SAN FRANCISCO (BP)–Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary faculty, staff, friends and family members gathered at the historic First Baptist Church in San Francisco Dec. 17 for the school’s winter graduation.
New Golden Gate Seminary President Jeff Iorg, presiding over his first graduation ceremony, challenged the 77 graduates to be part of ministry that leaves a lasting impact.
“I hope you leave Golden Gate with a simple, but profound, commitment to preach, teach and tell every single person you can that God loves them, sin separates them from a loving God, Jesus Christ died that their sin might be forgiven, and if they will turn to God through Christ, they can have eternal life forever.
“There is no more profound message that you will share than the Gospel over and over and over again.”
Citing 1 Thessalonians 2, where Paul speaks of opposition to the Gospel, Iorg reminded the graduates that sacrifice is a part of Christianity.
“In most of American Christianity, it cost nothing to follow Jesus Christ,” he said. “In the midst of such blessing, let me remind you that our responsibility is still to find a way to sacrifice ourselves for the kingdom of God. It is not about what we will get out of service or for service. It is about what we can give up to extend and to expand the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.
“My challenge to you is to speak the Gospel and sacrifice yourself in every way God asks you to, so the Gospel may be spoken and preached more effectively and His kingdom may be expanded. When that has been accomplished, your ministry will have been successful and the impact of your life will outlast your lifetime.”
During the ceremony J. T. Reed, the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Fair Oaks, Calif., was presented with the president’s award for outstanding leadership. Reed now is a three-time graduate of Golden Gate, receiving master of divinity (1985) and doctor of ministry (1989) degrees. He was awarded his third degree, a master of theology, at the winter ceremony.
Within the graduating class of 77 students, 14 states and nine countries were represented. The degrees presented included: diploma in Christian ministries, diploma in theology, master of music in church music, master of arts in Christian education, master of arts in theological studies, master of divinity, master of divinity with a concentration in Biblical studies, master of theology, and doctor of ministry.
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.