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Golden Gate expands influence, administrators tell alumni
     ATLANTA, June 16--Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary is expanding its sphere of influence through the development of new programs and growth at the school's regional campuses, seminary officials told participants at the annual luncheon for alumni and friends meeting June 16 during the Southern Baptist Convention in Atlanta.
     "Our commitment as a seminary is to provide the kind of theological education and leadership development training that is linked closely to the ministry of the local church," said William O. Crews, president of the Mill Valley, Calif., seminary. To help provide that kind of training, Golden Gate operates a residential campus near San Francisco and regional campuses in Southern California (Brea) and the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver, Wash.). All three offer full degree programs. Centers in Phoenix, Ariz., and Denver currently only offer partial programs.
     Seminary Provost Richard R. Melick Jr., said new programs, such as a master of arts in worship leadership, a master of arts in theological studies and other ministry partnerships, currently are under development. They are part of seminary efforts to help students find new ways of making an impact in local churches and global ministries. "We are a great seminary by God's grace," Melick said. "We want students to go out from Golden Gate Seminary campuses to make the kind of spiritual impact worthy of our Lord and his purposes."
Acknowledging the seminary's role in church-planting training for the future, Joe Hernandez, mentoring team director in the North American Mission Board's church-planting group, presented a special recognition to Crews.
     "On behalf of the North American Mission Board, we would like to express our appreciation for [Golden Gate's] willingness to partner in the preparing of church planters through the Nehemiah Project," Hernandez said. "It is our prayer that this partnership might provide a synergy for creating movements of healthy reproducing churches." The Nehemiah Project is a program in which NAMB funds a professor of church planting at each SBC seminary to assist in the education and coordination of Southern Baptist church planting in North America. Although the program takes place at each of the six SBC seminaries, Hernandez affirmed three things that make the partnership between Golden Gate and NAMB unique.
-- Sam Williams, assistant professor of pastoral leadership. His conceptualization of the seminary's Church Planter Intern Program, which later became the framework for developing the Nehemiah Project. "It has served as a guide and glimpse into the future for what Nehemiah can become."
-- The seminary's regional campus system. "Your commitment to regional campuses paves the way in pioneering how we can be the most effective in the discovery, development and deployment of indigenous leadership."
-- Creativity in organization. "Your flexibility and willingness to find creative means for partnering together [have helped make this happen]."
Golden Gate presented its annual Alumni Achievement Award to Emerson Falls, who earned master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees from the seminary and now serves as director of the school's Rocky Mountain Campus in Denver. Prior to joining the Golden Gate staff, Falls -- the first Native American to serve in a leading administrative role at a Southern Baptist seminary -- was a pastor in California and Arizona. Earlier this year, he also started a church in the Denver area to reach Native Americans living in the Denver metroplex.

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