We are writing to let you know that, while we concluded the 2018 calendar year having received, by the grace of God, the greatest outpouring of generous giving in our history, we remained slightly more than $500,000 short of fully funding Serious Joy Scholarships for the students presently enrolled in this academic year. We are neither anxious nor alarmed. We are trusting God to supply our needs. But as Paul wrote to the saints in Corinth, “We want you to know…” 2 Corinthians 8:1a
I recently had the privilege of teaching a class of our undergraduates on the subject of “Common Sense and the Invisible Hand: The Scottish Enlightenment.” As part of my preparation, I attended a lecture the previous week by Professor James McGlothlin of our faculty on the philosophical skepticism of David Hume. What struck me most about being in both class sessions was what a phenomenal group of twenty-somethings we have here. I don’t believe I have ever been in a setting in which young people this age were so capable of engaging the complex issues of 17th and 18th century philosophy, and to do it so obviously whilst standing on the authority of the Word of God. Dr. McGlothlin joked, “They are second-year students. They weren’t so capable when they first got here.” He doesn’t boast of his own work, but that of Christ’s work in the lives of these students.
The miracle that is Bethlehem College & Seminary continues to blossom. Pulpits are being filled, ministries staffed, nations reached, workplaces influenced, and academic exploration of the Word of God perpetuated in the glorious intersection of your generosity and the work of these students and their teachers. In that you have been such a generous partners, I want to share with you a quick report that I made to our Board of Trustees. I do so that you might have even greater confidence in the way that this higher education “start-up” is coming of age, by God’s grace establishing a financial foundation for ministry for as long as he may will.
- 28% of contributors to Bethlehem College & Seminary in 2018 were first-time, new-name partners in the ministry.
- More than half of all contributions flow from partners who live outside the state of Minnesota.
- The number of contributors supporting full $10,000 scholarships annually has increased 55% in the last three years.
- 88% of our gifts are received in small dollar amounts.
If you missed it when we featured the piece in an earlier edition of Serious Joy Weekly, I commend your attention, again, to “Broad Minds and Big Hearts: A Case for Christian Liberal Arts Education” by Professor Joe Rigney. We are in the midst of a required periodic program review of Omnia, the two-year program that all new undergraduates enter when they first enroll. It is characterized as “an accredited undergraduate core curriculum designed for 18 students and delivered in the Reformed and Classical academic traditions.” While many voices are currently speaking into this review, Joe’s article helps clarify part of what we are trying to do in reclaiming the study of Humanities for Christ. If you’re moved, as I was, please use this online student referral tool, in the event that you know a prospective student who may want to enroll, yet this year, next year, or in the coming years.
We write to you so often of the fruit being born from our seminary, and that fruit is abundant. Praise God! This time, I want you to know that God is doing amazing things in our undergraduate program that are every bit as worthy of your patronage and philanthropy. It’s my perception that we are producing adults sooner than other institutions of higher education; men and women, yet in their twenties, who leave here ready and able to undertake the responsibilities of vocation, family, church membership, and citizenship. With God’s help we are doing this equipping in the classroom, cohorts, and amidst the life of a local church.
We are also completing this work of accelerating adulthood by eliminating the ball and chain of student loan debt that limits agility, extends dependency, obstructs basic life passages, and most of all constrains gospel ambition. In this respect you, dear contributors, are essential members of our delivery team—just like the faculty members, pastors, and staff members that pour into the lives of these students.
We are grateful to God for you. Would you please, as our 2018-19 academic year comes to an end, pray whether you might be called to make an additional gift to Bethlehem College & Seminary, so that The Serious Joy Scholarships for our current-year students may be fully-funded before commencement.
His servant and yours,
Vice President of Advancement &
Distinguished Lecturer of Commerce and Vocation
- Pray for the filling of the final Serious Joy Scholarships for current students before commencement.
- Pray for our students and faculty as they head into the final stretch toward graduation.
- Pray for the prospective students that will be attending our Spring Preview Day that they would be encouraged and gain clarity of the Lord’s will for them.