Although the official Commencement ceremony is postponed until 2021, we celebrate our 2020 Baptist Bible Seminary graduates. Here are a few thoughts from the graduates. We at BBS are blessed to have been a part of their education, and we look forward to the ways God will continue His work through these men and women of the class of 2020.
Keith Stark, Master of Ministry
Pastor, Exmouth Christian Fellowship, Exmouth, WA, Australia
As a student from another denomination, from another country, from an older generation, and from an unusual ministry experience, I want to commend the school and each professor for how well I have been received. The church I minister to has five denominations represented in just seven families. Until last week I was the only minister in town. Working with multiple denominations isn’t an optional part of my life or ministry, and deciding which school to attend was a challenge. While BBS and I do not share every doctrinal position, the school did one thing well that I was willing to set aside any differences to experience: You held to an outstanding position on how to read and understand the Bible accurately without compromise or apology.
The professors and students have rewarded this risk with kindness and gentle interaction befitting the proper reputation of disciples of Christ. I simply want to encourage the school in this regard. I believe you have the exact right balance. We must never compromise our understanding of the Word of God, nor minimize the importance of doctrine. As we interact between, and even within, denominations, we must never bury doctrinal issues for the sake of getting along. On the other hand, the love we have for every fellow Christian should allow for an environment in which such differences can be discussed within the unity of the saving grace of our savior.
Thank you for doing this well. Above all, how we treat each other as Christians must be a beacon of hope to a broken world. I am genuinely humbled by how well you cared for me and my education during this essential portion of my development in ministry.
Joshua Ford, Master of Arts: Church Planting and Renewal
I loved the online format provided by BBS, which provided great interaction with the other students and professors. If I had to choose, I would say I enjoyed the mission courses the most because, as a missionary, I found them to be the most helpful to my immediate ministry!
As I learned something, I was able to immediately apply it to the work I was doing! It was a great experience for me to be able to use the knowledge I was gaining through the master’s program and turn around and use it right away.
What really was the biggest blessing and help to me was my connection with the professors, especially Dr. Ken Davis. He helped me above and beyond the courses I was taking providing insight, expertise and loads of resources that helped shape my ministry.
Jonathan Dingeldine, Master of Divinity
My favorite class was my very first class at the seminary: an exposition of Daniel and Revelation. BBS has long been known for its strong defense of Dispensational Premillennialism. This class served as an excellent foundation for me to connect the biblical dots when it comes to eschatology.
It is one thing to learn doctrine and theology, it is another to actually put into practice the work of the ministry. BBS is one of few seminaries that enact an internship at a local church in order to complete the Master of Divinity program. I am very grateful for this requirement. An internship that was comprised of over 1,900 hours was absolutely critical in helping me to grow in confidence when it comes to the actual work of the ministry.
Many feel as though preparation for ministry primarily applies to one’s preparation for the congregation that God would call one to shepherd. My time at BBS indeed prepared me for just that. However, I would also say that the most important ministry preparation stems from our ability to grow as leaders within our own homes. Paul speaks of the qualification of the elder to manage his own household well (1 Tim. 3:4). The most impactful experience for me during my training at BBS was that of my own personal growth as a follower of Christ, a husband and a father. I believe wholeheartedly that this invaluable sanctifying experience will serve in helping me in being the example to the flock that God has called me to be (1 Pet. 5:2-3).
Emily Freeland – Master of Arts: New Testament Studies
One of my favorite classes over the past two years has been Dr. Pyne’s Theology and Practice of Worship. Worship is the work of the Church, and in our worship, we acknowledge that God is both exalted over all and near to each one of us. Worship practices are often controversial, but this course helped me to understand the influence of history and tradition on our expressions of worship, consider my own preconceptions about worship, and develop a clear philosophy of worship to help guide future ministry. Most importantly, this course provided many opportunities to contemplate the glory of the God that we worship.
When I began taking online courses through BBS, I was in the process of transitioning into cross-cultural ministry in Chile. Over the past two years, God has slowly been changing my plans, and my return to the mission field has been delayed for several reasons. Even though I am no longer as certain what my future ministry will look like, I know that my degree has better prepared me to serve with excellence wherever I am called, whether here in Canada or abroad. I have not only been given a foundation in theology, hermeneutics, church history, biblical languages and contemporary Christian issues, but I have also been given the resources to continue learning and growing in faith and in ministry beyond graduation.
Over the past two years, I have appreciated the opportunity to study God’s Word at a deeper level, read good books and interact with other students serving in ministry around the world. I was always thankful for the interaction of the professors in course discussions, their thoughtful feedback on written assignments, and their gracious accommodation when I needed a deadline extended. Taking seminary courses while also balancing a job in the healthcare sector was sometimes a challenge, but it taught me how to incorporate theological study into everyday life and gave me many opportunities to apply what I was learning in a practical way to my own ministry. Completing my Master of Arts in New Testament Studies challenged me in ways that I never could have expected, and I have been so thankful for all that God has taught me in the process!
Terry Perrine – Master of Divinity
My favorite class was Theology and Practice of Marriage and Family with Dr. McGinniss. I enjoyed it not only because it was immensely practical for my ministry, but also for my personal life. We were encouraged to work on projects with our spouse, and the best part was that our spouses were able to attend the class with us. My marriage and my counseling ministry are both stronger for having taken this course.
I am much more prepared than before and feel confident now that even if I don’t know the answer to something that presents itself in my ministry, I know how to find it. I have been taught about the sufficiency of Scripture and how to use it to guide everyday decisions. Further, I’ve been taught how to better communicate the message of Scripture to those I do ministry with and minister to. I’m thankful for how much more prepared I feel for ministry, having achieved my M.Div.
The most impactful aspect of my education was the availability of and care from my professors. I always felt comfortable reaching out for extra help and always knew that my professors wanted me to succeed. Even more so, I was overwhelmed by the care and concern that my professors had for both my ministry and my personal growth. Their investment in their students is evident from the beginning of the program and never waivers throughout. My professors went above and beyond to ensure my success in education and ministry while helping me balance work, life, family and spiritual growth in a healthy way. I could never say “thank you” enough for how much they have positively impacted my life.
Frank Bertossi – Master of Divinity
I love languages, so studying the original language of the New Testament was a tremendous blessing.
I feel that the training I received at Baptist Bible Seminary was well-rounded and prepared me adequately for ministry. I know that ministry, like all other things, will be a lifelong learning process, but the school provided a solid foundation which I can now build upon.
The close friendships I developed with a few of the men in my class was most impactful. These men were a source of tremendous encouragement as we went through seminary together each year and they will continue to be so for years to come.