Develop Leaders

Our Mission: We exist to develop leaders by training them to think biblically about themselves, others, and all of God’s creation within the context of local churches near major universities.

We bring the seminary to the university.


“If you’re on a college campus, you’re on the culture’s cutting edge. [The campus] is our best leadership development pipeline.

“By exposing people to the cutting edge of culture where they have to deal with the modern mindset, where they have to deal with non-Christians — that is the best way to develop pastors and lay leaders.”

Tim Keller / Read Full Article




Salt Network School of Theology (SST) is an equipping ministry of Cornerstone Church in Ames, Iowa. SST offers a Master's in Theological Studies in partnership with Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS) in Kansas City, MO. The program brings together practical ministry experience within a thriving church and the academic rigors of accredited theological training. Our passion is to strengthen and to multiply the church of God by cultivating wise and effective pastors and leaders.


At Salt Network School of Theology, we provide the opportunity to earn a Master’s in Theological Studies (MTS) in just two years. The 15 required courses are scheduled on a rotating basis to allow students to complete their degree in two years regardless of their entry point. All 15 courses are taught and facilitated by professors from Cornerstone Church, and the online courses include optional in-person sessions in order to preserve the classroom dynamic.

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Here are the courses for which we are currently accepting enrollment.
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Dates: January 6 – April 30

Registration Deadline: December 19

In this course, students will develop an understanding of the biblical, theological, and practical foundations for the local church’s involvement in global missions. Students will encounter reading from leading authors, meet with cohorts, write reflections and a project paper, and gather for an intensive Seminar with all of the students participating in the course (February 24-26).

New testament survey i & ii

Dates: January 6 – April 30

Registration Deadline: December 19

In these two 8-week courses, students will work through each page of the New Testament. Through biblical and textbook readings, writing, and discussion, students will be able to give a general overview of the background, formation, preservation and inspiration of the New Testament along with developing an understanding of the purpose and contents of each book.



In 2009, Cornerstone was a growing church that was focused on the next-generation and beginning to develop a vision for church planting. As leaders were being raised within the Salt Company (Cornerstone’s college ministry), the leadership of Cornerstone began to dream of ways to incorporate accredited theological training into the context of local church ministry. This would enable Cornerstone to provide biblical and theological training for emerging pastors and leaders without having to leave their local ministry behind to go to seminary. 

It was out of this vision that the Cornerstone School of Theology was born. Jeff Dodge partnered with a team at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to begin offering the foundations of a Master’s of Theological Studies (MTS) on site in Ames. The program was launched with eight students who ultimately graduated in 2012. Since then, more than 50 other students have graduated with their MBTS degree through CST.

Concurrent to the development of the Cornerstone-MBTS partnership, there was also a movement within Cornerstone to begin planting multigenerational churches in university centers across the Midwest. This movement, called the “Salt Network”, has only increased the urgency to raise up trained church leaders, and we saw many of our graduates stepping into staff and eldership positions in Network churches. Network churches, in turn, began to send their own leaders through the CST program to engage in theological training, and - by 2018 - the number of CST students outside of Cornerstone (mostly from the Network) eclipsed the number of Cornerstone students. With this momentum, and the vision to continue supporting students as the Network expands, the decision was made to re-name the program the Salt Network School of Theology in January 2019. Currently, there are over 70 students in the midst of earning their degree at SST, and miraculously, the SST team has not perished from all of the grading.


MBTS Graduates

More than 60 students have earned their Master's degrees through SST.



Churches Represented

SST students from many churches participate in courses together



YEars to completion

Students can complete the program in 2-4 years, even while working full-time.




Dr. Jeff Dodge

Jeff attended the University of Northern Iowa where he came to faith in Christ. He received a B.S. from Faith Baptist Bible College (Ankeny, IA), an M.Div. from The Master's Seminary (Sun Valley, CA), and a DMin and a PhD in Systematic Theology from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Kansas City, MO). Jeff has a passion for training next-generation leaders for ministry in the local church.


dr. Matthew lapine

Matt hails from northern Minnesota before drifting to Iowa where he met his wife. He has a wide range of interests including theology, literature, philosophy, and psychology. He has a BA and an MDiv from Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary (Ankeny, IA), an STM from Dallas Theological Seminary (Dallas, TX), and a PhD from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL) under Kevin Vanhoozer. Matt is passionate about practicing theology within the context of the local church. 

Dr. Shane kelley

Shane is a graduate of Iowa State University and earned a Master’s degree in Theological Studies from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Bethel University. Shane has managed the details for the Midwestern extension campus in Ames, IA since 2012 – designing courses, assisting professors, and helping students enroll and succeed in the SST program.