ONTARIO, Calif. (BP) — Trustees of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary received reports concerning the relocation to Southern California and set new strategic goals for overall seminary operations during their Oct. 13-14 meeting in Ontario, Calif.
President Jeff Iorg gave a progress report on the new primary campus building in Ontario, a city in Southern California’s Inland Empire region east of Los Angeles. The Conditional Use Permit (CUP) process is nearing completion, with the purchase of the property to be final by early November, Iorg reported.
The seminary has hired TR Design, an award-winning firm from Riverside, Calif., to design the new campus building’s interior, Iorg announced. Construction on the hi-tech campus interior will begin in the spring.
Additionally, Iorg said the seminary has taken the initial necessary steps to request the change to its proposed new name: Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention. The approval requires consecutive affirmations from the SBC during the next two annual meetings.
In reviewing the reasons for the change, Iorg said, “We have had a growing sense that bearing a name so closely associated with an iconic landmark won’t serve us well when our primary campus is in the Inland Empire. Since we have campuses throughout the West and students all over the world, we need a missional name that is not geographically tied to a state or region.” The seminary’s main campus currently is in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Addressing upcoming personnel changes, Iorg said the seminary has “worked with a consulting firm to help us develop separation policies, future employment policies for current employees, new job descriptions for every staff position and a salary study that will help the seminary establish a new pay scale.” Iorg shared several stories of the positive faculty and staff response to the plans.
A major focus of the meeting was reviewing the seminary’s Diamond Plan to coincide with its 75th anniversary, or “diamond” anniversary” in 2019-20.
Iorg reported on the completion of eight strategic goals, first set in 2009. “We have completed the first five-year implementation cycle with remarkable results,” he said. “Now, with the relocation pending, it’s the perfect time to create the next set of five-year goals.”
Among the new goals adopted by trustees are the establishment of a new identity as Gateway Seminary, pending SBC approval; the completion of the new campus in Southern California and a new commuter campus in northern California; and the development of new strategies for recruiting, student services and marketing. Iorg also proposed formalizing faculty and staffing improvement plans in the next few years.
Additionally, specific goals were set for annual fund giving and endowment growth. “With revenue from the land sale and competent future fundraising, we believe we can have a $100 million endowment by 2020,” Iorg projected.
One future goal highlights the need for training more pastors for churches in the West and around the world. “Golden Gate has always trained pastors,” Iorg said, “but the coming crisis of a shortage of pastors means we must redouble our efforts in this area.”
The seminary will be making several changes, outlined as part of the strategic goal-setting process, to better prepare pastors for ministry today. This includes an ongoing evaluation of its master of divinity curriculum in light of current ministry challenges.
The trustees also approved responses to two referrals from the 2014 SBC annual meeting. The first concerned biblical tithing and the second concerned online course fees.