MISHAWAKA—In the week of March 14, Bethel University hosted its yearly Deeper Life Week. The speaker of the conference was Nirup Alphonse, the lead pastor of Lifegate Church in Denver, Colorado. This, to Alphonse’s knowledge, is his fifth or sixth time speaking at Bethel. The focus of the conference was on prayer. This focus was found through prayer and conferring with Shawn Holtgren on what kind of sermon series would be important for the congregation of Bethel University.
For the series itself, each of the sessions were on the passage of Mark 9 wherein a father whose son was demon possessed reached out to Jesus Christ in faith. Alphonse homed in on the difference between Jesus Christ and his disciples on how they approached this father and his son. The disciples would rather talk about what to do than pray about it. But Alphonse primarily focused on what a Christian’s prayer life should look like. He started his first session on Monday morning, March 14, during the regular chapel time and ended with the fifth session on Wednesday morning, March 16, when Midweek chapels are scheduled. In the meantime, between those sessions, he had Monday evening, Tuesday morning, and Tuesday night sessions.
He is glad he has the opportunity to return to Bethel University time and time again because he enjoys seeing the progression of what the Lord is doing in the students’ lives as they travel from Freshman year to Senior year. Alphonse says, “Every now and then, I’ll hear, ‘Man, you came when I was a freshman, and you said this when I was a freshman, and…it made an impact on my life’ four years later. That’s always really special to hear about stuff like that.” Alphonse continues, “You don’t normally get that when you speak at conferences. You don’t get to hear how it impacted someone’s life years later.”
Alphonse went to college at Trinity in Chicago for his undergraduate, and he says he really enjoys the Christian college environment. He always looks forward to speaking in this kind of environment. “I lived this,” Alphonse says. “I know what it feels like…to live in this space of ‘what do I really believe? and how do I put this in practice?’ In a world that is confusing and growing, now the world is even changing rapidly…it’s really distracting.”
He wants to find a message that anchors something for the rest of a student’s life. This message is prayer for Alphonse. “If you can learn how to be in the scriptures, learn how to be a person of prayer, communally, not just individually, then as you leave this place, and you find a local gathering of God’s people to whom you can be anchored and connected to, then I think you can continue to grow in your faith and practice the way of Jesus.”
Alphonse believes that Christian colleges like Bethel University are the best and safest places to learn how to practice the way of Jesus.