At the California Southern Baptist Convention last month, it was encouraging to hear President Jeff Iorg announce Gateway Seminary graduated a record number of students during the 2022-23 academic year. Nearly 350 graduates walked across the commencement stage and formalized their commitment to be the hands and feet of Jesus and lead others toward Him. In this season of thanks, I reflect on and pray for the incredible work happening at the Seminary and the great things still yet to come.
Today’s culture can make for a challenging, uphill battle for believers, especially for those who choose the path of leading in ministry. It does not take but a few minutes of watching the news to know we live in a fallen world. The Seminary has a heavy load to carry, educating the next generation of ministry leaders, theologians, global engagement officers, educational directors, and Christian counselors, among other professionals. I am thankful that, despite the wave of societal pressures, the Seminary remains steadfast in preparing future leaders to strip the universe of its noise so we can remain fixed on Him.
The development of future leaders could not happen without faithful and talented faculty and staff at Gateway. Their efforts guide students to deepen the roots of Christianity among believers while spreading the gospel to millions around the world who have never known Jesus. We are blessed that our institutional partnership has led some of CBU’s very own faculty to be among those who serve in adjunct roles at Gateway.
CBU and the Seminary have built strong connections over the past three decades, with CBU serving as an important pipeline for students. Currently, 47 CBU alumni attend the Seminary for their advanced studies. Our institutions have worked together to establish beneficial programs for our students, including the Advanced Track Degree. The program recognizes CBU’s rigorous biblical preparation and allows Bachelor of Applied Theology (BAT) graduates to gain advanced standing, which helps reduce redundancy, builds upon previous learning, and fast tracks a student’s time to degree. Additionally, CBU BAT students who plan to pastor in California qualify for the E. Glen Paden Scholarship, named after Glen Paden, who was a dear friend to both our institutions.
I am thankful Gateway invests in the Great Commission to expand God’s Kingdom around the world. The value and impact of a mission trip cannot be overstated, and Gateway’s commitment to sending every qualified student on a mission through their new Go Grant Endowment Fund will no doubt be an enriching experience for all who participate in the mission field.
Lastly, I am thankful for the friendship of Jeff Iorg and his wife Ann. This year marks his 20th year of service as president of Gateway Seminary. We have shared more phone calls, lunches, and conversations than I can count – and I consider him a true friend and respected colleague in higher education. Both of us are well aware of what it takes to propel an institution forward. Jeff announced his retirement last month, and whoever is selected to take his place will have big shoes to fill.
The Seminary is a wonderful partner in education and a model institution for how to develop future leaders of the Baptist faith who are true disciples of Christ and globally spread the gospel. I am thankful for Gateway Seminary and its impact on all nations. I look forward to the institution’s bright future ahead. May the Lord continue to bless!