Preparing Students to Engage


Over the last two months, I’ve been at several events promoting Bethlehem College & Seminary. I’ve met dozens of parents. Many of them have inquired about our undergraduate programs because they see great value in a God-centered, church-based, and Bible-saturated education for their kid.

However, there’s another segment of parents that seem to be inquiring about our school for a different reason. These parents seem to be influenced by fear more than anything else. They don’t necessarily see value in sending their kid to a school like ours, but they’re desperately afraid of what might happen if they send their kid to a state school. Contemporary debates around abortion, sexuality, transgenderism, and critical race theory, combined with the reputation many colleges have for indoctrination, have caused these parents to be fearful.

I discovered that many parents are frightened by some of the recent events in our nation, and they feel ill-equipped to train their kids to navigate the murky waters of modern American ethics.

As a parent, I can sympathize. I’ve often wondered, “What type of culture will my daughter grow up in?” However, as followers of Christ, we ought not be governed by fear!

Multiple times over the last two months, I gently reminded parents that nearly 400 times in the Scriptures we are commanded, “Do not fear!” I’ve found myself often quoting the Apostle John, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 Jn. 4:4); and these words from the Apostle Paul, “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good.” (Rom. 8:28); and these words from Jesus, “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail” (Mt. 16:18).

We do not know precisely how the next chapter of our society will unfold, but we do know the ending of the final chapter of human history. When the final chapter of this age is revealed, King Jesus will be victorious! This should inform how we make decisions every day, far more than any fear we might have related to the moral decay of our nation.

I certainly do not mean to minimize the decadence we observe, neither am I naïve to the tremendous detriment to our nation that will be caused, in the years to come, because of the popularity of certain secular progressive ideologies. I’m certainly concerned that our society, day-by-day, is increasingly departing from the foundations that made Western Civilization great. However, no matter what I observe, I have resolved that fear will not be my governor, and I’ve challenged parents to do the same.

I encourage parents to resist the urge to merely shelter their teenagers. Instead, I encourage parents to intentionally expose their kids to the world’s contemporary ideas, and that they do so by comparing those ideas with Scripture, helping their teens to see that God’s wisdom is always better than the world’s ideas. I’ve also challenged parents to avoid the temptation to constantly rail against the ills of modern culture, but instead seek to model a nuanced and irenic approach to the modern debates.

Most importantly, I’ve encouraged parents that it is indeed possible to equip their kids to treasure Christ above all things, no matter what our world looks like.

At Bethlehem College & Seminary, we are not teaching young adults to run for the hills when the culture seems like a lost cause. Instead, we seek to prepare young adults to engage with the culture, prophetically whenever necessary, and to bring redemption and transformation wherever possible. We aim to graduate mature men and women who will proclaim the excellencies of Christ in every genre of society, no matter what cultural pressures they might face—mature men and women who are ready to witness for Christ in our world, with wisdom and wonder, for the rest of their lives. And I boldly tell parents we have the audacity to believe that, with God’s help, we can achieve that aim.

Kenny Ortiz, M.Div.
Associate Director of College Recruiting &
Assistant Professor of History and Theology

Prayer Requests:

  1. Pray that our students would grow into mature adults who are willing and able to witness for Christ with wisdom and wonder, no matter what cultural pressures they might face.
  2. Pray for the parents of the students inquiring about our school, that they would trust in God’s sovereignty and goodness.
  3. Pray for the potential students and applicants that are still considering a last-minute decision to come to Bethlehem this fall.
  4. Pray that the Lord would help our staff and faculty to effectively onboard our new incoming students this fall.
  5. Pray for the admissions team as they begin the next recruiting cycle (2022–2023).
  6. Pray that the staff and faculty of Bethlehem College & Seminary would model kindness and faithfulness to our students this school year.