Baptist Press
Posted: Mar 21, 2013 5:22 PM
EDITOR'S NOTE: "From the Seminaries" includes news releases of interest as written and edited from Southern Baptist seminaries.

Today's From the Seminaries includes:



2013 Women's Leadership Consultation convenes at Golden Gate

By Phyllis Evans

MILL VALLEY, Calif. -- "We live in a very diverse world, even in our own neighborhood," said Ann Iorg, wife of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary President Jeff Iorg and host of the 2013 Women's Leadership Consultation, a yearly conference which rotates among the six Southern Baptist seminaries for women leaders and future leaders in the local church.

Iorg welcomed more than 200 women to the gathering, noting that "Jesus challenges us to be observant and reach out to those around us. No one person can do everything, but together we can make quite a difference in the lives of people both near and far."

The women who attended came from both near and far, from the San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California, Washington and Nevada as well as speakers from across the U.S. More than 35 churches were represented and several languages were spoken.

Keynote speaker Alicia Wong, a Golden Gate grad and assistant professor of women's ministries at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, discussed the Scripture verse for the conference, Luke 10:36-37, recounting Jesus' Good Samaritan parable and His exhortation to "Go and do likewise."

One's neighbor can be anyone, not constricted by racial or geographical boundaries, Wong noted. "This parable demonstrates we are to be neighborly to everyone along the way on our journey, not only our next door neighbor."

In addition to Wong's two keynotes, 14 seminars were offered by a variety of Southern Baptist women leaders, including "Studying the Bible for Personal Growth and Teaching" led by Dorothy Patterson, professor of theology in women's studies at Southwestern Seminary and wife of Southwestern President Paige Patterson.; "Why Have a Women's Ministry?" led by Chris Adams, women's ministry specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources; "Faces in the Crowd" led by Eva De La Rosa, California Southern Baptist Convention specialist for women's ministries and missions. Ann Gill of Golden Gate's faculty and a pastor's wife led a Korean-language seminar.

Darlene Jolly, church mission leader and former member of CA FasTrak Women's Leadership Team, said she attended the Feb. 23 consultation "because of the theme, which is so appropriate here in California. Also, the tremendous state leadership team and national conference leaders were a draw. Not only was I enlightened and encouraged by the conference activities, it was an incredible inspiration to be a better leader to others."

Janai Powell, a current Golden Gate student as well as administrative assistant to GGBTS' Jeff Iorg, said the conference demonstrated to her "how important it is to be edified, encouraged and educated by other women in ministry. I loved the whole-group sessions where we could all worship and learn from the speaker together, the specialized sessions where we could hear on a specific topic of interest to us, and the more intimate setting at the afternoon café where we could hear of other women's ministries around the world."

Mary Nell McCoy, a retired public school music teacher and wife of a Golden Gate professor, said her retirement allowed her "finally able to attend this conference, and I brought a carload of women from church with me," Petaluma Valley Baptist Church where she serves in the music program and on the missions and personnel committees.

"In addition to the seminars, I enjoyed seeing people from different churches, many of whom I had not seen in a long while," McCoy said, akin to Courtney Veasy, a Golden Gate alum and itinerant speaker for women's and teenage girl conferences, who said the consultation "gave me a chance to reconnect with my friends and other female ministry leaders in the Bay Area."

Phyllis Evans is director of communications for Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary ( is a Cooperative Program Ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention, operating five fully-accredited campuses: in Northern California, Southern California, Pacific Northwest, Arizona and Colorado.


SWBTS worship degree aims to break distance, language barriers

By Sharayah Colter

FORT WORTH, Texas -- A revamped school of church music degree program at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is in the final stages of pilot course testing for its fall 2013 launch. The streamlined master of arts in worship, which features online and hybrid course options, allows students to gain theological and musical training without having to physically relocate to the Fort Worth area.

Stephen Johnson, dean of the school of church music, said the new MAW degree will enable more people to seek further training without having to leave, neglect or postpone their current ministry service. Johnson also pointed out what he described as a "groundbreaking feature": The degree will be offered in both Korean and English.

"The master of arts in worship was remade to become Southwestern's answer to worship education needs for those who must remain in their church assignment and cannot become resident students," Johnson said. "The reformatted degree is now available through online and hybrid methods."

Johnson explained that students can take the required theology courses online and complete their worship training in a hybrid format.

"For the worship studies, they have some initial reading, then come to campus for a special week of intensive classes group worship sessions, and then they return home to complete the final project or paper," Johnson said. "It is a wonderful way to have the best of both online and residential training."

John Simons, the school of church music's associate dean, said while the MAW degree will certainly cater to those who cannot leave their stations of ministry to attend seminary, it also will welcome students who wish to take classes on campus, instead of online.

"Students in the program will come to campus each January and July for intensive worship hybrid classes, skills training and group worship experiences," Simons said. "Their theological studies can be completed online or in residence using our existing Southwestern resources."

The new MAW degree has been streamlined to 36 credit hours, whereas the previous degree required 40. The degree offers an equivalent education by combining nine courses in the worship area into four hybrid classes and then rolling the existing required practica and applied study portions into three comprehensive practica. The core for the degree, which includes courses such as Spiritual Formation, Systematic Theology, Old and New Testament and Baptist Heritage, will remain the same with the exception that the new degree will not require two semesters of auditioned ensemble.

Simons said the degree will include study of biblical foundations of worship and culture, worship leadership, worship design, congregational song and philosophy.

"The newly redesigned degree includes practicum skills training in arts management, media and leading small instrumental forces in worship," Simons said. "The MAW degree concludes with an in-the-field worship ministry project and document designed and created by the student and supervised by one of the ministry department faculty members."

Simons described how the school will maneuver the multi-language feature.

"While the academic and skills training courses will be taught in either English or Korean, both cohorts will gather together for worship sessions that enable the two groups to interact, share and worship God," Simons said.

Johnson said the change will affect all new students entering the master of arts in worship degree program, from fall 2013 forward.

"This program is open to our alumni, who want further training while in the field, to any person with a completed undergraduate degree in any major," Johnson said.

Simons added that a small number of existing students will have the option to complete their degree under the current MAW degree or switch to the new degree plan, but the new MAW will soon phase out the old and exist as the only degree of its kind.

"The MAW can be an excellent path of study for worship leaders or for pastors seeking added preparation in worship studies," Simons said. "It is a degree that will foster cross-pollination of pastors, worship leaders and missionaries, and it provides an added element of cross-cultural pollination between those studying in English and those studying in Korean."

Sharayah Colter is a writer for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary ( Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook ( ) and in your email (

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