What students and graduates are saying

Garrett Holmes moved to the Northern California Campus of Golden Gate from Mississippi in 2003, and graduated with his Master of Divinity in 2007. Upon graduation, Garrett moved to Boulder City, Nevada where he began serving as youth and Christian education pastor at Bethany Baptist Church. Garrett and his wife, Jessica, continue to live and serve in Boulder City with their four children.

"My four years of life at Golden Gate were the most rewarding four years of my ministry experience. Through the relationships built and maintained with professors, staff, fellow students, and people from the community, I grew in ways that cannot be measured. Being raised in the deep South and moving to a new culture gave me a new perspective on how to do ministry. I was blessed to minister on a local church staff and also minister to the lost community through building relationships at my secular job at a local coffee shop. Golden Gate Seminary offered me priceless ministry training, both in the classroom and on the field, as well as some of the best friendships and relationships that I have ever encountered. My time at Golden Gate definitely prepared me for my current ministry in Nevada."

Jen Saunders is originally from Binghamton, New York, and after serving as a campus minister in Connecticut, began considering seminary. Jen saw the West coast as an exciting and challenging place to both live and learn. Jen graduated from the Northern California Campus of Golden Gate in 2007 with her Master of Arts in Educational Leadership. She currently works with Vision San Diego as a mobilization coordinator with Upward sports.

"I really believe that my time at Golden Gate made me extremely rich. I came to know so many wonderful people and developed quality, life-long friendships. I was surrounded by an amazing community of believers who all had such a great heart for the Lord and a purpose to honor Him with their lives. I don’t think I will ever have such an experience like that again…what an incredible gift from the Lord!"

Ryan Blackwell graduated with his Master of Divinity in 2008. Originally from Arkansas, Ryan completed his undergraduate work at Oklahoma Baptist University, and then returned to Arkansas to continue his ministry following seminary as the Pastor of Young Adults at First Baptist Church of Springdale, Arkansas.

Ryan then was called by First Baptist Church of San Francisco. Since December 2010, Ryan has been Senior Pastor of this historic church.

"I enjoyed GGBTS because it gave me a new passion for the church and the gospel that I had never experienced growing up in the Bible belt. In stead of merely going to or working in a church, I realized what being the church actually looked like in real life. GGBTS really impacted my life by breaking through my feelings of inadequacy in ministry. Through mentor relationships, personal study, and my first experience pastoring a church, God continually showed me His ability to do much more than I could ever have imagined in my life."

Bryan Brown is a native of Western New York, and graduated with his Master of Divinity in 2009 from the Northern California campus. Bryan’s time at Golden Gate was spent ministering in a local church and coordinating a sports ministry with the inmates at San Quentin State Prison. Bryan also served as chaplain for the University of San Francisco men’s basketball team.

"Coming to seminary, I knew God was calling me, but I was unsure about what ministry vocation that meant. So, I soaked up everything I could while studying in seminary by attending chapels, dialoguing during brown bag lunch discussions, learning what I could from other students and their experiences, and taking advantage of the wisdom of visiting speakers and lecturers. My professors challenged me to love God more intimately and see the world through the eyes of Christ. All of this has prepared me for working with a non-profit while serving the Church with humility."

Rebekah Slick grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and received her Master of Divinity in 2008 at the Northern California Campus of Golden Gate. Since graduation, Rebekah has moved to New York to work with a small organization called “The Smallest Seed”. She has spent a great deal of time in Africa working to help abused, oppressed and AIDS affected women empower themselves to find a better life in Christ, away from the sex-trade.

"Seminary was both an incredible challenge and an incredible blessing. God used the professors, textbooks and my fellow classmates to sharpen me, equip me and build into me a rock of knowledge and resource to balance out the strong passion and emotions that governed much of my life. My cry then is the same as it is today, Lord keep me in love with you, keep me near to your heart, show me truth and show me its relevance to the poor, the addicted, the abused and the forgotten."

Jenny Cummings received her Master of Arts in Educational Leadership in 2008 from the Northern California Campus of Golden Gate. Prior to that, she completed half of her degree at the Southern California Campus in Brea. Jenny is a Southern California native, and studied at California Baptist University before enrolling at Golden Gate. After graduation, Jenny began ministering to college students in Georgia, where she remains today.

"My time at Golden Gate provided me with various opportunities for ministry. I learned about an amazing college internship working with Baptist Collegiate Ministries in the state of Georgia and was offered a position working at Georgia State University. This has opened the door for more college ministry opportunities and I am blessed and excited to see what God will do with my future. Golden Gate provided me with a chance to deeply study Scripture and what it meant for the Christian life, while also giving me new opportunities for ministry within the surrounding community, as well as for future endeavors."

