Gateway Seminary alumni hear reports on successful year
PHOENIX, Ariz. (June 14, 2017)—Oklahoma Baptist University broke into Gateway Seminary’s planned program at their SBC Alumni and Friends Luncheon to present President Jeff Iorg with the Herschel H. Hobbs Award for Distinguished Denominational Service.
“We watch from Oklahoma your leadership,” said Dr. Stan Norman, OBU provost, who presented the award. “We marvel at the way God moves in your life, for your vision, for your sacrificial service, for the way you are serving kingdom purposes in your role at Gateway Seminary.”
The award plaque cited Iorg’s “exemplary and Godly service to the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention.”
About 200 alumni and friends of Gateway Seminary gathered for their annual luncheon at the Southern Baptist Convention June 14.
Iorg reported that since last August 1 the Seminary had been “the nerve center for Southern Baptists in Southern California,” hosting 60 groups meeting in the new Ontario building, with 6,000 attendees. Those groups included the North American Mission Board’s board of trustees, the national meeting of the State Executive Directors Fellowship, the Southern California Regional Hispanic Worship Leadership Conference and others. In addition, the Inland Empire Baptist Association is a tenant in the building, as will be the California Baptist Foundation when they move to the facility this summer.
He announced that in addition to offering classes that students attend in person (Gateway Local) or online (Gateway Online), the Seminary now offers an additional delivery system, Gateway Live, that allows people to participate in a class by video conferencing anywhere they have a high speed connection.
“About 60 students have already embraced Gateway Live,” Iorg said. “A couple of students participate in videoconferencing who actually live closer to the campus than the professor teaching the class.”
He also told alumni that the new Chinese-English bilingual program (CEB) will include class instruction in Mandarin, but that students must also have English skills to navigate the rest of the classes.
“The CEB program starts this fall,” he said. “The director, Martin Chien, arrives on campus June 22, and a full program will begin the fall of 2018. Classes will be scheduled in the evening so that students participating overseas can do so during the day.”
Iorg also said that the new women’s ministry program already offers classes, but a mentorship network will offer a monthly webinar, followed by a live discussion. Also, the Contextualized Leadership Development program has been renamed Advance, with streamlined academic processes for basic theological education.
“We want to move from having 1,000 students in the program to thousands of students,” he said. “This is our opportunity to train people in dozens of languages. It represents my heart for the person who has no other opportunity.”
Iorg presented Distinguished Alumni Awards to Dr. Chad Garrison, Dr. Mark Edlund and Dr. Wayne Eurich.
Garrison, a 2001 graduate, has been pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., for 25 years. During that time, the church has baptized more than 1,200 people, averages a worship attendance of 1,700 and has contributed $3.8 million to the Cooperative Program. Most recently, Garrison opened his church as a teaching center for Gateway Seminary.
Edlund served 17 years with his wife Kristy as Southern Baptist missionaries to Asia, first as a school administrator/teacher in Kitakyushu, Japan, then mission administrator in Tokyo, and finally as regional administrator for the Pacific Rim. He assumed the role of executive director/treasurer for the Colorado Baptist General Convention (CBGC) in 2001, as well as executive director of the Baptist Foundation of Colorado, executive director of the Ponderosa Retreat and Conference Center and editor of The Rocky Mountain Baptist. He is also the CBGC’s interface with Gateway Seminary’s Rocky Mountain Campus.
Eurich graduated in 1950 and, at age 97, may be the oldest living alumnus of the Seminary. He served in churches in Oregon, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Alaska, Germany and South Africa. Eurich was presented the Distinguished Alumni Award at Gateway Seminary’s first spring commencement service in May.
“These men represent who we are,” Iorg said. “Veteran pastor, long-serving pastor in an effective ministry role, and an international and denominational leader. These are who we want all of our graduates to aspire to be like.”