MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–A flexible scheduling option called “One-Day Monday” is making Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary classes possible for people from more locations.
Jeff Jung, for example, is in his first semester of commuting from Reno, Nev., each week to pursue a master of divinity degree at Golden Gate’s Northern California campus near San Francisco.
With a heart for the people of Reno, Jung couldn’t bear to leave his ministry at Reno Korean Baptist Church, where the University of Nevada graduate is the college minister, choir director and praise leader, in addition to working with the youth.
The three-and-a-half-hour commute is taxing, but worth it, Jung said, noting, “The passion that Christ has given me for learning about Him and serving Him is greater than the physical challenge of commuting.”
Each Monday he drives in for two classes, spends the night in commuter housing, attends class on Tuesday morning and drives home that afternoon.
Golden Gate has reshaped its class schedules to make it possible for Master of Divinity students, as well as those seeking a Master of Arts in theological studies, to take all their classes under the One-Day Monday schedule. Thus, a quality theological education is now possible for more students under the commuter-friendly schedule at the Northern California campus in Mill Valley.
Mike Lacaze, who also is working toward an M.Div., commutes from Ukiah, Calif., a drive of 100 miles that takes approximately an hour and 45 minutes on Monday and up to three hours going home on Tuesday. Lacaze is commuting so he can continue his ministry as associate pastor of Crossroads Christian Church, a new Southern Baptist congregation in Ukiah.
“The commuter schedule allows me to do the ministry God has called me to right now, but also get the theological education that I need,” Lacaze said.
Jayme Horning, meanwhile, is a residential commuter pursuing an M.Div. Three days a week, Horning lives in the women’s dorm at Golden Gate’s Northern California campus; the other four days, she works as a Southwest Airlines flight attendant. Golden Gate’s location and One-Day Monday program are key factors in making seminary classes possible for Horning, who is originally from Texas and a graduate of Baylor University.
“People on the plane ask, ‘How are you able to fit classes into your work schedule?’ It’s the one-day degree. I feel safe knowing that Golden Gate is helping me complete all the requirements in four years,” Horning said.
“Making seminary the home I fly back to helps me find balance,” she added. “I can relate to those who are rarely on campus and bond with those who live here full time.”
Additionally, Thursday class options are available to students pursuing a master of arts in educational leadership (MAEL).
Karen Anthony, for example, commutes an hour each way from Fairfield, Calif., where she works as a business agent for a labor union –- and is a wife and mother of three teenagers.
“Golden Gate’s schedule works for me because I know I will only be away from my job for half a day on Thursday,” said Anthony, who holds a degree from the University of Utah in philosophy, a degree in health services from St. Mary’s University and a Master’s in administrative organizational management from the University of Phoenix.
“I am trying to take advantage the opportunity to attend seminary. As long as we live, we are called to serve God and we need to be as prepared as possible to do the work He gives us,” Anthony said.
Bobbie Arnold, another MAEL student, who commutes a little over an hour from Palo Alto, Calif., said, “If it wasn’t for the one-day program, I would have to commute several times a week, taking classes at night.”
For more information regarding the new one-day schedules and available scholarships, visit Golden Gate’s website at www.ggbs.edu.
Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, a Cooperative Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention, operates five campuses in Northern California, Southern California, the Pacific Northwest, Arizona and Colorado.
Sims is a freelance writer and student at Golden Gate Seminary.