Spreading a passion. It’s an important phrase at Bethlehem College & Seminary and at Bethlehem Baptist Church. Just ask the east wall of the sanctuary in the downtown church campus where you will see our mission statement emblazoned in can’t-miss red letters: “Spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.” We exist to spread a passion—to take everything we learn in all our classes and communicate it in a way that connects with a four-year-old son, an immigrant mother next door, a new coworker, and all the rest who fit into that broad and beautiful category of “neighbor.”
Summer provides a unique opportunity for spreading a passion. It’s not that the school year isn’t; it is, but extra time, fewer syllabi, and chances for travel all combine to make summer an invaluable three months for spreading the gospel we’ve studied and treasured during the school year.
Many students are finding summer work to save up for the semester’s needs. There—in those banks and bakeries and bookstores—they’ll have the chance to display Paul’s command to the Colossians: “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (3:17). May God give them grace to bring the robust Christian doctrine of vocation to bear in their workplaces, and may their coworkers see the Jesus they serve and be satisfied.
Other students are pursuing ministry positions throughout the city or back in their hometowns. They’re providing practical assistance for Minneapolis’ Somali refugees. They’re working in inner-city food banks that provide both resources and the gospel. They’re taking internships in churches where they preach, pray, and observe what day-in, day-out ministry looks like. May God empower them to serve “by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 4:11).
Still other students are packing up and flying off to far-off nations on strategic short-term ministry trips. My roommate and I just returned from Ethiopia where we joined a team to teach the book of Genesis to a group of local pastors. Other summer destinations for our students include Japan, Indonesia, and Bangladesh. They’ll serve Bethlehem’s global partners, consider long-term ministry opportunities, and share the gospel with locals they meet. May God use them to “bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations” (Rom 1:5).
Of course, spreading a passion for Christ doesn’t happen by default. The pull of our flesh, the world, and the devil will turn a summer made for spreading the gospel into something else entirely: a summer for settling. Left to ourselves, we’ll settle into comfortable rhythms of leisure and laziness, neglecting our spiritual disciplines and turning inward to the prison of self. Would you pray with us that this summer would be a summer for spreading a passion for Christ and not for settling?
This is the reason we exist. May Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians be true for all our students and supporters this summer: “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess 1:11–12).
Scott Hubbard Third-year seminary student
Spring 2016 Issue of Serious Joy now available online
1. Please pray that we would use this summer to spread the name of Jesus rather than settle into laziness.
2. Please pray that God would make us servants in our workplaces, ministries, and mission fields.
3. Please pray that we would apply what we have learned during the semester to our lives in the summer.