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From the President

August 8, 2023 | Dr. Jay T. Smith

New Building, New Curriculum, New Era!

As the summer moves into its last month and the temperatures continue to rise, work on “The Barn” at the new Yellowstone Center is reaching a crescendo. Sheet rock, glass walls, floor tiles, mosaics, carpet, cabinets, and a thousand other items are being installed as you read these lines. It has been quite the summer. The faculty and staff have been working hard to prepare our curriculum for the new academic year and to prepare the new facility for move-in. The staff, with help from faculty and spouses, have packed the over 950 boxes of books in our library. Our faculty members have been working on their research projects, and we have been interviewing candidates for our open positions. As Dr. Schendel will share, our updated curriculum is looking good. This is important as we prepare to apply for membership in the Association of Theological Schools this year.

This fall, YTI begins classes with a revamped curriculum, a new building, and several new part-time instructors: Rev. Vern Streeter, Rev. Mike Gammill, and Dr. Nikki Jordan. These new faculty will work in the areas of adventure, leadership, and worship studies. YTI continues to add new EQUIP cohorts, and is starting a revolutionary internship/diploma program in partnership with Hillcrest Church in Bellingham, Wash.

Under Vern Streeter, our adventure program is growing quickly. Vern’s passion for evangelism, his communication skills, and his understanding of the human need for adventure make him an ideal teacher, mentor, and leader. Mike Gammill is bringing a new dimension to our leadership studies program. His many years of work as a minister and leadership consultant have changed the lives of Christian and non-Christian alike. Nikki Jordan, a wife, a mom to three children, and a worship scholar with a doctorate in worship studies from the Robert Webber Institute is becoming an important part of our arts and theology program.

An added joy in this issue is an interview with our newest Yellowstone Fellow: Miss Norah Hager. Norah is an 18–year–old freshman at the University of Tulsa. She is a virtuoso trombone player, a national merit scholar, and—most importantly—a passionate follower of Jesus. She is a pre-med major at TU and is exploring her call from God for future ministry. We are proud to welcome her to the YTI family.

Our Master of Arts student population is growing, and we have partnered with a new marketing agency, IDD Agency, to even more effectively connect prospective students with YTI. IDD Agency has sharpened our image and focused our messaging with a fresh description: “Insight. Discovery. Adventure.” Several articles in this newsletter will highlight how this is an apt statement of YTI’s mission. To that end, we have added a new scriptural foundation, Philippians 1:9-11 (NASB95).

It’s a new era for theological education. Your participation with us in this ministry is paramount. Our development director will be updating all of our databases and increasing our communication with all of you. As a non-profit, YTI needs your prayerful, financial support. We are committed to keeping tuition low for our students, but we need you to help us with that task. Now more than ever, the Rocky Mountain and Pacific Northwest need what we have to offer. Keep us in your prayers!

Many blessings!

Dr. Jay T. Smith

President and Bridger Professor of Theology & Ethics

Dr. Jay Smith leads the Yellowstone Theological Institute as its president. Dr. Smith has served as minister of youth, music and as senior […]

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