Our Intentionally Small School


My first day at Seminary was not what I expected. There I was, sitting in a small circle with 17 other men and the seminary professors. To my surprise, there was no lecture about Theology, Greek, or Hermeneutics; it was about listening to God’s story in the lives of each of these men with whom I will spend the next four years in Seminary. Then after each of us shared, we all gathered and prayed for each other; we did this for two full days. It was powerful!

Bethlehem College & Seminary is unique in many ways. One of these is its commitment to be an intentionally small school. They achieve this by making each graduating class a cohort of 15-18 men, who share all four years of academic, church, vocational, and family life together.

This unique interaction becomes a God given opportunity to experience close and deliberate relationships that help students grow in areas that are critical to their preparation as future church elders and pastors. Let me share some examples:

We have the opportunity to:

  • Rejoice with those who rejoice and suffer with those who suffer. During the first three months of our semester some brothers in my cohort experienced the great joy of the birth of a new baby, while others had to go through the sorrowful trial of miscarriage. Rejoicing and caring for each other through these situations helps us to be less self-centered and grow in our love and care for others.
  • Respectfully disagree with others over theological differences. As we interact in class, there are different perspectives and opinions over theology or ministry. This is a great opportunity to learn more about humility and respect as we do our best to understand our brother’s argument and express our disagreement.
  • Encourage one another to love Christ and fight sin. God designed the Christian life to be a community project. Isolation is fertile ground for secret sin and a life of appearances. The small class setting promotes accountability and encouragement among brothers as we point each other to Christ and the Gospel.
  • Care for others spiritually. As we pray, read Scripture, sing, and serve together, we develop a deep sense of caring for each other’s spiritual life. Calls, home visits, text messages, and conversations become ways in which we can help each other treasure and enjoy God more and more.

I thank God for Bethlehem College & Seminary and for the opportunity to grow together with other men that fear and live Christ.

René Gonzalez

First-Year Seminarian


Prayer Requests:

  1. Pray for grace and wisdom as the college and seminary students and faculty approach finals.
  2. Pray for grace and wisdom to lead and serve our wives and children well.
  3. Pray that God will continue to develop a passion for His glory in all nations.
  4. Pray for those among us who are suffering.
  5. Pray that God would fill the Serious Joy Scholarship that each student receives.