Intersect 2013 - Urban Edges

Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary’s Northern California campus celebrated Intersect 2013, a multi-day intercultural event held each year during the first week of November. This year’s theme was “Urban Edges.” Dr. Lisa Hoff, Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies and Chair of the Intersect committee, explained that the theme was chosen because the world is undergoing the largest wave of urban growth in its history. “Over half of the world’s population currently lives in urban centers,” she said, “and we need only look out the windows of this chapel to be reminded of the importance and impact that cities have on people’s lives.”

Sponsored by The David and Faith Kim School of Global Missions, the Seminary’s ninth annual Intersect conference provided the Golden Gate Seminary community with an opportunity to highlight connection points between the Gospel and culture. “It is meant to be a time that challenges each of us to go deeper in areas of cultural competence and to understand how to be transformation agents for the Gospel among diverse peoples and communities,” said Dr. Hoff.

This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. Ray Bakke, noted author, teacher, and urban strategist. He has personally led or served as a resource leader for urban ministry consultations in more than 200 large cities on six continents.

In addition to Dr. Bakke’s two addresses, the three-day event incorporated a variety of activities including lectures, discussions, a Bay Area ministry leaders luncheon dialogue, a campus-wide food truck lunch, a movie night, and an art project involving 12 local churches.

One of the highlights was a luncheon dialogue attended by Bay Area ministry leaders and kingdom-minded men and women. “I was pleased to see so many pastors, missions directors, and front-line urban ministers participate,” said Dr. Don Dent, Director of The Kim School of Global Missions. “This conference helped to bring real-life urban and intercultural issues to the forefront of our awareness and deepen the educational experience of our students.”

Bakke’s keynote addresses, “The Surprising Journey to an Urban World: Discovering a Theology as Big as the City” and “Cities Challenge Church and Mission: Seeking Signs of Hope” emphasized the’ theology of place,’ and shared ministry strategies for evangelism in the city. “I’m overwhelmingly convenience that God is urbanizing the world, bringing nations to the neighborhoods,” Bakke observed. “You have an urban future whether you like it or not. The Bible begins in a garden, but ends in a city.”

The annual Intersect conference was founded in 2005 by Dr. Faith Kim, senior professor of Spiritual Formation. Dr. Kim said the goal of Intersect “is to encourage an intentional approach to viewing diversity and commonality as related attributes, to understand that there are as many “within” group differences as there are cross-cultural differences, and to develop an individual and institutional plan of action.

“Everyone’s culture influences our perception, thoughts, and behaviors,” said Dr. Kim. “The Intersect conference stimulates ideas and creates a sense of community. Just as the Christian faith intersects the language, location, and cultures of people wherever they are, Christians are called to intersect with people – wherever and whoever they are – sharing the Good News of Jesus.”