HISTORY OF SST
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.