Today is the final commencement ceremony at Bethany Bible College. It is closing its’ doors.
My Grandparents, parents, my sister and I all attended this school at some point in our young adult life. I have had months to anticipate the closure. I have always hoped something would happen to prevent it. My years at Bethany impacted, shaped and changed me. It was a large part of forming who I became.
My parents did not view bible school as an opportunity for only people heading into ministry. They believed in spending time studying the bible. Mom and Dad knew that time at Bible school was worth it. They knew that building a life on the foundation of scripture is the best preparation for living well. They were right. My time at Bethany was foundational for many reasons.
- Bethany gave me time to wrestle through my faith, away from all that was secure. I could not run to Mom and Dad for answers, I had to fight through my beliefs with teachers who challenged us to think critically and peers who were working through it also.
- Bethany gave me a chance to get to know myself better. Opportunities to serve and work with others gave me the chance to test and developed my skill set.
- Adults who took the time to know me were able to encourage me, help me discern strengths and weaknesses and speak into my life, giving me direction and a clearer view of myself.
- I was able to start healing from some of life’s wounds there and understand God’s place in my pain.
- Bethany was a good intermediate step between High School and University. It gave me time to grow up and further develop my foundation.
- Bethany gave me the chance to take off my rose coloured glasses and realize we are all on a journey. Everyone is at a different place. Life is messy with people but that with a common goal, unity can be achieved and grace given for one another’s weaknesses.
- It was a great community and focus from which to shape my world view. I learned to value and respect the history I came from and how it could form and shape the way I approached the world.
- We got to know teachers who became mentors and have offered valuable insight on our life situations through the years.
- I grew in my understanding of how to properly read and interpret scripture. How to handle God’s word carefully and accurately.
- I grew to understand how scripture fit together from Genesis to Revelations, over arching themes and genres. This gave me a more thorough understanding of it’s message and God’s goals. It also helped me read scripture more accurately.
- Basic Theology gives a biblical understanding of who God is, and who we are. Knowing God and Knowing Man were some of my favorite courses.
- I met my husband there. As much as “bridal school” is a joke, being in an environment with others who have similar values and pursuits is a smart place to find a partner for life. Even if you didn’t meet your spouse through Bible school, you may have met them through a Bible school connection, like my sister who married my husbands best friend.
We hope there are options for our boys as they approach that time. I hope as a believing community we will dig deeper into the fundamental need to promote Bible based living. I pray desperately that we will use the resources at our disposal to offer that to future generations. I still hope that Bethany can rise from the ashes.