Bivins: 10 years as Gateway Arizona Campus director

By Irene A. Harkleroad | May 29, 2024

Dallas Bivins recently completed 10 years as director of the Arizona Campus of Gateway Seminary.

“We have a great resource here at Gateway Seminary Arizona Campus to be able to train and raise up ministers, pastors, missionaries, chaplains … [and] to send them out to accomplish God’s kingdom work around the world,” said David Johnson, executive director of Arizona Mission Network of Southern Baptists. “We are so grateful that we’ve had Dr. Bivins leading our campus for these past 10 years.”

Bivins, who is also a professor of ministry leadership at Gateway, brought a vast and diverse resume when he came to Gateway. He holds two doctorate degrees (one from Gateway), and had years of teaching, ministry, management and administrative experience. He had served as an associational missionary in Tennessee and Alaska and coached high school and college football.

“When he came to Gateway, his background included a wide range of ministry leadership roles,” said Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway Seminary until May 13, when he became president of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention. “Those experiences have enabled him to connect with leaders — and future leaders — in a variety of ministry responsibilities.

“Dallas is passionate about coaching leaders,” Iorg continued. “His personal engagement with students goes the extra mile. Dallas also serves his community by coaching bowling at a local university.”

Bivins served as head bowling coach at Arizona Christian University for three years and now is assistant bowling coach at Arizona State University.

“Wherever he serves, he finds a way to represent Jesus and Gateway well,” Iorg said.

At Gateway, the focus is on equipping leaders for ministry leadership.

“As a denominational seminary, we are charged with preparing men and women for serving, not just theoretical kind of learning,” Bivins said. “We need to be extremely academic for a purpose, and that is to prepare the skills of the hands, the knowledge of the head, and the trust of the heart to do the work of ministry. That is a big challenge.”

It is much more than students simply earning degrees.

“Seminary is meant to be a tool that God uses to draw you closer to Him,” Bivins said. “This is not about just getting a piece of paper or landing a new job but drawing closer to the Lord. It’s a place to recognize God’s call on your life and to be prepared to lead.”

Bivins spends 15 to 18 hours a week coaching current and former students.

“We focus on teaching leadership and helping people figure out where God is leading them,” he said.

Most Gateway students are already in ministry.

“There are standards for measuring success,” Bivins said. “Are we presenting leaders who can affect change, transition and transformation in the lives of their congregation? Are they drawing closer to the Lord? Are they following through in their local church?”

Half of the Southern Baptist churches in Arizona have a Gateway Seminary graduate, a current student or a former student in their midst, many in leadership roles, Bivins noted.

More than 300 graduates from this campus have become effective, successful and relevant leaders in their neighborhood.

With their giving through the Cooperative Program, Arizona Mission Network churches help make Gateway affordable for students.

“The Cooperative Program helps pay professors, keep costs down, and allows us to give scholarships,” Bivins said.

In 2021 as COVID hit, Gateway offered online, real-time remote access, and face-to-face classes. At that time 75% to 80% of classes were offered by remote access. Currently, 70% to 75% of students attend in person.

Bivins credits Becca, his bride of 33 years, for their strong partnership. “She helps me with everything I do,” he said. “We are a great team.”

Irene A. Harkleroad, a freelance writer living in Carefree, is a member of Black Mountain Baptist Church, Cave Creek.

Share This Article:

Recent Articles:

Eight students graduate from Gateway Arizona

May 29, 2024

The class of 2024 at the Arizona Campus of Gateway Seminary graduated on May 11. Eight students graduated in the commencement ceremony at CityView Church in Phoenix. The ceremony was…

Mission:Dignity recipients in Arizona receive 13th checks thanks to AZMN

May 29, 2024

Mission:Dignity recipients in Arizona received an extra blessing to start the year thanks to the efforts of the Arizona Mission Network of Southern Baptists. For the second year in a…

A vital connection

May 23, 2024

From [Christ] the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building itself up in love by the proper working of…