Praise God, the current senior class in the college’s cross-cultural ministry concentration (BATS-CCM) is the largest one we’ve had yet! Joining them are new juniors in the concentration, so that there are now more BATS-CCM students total than at any time before in the brief history of the program. We have 4 women and 9 men from a total of 12 states. They, of course, embody a variety of family and church backgrounds, talents, and interests.
One of the advantages of being a school connected to a large missionary sending church is that many of Bethlehem’s roughly one hundred global partner families around the world are able to host one or two of our students for a brief time and supervise their required cross-cultural ministry internship. Two of our BATS-CCM senior students fulfilled their internship requirement that way during this past summer break. Henrik visited global partners in Thailand to test the waters of teaching English as a foreign language. He got to be part of the first corporate worship gathering in a northern province of the country where there are only two known Thai believers. Greg explored “business as missions” by working with global partners who own an ice cream and coffee shop in another Asian country. He also got to live and work with Buddhist auto mechanics for a few days. He hopes to one day begin a trade school in a “least reached” part of the world. I am currently cultivating potential internship opportunities with several other Bethlehem Baptist Church global partners for the sake of mutually benefitting both them and our students.
In addition to those students who served – and were served by – Bethlehem global partners this summer, other seniors interned at either a parachurch organization or their home church. Nick worked for a major Christian publishing house in the department that develops material for African-American believers. They’ve offered him a job after graduation (!), and he continues to work for them part-time this school year. Josh, who wants to be a writer (among many other things!), served as a researcher, staff writer, and editor for The Gospel Coalition’s International Outreach department. His understanding of the global church’s strengths and challenges grew exponentially. Tyler, who may pursue a graduate degree in missiology, served his home church in Connecticut by helping their missions committee “reimagine and strategize” and had an opportunity to preach one Sunday. Likewise, Christian, who plans to one day help provide theological training for church leaders in under-resourced parts of the world, interned at his home church in Fresno, California. He taught theology of missions, while also assisting their ministries in a Hispanic neighborhood and to Christian inmates at a local penitentiary.
Finally, Bennett ventured out and took advantage of a 5-week-long program with a major sending organization (SIM) that exposes participants to hard-to-reach nomad communities in Central Asia. He trekked and travelled by truck (and ferry and horse) over 3,000 miles through 4 “-stan” countries, experiencing the hospitality of fellow human beings who live a two day’s journey from medical care or any Christian witness.
These summer trips abroad cost money, of course. Our students raise financial support for these and sometimes pay out of pocket for at least a portion. The Serious Joy scholarship they each enjoy, because of donors like you, helps them afford these international internships.
My next letter will introduce readers to how a few of our BATS-CCM alumni are currently utilizing their education in serious joy for ministry endeavors, including the blessing of the unreached nations through Christ.
For God’s global glory in Christ, his church, and the joy of his Spirit-dwelt, omni-ethnic people,
Travis L. Myers, PhD
Assistant Professor of Church History and Mission Studies
- Pray that the Lord continues to bless the BATS-CCM program’s connections with Bethlehem global partners for the advancement of his kingdom.
- Pray that the global partners who visit our classes and share about their lives and ministries will be blessed by their interactions with us.
- Pray for the post-graduation vocational placement of our seniors, many in Bethlehem’s Nurture Program for missionary candidates who may be staying in Minneapolis for another year or two in order to continue maturing and preparing for ministry.
- Pray for our juniors to get their legs under them as they move up from our integrated Associate of Arts program or transfer in from another college.
- Pray that the word gets out about our excellent program, so that we can equip more and more young people this way for wise and faithful discipleship among the nations.