Jamie "My time at Golden Gate was more than I ever expected. I was challenged academically in the classroom by professors who cared as much about my personhood as they did about my education. My worldview was expanded by engaging with the multi-cultural student body and the diverse community of Northern California. My desire to leave a lasting impact in the lives of hurting people was enhanced through the various ministry opportunities available. Golden Gate is more than a seminary to me, it is a community where God connects, revives, sharpens, and challenges those fortunate enough to be a part of it."

John "I am originally from Florida. After traveling to many places around the world and serving for two years in East Asia, I felt like I was being called to live and work overseas. Seminary seemed like a good next step, but I also wanted a degree that would give me credibility overseas. That is why I chose Golden Gate and the Global Studies Partnership. It provided the best of both worlds and the campus was located in a very multicultural area.

"My time at Golden Gate was a life changing experience. It was difficult and challenging at times, to be sure, but I enjoyed the classes I took, and I feel like I learned much that I have already been able to take and apply to my life, whether that is in my personal relationship with Christ, ministering in America, or working in a foreign country. I also value the relationships that I had the pleasure of making while at Golden Gate. The teachers that I had, some of which I now call friends, helped me believe in myself and realize that I can do more than I thought possible. The friends I made showed me what truth faith looks like and pushed me to excel in my own faith and life."

Ben Burleson is a Tennessee native and a Union University graduate. Ben and his wife Jen reside in Northern California while Ben is earning his Master of Divinity degree at the Northern California Campus of Golden Gate.

"My wife and I came to Golden Gate in order to allow the Lord to stretch and challenge us in this unique environment. Little did we know what an understatement that would turn out to be! Golden Gate is the only place I have seen where students are challenged to grow both in their love for people and depth of biblical truth. The seminary experience here not only cultivates a thirst for God's Word and desire to further His Mission, but it also gives the student practical insight and first hand encounters into the global workings of the Church community."

Sang Boo earned his Master of Divinity degree in 2009 and is now pursuing the Doctor of Philosophy degree at the Northern California Campus of Golden Gate. Originally from South Korea, Sang has lived all over the United States, but most recently in Livermore, CA. After receiving his calling, his pastor encouraged him to attend Golden Gate. Sang now resides on campus with his wife and three children and also serves on the pastoral staff of his church in Mountain View.

"I believe that I am here because God has brought me here. And God has been using every part of the Golden Gate experience to grow me and my family. The faculty is world-class, and they genuinely care about the students. The community is diverse, supportive, and enriching. I know that my family will always look back and cherish this season of our lives here at Golden Gate."

Noe Garcia is pursuing the Master of Divinity degree at the Northern California Campus of Golden Gate. Noe is originally from the Houston, Texas area.

"I made the decision to attend Golden Gate based on several things, God, the influence of my mentor, and location. Golden Gate has been a place where I can learn from passionate professors in the classroom and apply what I am learning personally and outside the walls of the seminary. For me this is the best way to be equipped and effective, besides what better place to train and be equipped than the Bay area: The World in One City!"

Joseph and Carol Hui are from Hong Kong, China. Joseph was a civil engineer and Carol was a social worker in Hong Kong. God called them from their jobs to study at a seminary, and both of them feel led to be missionaries. Golden Gate was highly recommended by other missionaries and pastors, which led them to start their journey at Golden Gate.

"America was a totally new place for us before we came to Golden Gate. By God's grace, we adapted to the environment and culture very fast. One of the reasons is due to Golden Gate being a big family where people take care of each other. Studying at Golden Gate, we have fruitful learning and reflection in God's words, which solidly strengthen our faith and can be applied in our ministry. Every time we walk out from the classroom and see the fascinating scene, we think about what a privilege it is to study here and it always reminds us that ‘We are the light of the world!’"

Kaluba Kapapula came to Golden Gate from Zambia after being in full time ministry for ten years in a number of roles. His work as youth minister, senior pastor, missionary, and church planter showed him his need to further his education at seminary. One of Kaluba’s pastor friends encouraged him to look into attending GGBTS, where he is now pursuing his Diploma of Educational Leadership at Golden Gate’s Rocky Mountain Campus while serving as senior pastor of a church in Lakewood, Colorado.

"It is amazing how God knows where we need to be equipped from; the seminary has met every expectation I had about seminary education. My favorite aspect of seminary is the experience the professors bring with them. Almost all my professors have at some point worked in the field and share from experience, and you just cannot beat that. After graduating, I hope to use my credentials from Golden Gate to the Glory of God by equipping African Church Leaders to become better servants of God."