“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
This verse came to my mind as I was reflecting on our recent board meeting. God’s work and grace upon Bethlehem College and Seminary is abundant, and God’s promises to provide for and protect us in this season offer wonderful assurance in the face of the challenges before us.
We want our light to shine before others ‘in the same way’—meaning that as a light is put on a stand and gives light to all in the house, we are to provide illumination to others, such that they may see our good works and give glory to our Father who is in heaven. Our good works are to point to our Father. We want the good works of Bethlehem College and Seminary to point to our Father who is in heaven.
With this verse as a backdrop, I am amazed and thankful to our Father for these things that were discussed at the recent board meeting:
- The governance of the school was updated and amended to reflect that the school is now overseen by The North Church and Bethlehem Baptist Church. This included updating articles, bylaws, and our declaration of association. In conjunction with the motion to approve The North Church as a member of the association, appropriate legal documents were filed with the State of Minnesota reflecting our new governance structure. Accordingly, both Steven Lee (The North Church, lead pastor) and Kenny Stokes (Bethlehem Baptist Church, lead pastor) are now ex-officio members of the Board of Trustees.
- The Best Christian Workplace Institute survey results of staff and faculty were shared. The overall scores improved meaningfully relative to previous years, and comparisons were also favorable against other Bible colleges.
- Fundraising for Bethlehem continues to be well ahead of a year ago, and Bethlehem recently announced a matching gift campaign for $500,000.
- The annual financial audit was completed and came back with clean results.
And then there are those discussions that reflect our utter dependence on God for all things:
- Recruiting – How many students might be new to Bethlehem next year? What is compelling about Bethlehem? How well-known are we for the college program (Great Books in Light of the Greatest Book for the sake of the Great Commission)? Are there significant obstacles to our appeal—is the location of the main campus near downtown Minneapolis one? We have a burden for the city and want to meet the needs of our students.
- Engagement – how does Bethlehem shine a light before others, so that others may see the good works and give glory to the Father who is in heaven? How do we steward the gifts that God has bestowed on Bethlehem? How do we prepare students to engage with the world in a God-glorifying manner as Christian hedonists, being reformed and baptistic? Opportunities to engage with the world abound—which of those provide Bethlehem with Father-glorifying good works?
I thank God for all His kindness toward Bethlehem in this season. I thank you for continuing to pray for Bethlehem, so the light of Bethlehem would be seen and those that see it would give glory to our Father who is in heaven.
Chairman, Board of Trustees
- That the new governance structure would be effective, and that Bethlehem College and Seminary, Bethlehem Baptist Church, and the North Church would grow together.
- That God would bring the right quantity and quality of new students for the upcoming school year.
- That God would strengthen students, faculty, administration, contributors, prayer warriors, and trustees such that we would not grow weary of doing good.
- That God would protect and provide Bethlehem with whatever necessary facilities might be needed to fulfill its mission.
- That God would bring in the funds for the $500,000 match.
- Praise God for the first graduating class of students at our seminary extension in Cameroon.
- That we as trustees would grow in likemindedness regarding the stewardship of God’s gifts to Bethlehem.