MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP) — Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary’s trustees have approved a budget of $11,904,000 for the coming year, an increase of 2.9 percent from the current year.
The budget also is part of a two-year process of increased faculty compensation. “The importance of this upgrade,” GGBTS President Jeff Iorg said, “is we are now compensating our faculty more appropriately and are able to attract stronger candidates for the future.”
Iorg, in his report during the trustees’ April 15-16 meeting at the Northern California campus in Mill Valley, said the seminary “continues to experience the results of hard work by many coupled with the grace of God protecting, guiding and using us.”
“We are a healthy seminary,” Iorg said, “because we focus on our mission — shaping leaders who expand God’s Kingdom around the world. We practice mission discipline rigorously and we stay mission-focused.”
As part of his report, Iorg noted that the Korean English bilingual program, which launched last fall, “has exceeded our expectations and is the most successful new program launch in our history, both in enrollment and donations.” Iorg saluted David Gill, the program’s director and former longtime pastor of a California Korean congregation, for the development and growth of the program. Iorg added that the program already is becoming a model for other potential bilingual programs.
“The most challenging aspect of academic programming is keeping up with the changing nature of educational delivery,” Iorg told the board. “Golden Gate is keeping pace with the expansion of online learning, and our online programs are the fastest-growing segment of our academic delivery system.”
Iorg also described the retooling of the seminary’s strategy at its regional campuses in the Pacific Northwest, Colorado and Arizona.
“At our regional campuses outside California, we are revising how we offer classes and the number of classes we offer. We are integrating our options with more online courses.” The seminary also has revised its delivery schedule at its Brea, Calif., campus. “The new teaching plan in Southern California is more commuter-friendly and focused on expanding our reach across that region,” Iorg said.
The board elected Lisa Hoff to the faculty as associate professor of intercultural studies. She had been serving under a presidential appointment, but now joins the full-time faculty. She has served for more than 17 years in Southeast Asia before coming to Golden Gate. Hoff holds M.Div. and master of arts in intercultural studies degrees from Golden Gate and was a recipient of the William O. Crews Presidential Leadership Award recognizing her outstanding potential for future service. Hoff subsequently earned a Ph.D. from Biola University in California.
Trustees elected Ben Skaug as vice president for institutional advancement. Skaug is a native Idahoan who previously served as director of development at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky and most recently has been serving in a pastoral role. “We are delighted to add someone with Dr. Skaug’s competence and passion for seminary education to our staff,” Iorg said. “We are also thrilled to increase the diversity of our leadership team by adding a Native American as a vice president.” Skaug holds D.Min. and M.Div. degrees from Southern Seminary.
The board also hosted a reception to celebrate the W. Morgan Patterson Collection, an extensive library of nearly 5,000 Baptist history and theology items donated by Patterson’s widow, Ernestine North Patterson.
“This collection of rare books is a treasure for the West Coast,” said Chris Chun, chair of historical/theological studies at the seminary. “This collection will draw scholars from all over the world to visit and study Baptist history and theology at Golden Gate.”
Ernestine Patterson is the recipient of the seminary’s 2013 Harold K. Graves Award given to an individual or family who demonstrates continuing support and service.
The board also heard a detailed report about the seminary’s land development options and the challenges of finding long-term solutions to using the property and facilities to best accomplish Golden Gate’s mission. “We are confident God has a plan for all this and pray for His wisdom to discern the best steps forward,” Iorg said.
Elected as trustee officers were chairman, Steven R. Sheldon, pastor of Wrightsdale Baptist Church in Peach Bottom, Pa.; vice chair, William “Bill” Moffitt, retired executive from Pasco, Wash.; and secretary, Greg Byman, pastor of St. Joe Community Church in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Golden Gate Seminary is a Cooperative Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention, operating five fully-accredited campuses in Northern California, Southern California, Pacific Northwest, Colorado and Arizona. For more information, visit www.ggbts.edu.
Phyllis Evans is director of communications for Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.