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Prof joins Golden Gate, eager to reach next generations

SAN FRANCISCO (BP)–Bob Royall joins Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary this fall, adding to the mix of faculty ardor his drive to develop a new kind of seminary education that more effectively reaches emerging generations of college graduates.

Royall is moving to the seminary’s residential campus in Mill Valley, Calif., from his current ministry at the Northwest Baptist Convention where he served as director of Baptist Student Ministries for the Portland metro area for seven years. Earlier he served as the student ministry director at the University of Idaho for seven years.

“Dr. Royall has played a crucial role in the development of collegiate ministries in the Pacific Northwest and we look forward to the perspectives he’ll bring to Golden Gate’s academic programs,” said seminary President William O. Crews. “Every ministry interested in the future must pay attention to the rapid transitions taking place in student ministry and the needs of emerging generations.”

Royall brings a familiar face to the seminary faculty. Since 1995, he has taught as an adjunct professor in the areas of spiritual formation and supervised ministry and student ministry at the seminary’s regional campus in Vancouver, Wash. He earned both his master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees from Golden Gate.

Having concentrated his ministry toward college and seminary students, Royall points to the need to specially gear seminary education for the emerging generation of ministry leaders.

“They bring a different perspective and different needs to their search for personal and professional development,” Royall noted. “In the years to come I intend to develop new delivery systems for seminary education that will be more relevant to them.”

The sheer number of college students, Royall said, demands that churches and ministry organizations learn how to reach them. He noted one out of seven college students in the United States — more than 2 million — study at institutions in California.

Ignoring ministry to college students means “we are in fact robbing our churches of the leadership they need to impact their communities and ensure their survival.”

Royal said the Northwest Baptist Convention where he served has long recognized the vital link between college ministry and church growth: “Many of our leading pastors and denominational leaders were reached and developed through collegiate ministry.”

Calling college students the “difference makers of the next decade,” Royall observed international students in California universities will become some of the most powerful world leaders over the next two decades.

“We need to dream a new dream of reaching this critical generation and turning them into fully devoted Christian leaders for our churches,” Royall said. “My hope is that I may play some role in developing generations of ministers who are equipped to reach this postmodern population with the good news of Jesus Christ. I also would like to partner with others who long to see college students in California and elsewhere reached more effectively.”

In addition to his election as a faculty member, Royall also was named associate director of the seminary’s doctor of ministry program. He mentioned the benefit he personally received from the program.

“I was attracted to the doctor of ministry program at Golden Gate because it offered the best, most well-rounded approach of all those that I considered,” he said. “Golden Gate’s doctor of ministry process created just the right environment for intellectual stimulation, professional development and personal growth. It also provides the kind of flexible scheduling that enables quality doctoral study without disrupting one’s current ministry.”

Nevertheless, Royall said, the program faces a challenge as it seeks future growth.

“Currently, Golden Gate’s doctor of ministry program is in high demand throughout the country,” he said. “The challenge will be to find a way to allow more people to pursue doctor of ministry studies at Golden Gate without sacrificing the quality of what we offer. My hope is that we will become known as the very best doctor of ministry program in the country in the years to come.”

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  • Cameron Crabtree