In early 2010 the mission and assets of the MB Biblical Seminary in Fresno were transferred to Fresno Pacific University. What is commonly called “the merger” was legally and functionally complete by that summer, and the seminary faculty and staff started the 2010 academic year as employees of the university. It was a time of hopeful necessity and stepping forward by faith in God’s call and God’s provision.
Five years later Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary is prospering in the pursuit of its mission to advance God’s kingdom by training men and women for transformational ministry in church and society worldwide. God is doing a new work in and through the seminary with unprecedented growth, creative programming and a new model of organizational leadership and administration. We want you to be well informed about the continuing efforts to ensure that FPBS is highly effective in achieving its purposes. Here is a brief overview of the seminary’s current leadership arrangement and planning:
- Terry Brensinger, Ph.D., now has the title of seminary president, and continues to serve as university vice president. He reports directly to the president of the university and sits on both the FPU Executive Cabinet and Leadership and Planning Committee.
- Valerie Rempel, Ph.D., is the seminary dean and also the J.B. Toews Chair of History and Theology. She reports to the seminary president and is a member of the university Academic Cabinet.
Both these changes of title more accurately reflect Terry’s and Valerie’s actual roles and responsibilities in an appropriately autonomous seminary that is well-integrated with Fresno Pacific University. The seminary president provides leadership in strategic planning and in raising the resources needed to advance the seminary’s evangelical Anabaptist vision. The seminary dean oversees much of the day-to-day operations, particularly the academic program.
- The Center for Community Transformation is a partner organization headed by Randy White, D.Min., that is closely integrated with the newly proposed M.A. in community leadership and transformation program. The CCT also helps churches and other Christ-centered organizations directly improve their communities through activities including developing successful social enterprises and training bi-vocational Latino pastors.
- The On-Site Counseling Center is directed by Mary Shamshoian, LMFT, and is associated with the seminary’s M.A. in marriage and family therapy program. In addition to serving the university itself, the center coordinates counseling services for many of the school districts in Fresno and the wider Valley.
- The Center for Anabaptist Studies, directed by Lynn Jost, Ph.D., provides local congregations and organizations up-to-date and innovative resources related to Anabaptist thought and practice.
- While many seminaries are experiencing declines, seminary admissions director Jeff Zimmerman and the FPU marketing team are leading a bold and effective effort that has produced five years of growth in admissions and a student body of 161 in graduate-level programs.
- Chuck Buller is the director of seminary advancement, focused on raising the financial resources and dedicated prayer support that are required to achieve the faith-stretching vision of the seminary’s new strategic plan. Chuck brings strong pastoral, leadership and fund-development experience to his assignment. He is the member of the university Advancement Office who is assigned full-time to the seminary, raising current donations and long-term planned gifts and endowments.
- James Bergen, pastor of North Fresno MB Church, chairs the 20-member Seminary Committee that serves many of the key roles of a governing board. This standing committee of the FPU Board of Trustees guides and supports the seminary, making recommendations regarding policies, plans, programs, facilities and leadership.
- Included in the recently completed seminary strategic plan is a new blended online program in church leadership that allows kingdom-minded church leaders to complete their seminary degree while serving full-time in a local congregation. The first student cohorts are expected to begin studying together in the fall of 2016. The initial locations will be in North America, but the ultimate vision is new leadership for the global church.
By God’s grace and much faithful generosity and hard work, the doubts and uncertainties of early 2010 have transformed Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary into a dynamic life-changing force in churches and communities for the kingdom of Jesus Christ. How beautifully different things look five years later!