The Utah School of Theology

For the last two years I have been teaching, in addition to my responsibilities at RisenLife Church, at the Utah School of Theology.  The Utah School of Theology is hosted by the Salt Lake Baptist Association in partnership with Golden Gate Baptist TheologicalSeminary.  The mission of the UtahSchool of Theology is as follows:

Our mission is to provide theological classes at a post-high school level in order to train effective Christian leaders for the churches of many people groups.  For those with or without a high school or college diploma, or those for whom English is a second language, Contextualized Leadership Development (CLD) centers provide an opportunity to be equipped and trained for effective Christian service.

When a student enrolls in the Utah School of Theology, they are actually enrolling in Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (GGBTS).  GGBTS is providing an extension certificate program through the Utah School of Theology.  GGBTS qualifies professors, approves syllabi, and manages accreditation.  When a student graduates from the UtahSchool of Theology they have the option of going to San Francisco to walk in the same graduation as that of new seminary grads from GGBTS.  The really great thing about the CLD program is that it is for anybody.  While the School is hosted by the Salt Lake Baptist Association, we have students from many different denominations that just want solid theological training.  The school’s goal is really to help educate lay pastors and teachers that are already serving in the church, in the mission field of Utah, yet for whatever reason never have had any access to theological training.

There are two diploma tracks at the Utah School of the Theology.  The first is a Diploma in ChristianMinistry, which has a total of 24 hours of training or eight different classes.  Upon completion of this program students are eligible to take a second higher-level diploma track for the Diploma in Theology.  Both tracks focus on classes in the Bible, doing surveys of the Old and New Testaments, but also provide classes in church history, theology, leadership, and varied electives for the student’s particular interest.  I have had the privilege of teaching an elective class on the book of John as well as an Introduction to Theology class.  It has been so fun to see students make new connections in God’s Word, learn more about their own beliefs, strengthen their leadership abilities, and glory in our God together.

In a day when the importance and influence of church associations is waning, this program is a real bright spot and I think it is because it gets back to the heart of why Baptist associations were started in the first place.  Baptist associations were started with the heart of cooperation.  The idea was that several churches working together could serve better together and strengthen one another.  Associations could more easily partner together to do missions, teach theology, qualify pastors, share resources, and many other things.  The Utah School of Theology is a ministry that gets back to the heart of cooperation among churches.

The professors at the Utah School of Theology must hold a M.Div. or higher from an accredited Seminary and be approved by GGBTS.  The cool part of the Utah School of Theology is that all its professor come from the Salt Lake City area.  There are eight pastors that all take of there time to participate in this cooperative theological teaching.  These pastors provide a rich diversity of teaching from the pastors of Southern Baptist Churches in the Salt Lake City area.

As I have taught several classes at the Utah School of Theology over the last two years, my students have included: church planters, bi-vocational pastors, Sunday school teachers, and lay church members who just want to learn more.  It has provided a great way for the students to access seminary-like training right where they live in the heart of one of the largest mission fields in North America.  It has also provided an avenue for me to continue to steward the gift of my seminary education from the, SouthernBaptist Theological Seminary, for which I am thankful.


If you live in the Wasatch Front and desire more theological education, I highly encourage you to come join us at the Utah School of Theology.  If you have further questions, please feel free to contact me.  Bryan Catherman of SaltyBeliever.com is also a new professor at the Utah School of Theology and has written a little bit on the school here.  If you think this CLD program sounds cool and would like to get one started in your region, contact Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and they can get you started.  The next semester will be coming soon; I hope I can have you in my next class!

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