

To address future funding needs, the board approved a feasibility study to conduct a $6 million, three-year fund-raising campaign. The campaign will include funds for the annual student sponsorship fund, capital projects and endowment.

Trustees elected a new board chairman, Gary Black of Novato, Calif. Elected to the trustees’ executive committee were Joe Panter of Paradise Valley, Ariz., vice chairman; Janie Finlay of Houston, secretary; David Gill of Antioch, Calif., instructional committee chairman; John Funk of Westlake Village, Calif., property and finance committee chairman; Calvin Kelly of Birmingham, Ala., student relations chairman; Ed Adams of Hesperia, Calif., institutional advancement chairman; and at large members Bob Fargarson of Brownsville, Tenn., E.W. McCall Sr. of La Puente, Calif., and Bob Swift of Mayfield, Ky.

The seminary honored outgoing members for their years of service on the board: David George of Lake Arlington, Texas, a past board chairman; Jerry A. Coleman of Bellevue, Wash.; and Kenneth V. Simons of Ouray, Colo. George and Coleman served 10 years on the board and Simons two years.

Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary is owned by the Southern Baptist Convention and operates campuses in Northern California, Southern California, the Pacific Northwest, Colorado and Arizona.

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  • John C. Eagan