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A Note from the Cohort Host

A Note from the Cohort Host

Hello! My name is Dan Kimball, and I am a fellow pastor in the Bay Area. 

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I am so thrilled you are considering this Master of Arts degree in Ministry and Leadership. I am a fellow church leader, former youth ministry leader, former young adult leader and currently overseeing the mission and vision of the church we planted, Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz. In addition to my role in the local church, I am part of the team who designed this degree program and will be serving as the cohort curator and host.

If you asked me 10 to 20 years ago what would be the most impactful way to reach the Bay Area, I would have stressed the importance of using arts in worship, developing deeper community, crafting practical sermons and studying leadership principles. While I still agree that all these things are very important, there is a greater need that is exponentially more important than all of those.

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Church leaders today, more than ever, need to be theologically trained.

The need we face today is huge, and it calls for us to be theologically educated for more than just personal reasons or to have fun theological discussions with other staff members at church. The need for theological training is now absolutely critical for being on mission as we teach and have discussions with people in the Bay Area. We can be great communicators, great leaders, have skills to oversee and build volunteer teams, but without thinking theologically in today’s culture we are in a very vulnerable position.

People are asking difficult questions about contemporary issues that have never been asked before in our lifetime. We are seeing critics of Christianity pointing out difficult Scripture verses to discredit the Bible to younger generations. We read about authors and church leaders who have shifted away from seeing the Bible as fully inspired. Deconstructing faith is almost becoming a trend among many who have grown up in the church.

This is why we are starting this MA cohort in Ministry and Leadership. This degree will equip you to develop the skills of theological discernment as you lead and guide people in your local church or wherever God has placed you. We designed this program in cohort form so that you will stay together for all the learning experiences and graduate together. We will be getting to know each other deeply and sharing in ministry and life through community, which will enhance such transformation and enable you to support, and encourage each other.

We have some amazing professors who will be teaching the classes, such as Dr. Gerry Breshears and Dr. David Nystrom. We will have some in-class video guests such as Tim Mackie from the Bible Project, Dr. Scot McKnight and others. It is going to be a powerful time of learning and growing together.

We understand the difficulty of having the time and finances for seminary education, especially in the high cost of living Bay Area. We have creatively designed this program to lessen that burden and enable those who want to be trained to be able to do so more easily.

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Western Seminary is fully committed to supporting the local church and reaching the Bay Area, which is why we are doing this. In fact, as a precursor to this initiative, Western Seminary launched the ReGeneration Project a few years ago, which has seen several thousand younger people attend theology and Bible events. The words from the book of Judges 2:10, “Another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done,” is very much what we see today. But the good and encouraging news is seeing the interest there is from new generations, who are asking questions and even discussing theology. This is why we are passionate to prepare as many leaders as possible to introduce the true Jesus and true gospel to so many who have never heard it before.

I greatly look forward to being part of this cohort and please feel free to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.if you any questions. I am very optimistic about the future of theological training in the Bay Area!

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Dan Kimball, D.Min.
Pastor, Professor, Director of the ReGeneration Project, and Cohort host