I had no idea when I began my studies at Bethlehem College & Seminary, how my life would be affected by the cohort model. These are more than just the men I took classes with. They are families that held each other up in prayer, and gave practical care for one another on a regular basis. We’ve cried together, on multiple occasions, from pain, loss, sadness, joy, and laughter. These men are my brothers, their families are my family, and I love them more than I ever imagined I could. Growing up with two younger sisters, I never really knew what having a brother would be like, but now I have 16 of the best brothers I could have ever imagined.
I graduate next week, which is a bit of change of plans. I’m finishing earlier than originally intended, so rather than a full M.Div, I will be graduating with a Master of Arts in Biblical and Pastoral Studies. The hardest part of making that decision back in January, is the same difficulty I am facing today: I’m going to miss out on two more precious years of growing side by side with these brothers.
In the heart-felt and deep times of study in God’s word, we have learned so much about one another. Our strengths and weaknesses. We know who to ask which question because we can see the amazing gifts that God has blessed each other with. We have learned about each others blind spots and have learned how to gently help one another along through trials, hardships, to say nothing of the rigorous classes we have taken together.
Bethlehem College & Seminary intentionally places a limited number of students into cohorts each year that last throughout our time in seminary. The plan all along is for us to grow together in our interactions and relationships. A couple of the men in my cohort are old enough to be my father, others are closer in age to my children than they are to me. Despite the age differences, I would be thrilled to be entering into ministry arm in arm with any one of them. As it is, they will be continuing on in their studies, as I embark on a search for where God would have me serve as an Associate Pastor.
I readily admit that I am jealous of the continuing education that they will be enjoying together for the next two years without me. But I know that these relationships that have been developed here at Bethlehem College & Seminary will continue on, rich and deep, for the rest of my life.
I have to say a massive word of thanks for them to God, the financial and prayer supporters of Bethlehem College & Seminary, as well as these men whom I have grown to love so deeply.
Please continue to pray for and support Bethlehem College & Seminary. Pray for the cohort that is coming in next fall, that God would bind their hearts to Him and to each other, that they too will grow in faith and passion for God’s glory during their time together in Seminary.