MISHAWAKA—Spiritual Emphasis Week is an opportunity each year for Bethel’s campus to refocus our attention to Jesus and be unified in what is most important. The series for Spiritual Emphasis Week changed its official name last year and is now called Ignite.
Reverend Courtney Richards, the speaker for this year, was the director of student life, associate dean of students, assistant professor of psychology, and counselor at Bethel back in the 90’s. He will be speaking on a theme he chose and saw fit: Invitation to a Journey: A Radical View of Following Jesus.
Richards is from Jamaica and has connections here at Bethel. He has a gift for evangelism and teaching. Using those gifts, he emphasizes that our Christian walk is not private, its personal.
“He has that spiritual mantle,” Shawn Holtgren, vice president for student development, said. Holtgren is a friend and former mentee of Richards.
Richards spoke at Bethel a few years ago and connected well with students that year which fueled the idea to ask him back. He was asked and scheduled to come speak last year, but due to conflicts of being international and Covid-19, he was postponed returning to Bethel until this year.
The goal of this week is that Jesus would light a fire on campus. This helps to emphasize the fact that Jesus is present in every aspect of Bethel. Faith is personal and corporate and Spiritual Emphasis Week highlights just that.
“I think when we get our eyes off of Christ, we can be led toward religion instead of the encounter of God,” said Holtgren.
This year’s goal was to make it a bigger experience than just one week. There will be the showing of the series The Chosen and a prayer walk in addition to the scheduled chapels every morning, three evening chapels and an Afterglow worship night. The morning chapels all count toward chapel credit and the evening chapels are voluntary.
“It’s so nice to have it back this year. I look to this week to really set the tone for the entire school year,” Holtgren said.