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Golden Gate trustees approve new degrees, $7 million budget

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–Training ministers for effective worship leadership is the focus of a new degree program approved by trustees of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary at their regular spring meeting April 21.
Trustees also gave the green light to another new master’s degree and approved a record $7.4 million budget for the 1998-99 fiscal year which begins Aug. 1.
The master of arts in worship leadership degree will offer skill training in music, worship leadership, worship philosophy and theology, and church ministry.
Seminary President William O. “Bill” Crews said the worship leadership degree program is a result of actions trustees made to restructure the seminary’s school of church music in 1997.
“We have felt like this is what the churches in the West were needing and asking for. This came out of the (trustee) meeting a year ago when you were asked to make hard decisions about the school of church music. It might not have happened if you hadn’t stood with us a year ago in a very hard time,” Crews said. The seminary’s school of music continues to offer two other church music degrees.
According to survey results reported to trustees, three out of four California Southern Baptist churches contacted about the new degree expressed support for the emphasis on worship.
“Seventy-five percent of churches in California would applaud, endorse and recommend people” to enroll, said David George, trustee from Texas. Moreover, George added, respondents said they “would call those graduates to their church staff.”
The second new degree program approved by trustees is a master of arts in theological studies. With some of the courses in the new degree being offered now at Saddleback Valley Community Church, Lake Forest, Calif., as part of a pilot project, the two-year degree is designed for church members actively involved in volunteer ministry instead of for vocational ministers.
“I for one am terribly excited about providing something for laypeople in theological studies that will help them be more effective in their churches,” Crews told trustees.
Golden Gate Seminary’s 1998-99 budget tops the $7 million mark for the first time ever, in part due to a 6 percent increase in the school’s Cooperative Program allocation. Trustees agreed to hold tuition rates for Southern Baptist students at current levels while reducing the more expensive fees charged to non-SBC students 33 percent.
Jim Stephenson, vice president for business affairs, said the new fiscal year’s budget increase will allow the seminary to fill three of four existing faculty vacancies on the Mill Valley Campus. It also will permit adding full-time faculty at the Pacific Northwest Campus in Vancouver, Wash., and a librarian at the Southern California Campus in Brea.
The seminary’s fund-raising and public relations operations also will get additional funding to help increase support for the institution, Stephenson added.
In other actions trustees:
— elected Gary Arbino as assistant professor of archaeology and Old Testament interpretation. Arbino, 38, received his M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees from Golden Gate, and he has taught at the Mill Valley campus since 1992. He also is curator of the seminary’s Marian Eakins Archaeological Collection.
— re-elected officers for the coming year, including Samuel Porter of Oklahoma, chairman; David Gill of California, vice chairman; and William E. “Bill” East of California, secretary.
— reviewed and approved the 1996-97 fiscal year audit.
— authorized spending up to $50,000 for renovating space to support new functions such as the School of Intercultural Studies and the office of provost.
— asked seminary administrators to consider posting trustee meeting materials on the seminary’s World Wide Web site for password access by trustees in advance of scheduled meetings.

    About the Author

  • Mark A. Wyatt