MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–President’s Convocation Chapel not only marked the beginning of the 2004-05 academic year but also a new era in Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary’s history. New President Jeff Iorg, officiating at chapel for the first time Aug. 26, voiced a challenge to set the course for the coming year.
“My primary goal for you when you leave Golden Gate is not that you amass a certain grade point, although your grade point average is important. It is not that you collect a certain amount of knowledge or master it, although I hope you do. It is not that you earn a certain degree, although we will probably give you one.
“While all of this is important,” Iorg said, “my primary goal is that you develop a lifelong passion to accelerate the fulfillment of the Great Commission and a willingness to sacrifice yourself, no matter what that means, to see the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled in our generation.”
A recurring theme of Iorg’s challenge was “passion,” often translated in the New Testament as “compassion.” Passion, he said, involves “a deep stirring, it’s what moves you to action.”
Iorg asked, “How do you get this passion? Or if you have it, how do you increase it so that it becomes a consuming burning, so that it moves you to fulfill the Great Commission?”
Citing Matthew 9:35-38, he noted that Jesus’ ministry was spent with people, touching them, seeing them and working with them. Jesus was “hands-on,” preaching, teaching, and healing as he went.
Drawing from his experience, Iorg told the story of a friend who was a hard man to get to know. After a period of nine years, serving him in various ways, Iorg had the opportunity to be there for him in a time of crisis, pointing him to Christ. “Compassion precedes working in the harvest,” Iorg said, “and is the only motive that will sustain you, keep you working for nine long years, to harvest a friend for Christ.”
Passion often is replaced by motivations of duty, guilt or desire for prestige, which are poor motives for ministry, Iorg said. He concluded his message with a call to students to deepen their passion for Jesus Christ and for giving their lives to accelerate the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary is a Cooperative Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention and operates five campuses in Northern California, Southern California, the Pacific Northwest, Arizona and Colorado.