Campus News

What draws people to Bethel?

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Students returned to Bethel College several weeks ago to begin a new school year. As the school year was getting underway, the Beacon talked with students and faculty to find out what draws people to Bethel. “I transferred to Bethel because I heard that their youth ministry program was really good," said Krystal Kotesky, senior. "And I just felt like this was a really cool place, and the campus was really beautiful. I just fell in love with it.” Kotesky transferred to Bethel College from Lake Michigan College because she said that God had called her to youth ministry and she had heard that the youth ministry program was really good. Kotesky said she also enjoys the chapel services, the moving bookshelves, and the squirrels. “I came to Bethel because it had a strong faith background, and I’m hoping that by the time I leave, my faith will truly be my own,” said freshman Jessalyn Ayers. helmAyers first heard about Bethel through a teen camp held at Prairie Camp just before she entered the sixth grade. She said that she decided that week that she would attend Bethel College. Ayers also said that she wanted to stay close to home, so Bethel was a good option for her. “We all have our reasons, but I think there is a reason behind the reasons; I think God’s doing something wonderful,” said Dr. Bob Laurent. “I believe that God has a plan for every human being… for where He is, there His servant must also be. And I’m not saying He’s not at other schools, but I do think Bethel’s special. I really do think the spiritual nature of Bethel, this is a hot place spiritually to attend. I speak at other colleges in spiritual emphasis week, and it’s just not like Bethel. So it’s that spiritual component.” Others sense that component as well. “It feels like home because of the spiritual aspect and I’m challenged in my faith,” said Lauren Linhart, junior. “The professors really care about me. It’s a good place to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. And also the friends I’ve made, it’s just a great connection. Linhart also shared some things that she was hoping to take away from her experience here at Bethel College. “Especially in these last two years, I’m trying to challenge my mind a lot more, challenge myself academically, and really own my major,” she said. “Also, learning how to relate to people, since I live in much closer proximity to other people than ever before. So, I think that’s something that I really want to take with me.” In talking with faculty, students and staff, the themes of relationship and community were common. And that is no coincidence. “The most important things that happen at Bethel are relational,” said Laurent. “Our relationship to God, and our relationship to each other. So the thing that they take are eternal friendships. You can’t put a price on that.” Laurent also shared his hopes for students preparing to enter the next phase of their lives. “I also pray that they take with them a mind ignited for God, an intellect on fire for God, because the Christian intellectual has so much more to be Christian with,” Laurent said. “I want the world to feel the weight, the substantial spiritual weight of you when you leave here. That you will be a discerning nonconformist with an intellect ignited by the Holy Spirit, to engage the world for God, to jump into the dialogue with the world, not to hide from the world. Bethel is a springboard to the questions that people out there have. You should be versed and educated in the questions of the world and what’s interesting the world. It’s not that God called the world to go to church—He called the church to go to the world. So as a discerning nonconformist, you get out there in that real world.”
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