Keeping Jesus the focus
I loved my years in college. Memories of attending Bethany Bible College (now Bethany University) in Santa Cruz, Calif., to prepare for ministry are some of my most cherished. At the time, most of us didn’t fully appreciate the privilege of taking Pentecostal Truths with former General Superintendent Ralph Riggs, or being forcefully challenged by President Cordas C. Burnett. God has used many of the students with whom I attended Bethany in ministry all over the world.
Since those years, Assemblies of God colleges and universities, all born in the fires of Pentecostal revival, have stretched and grown. They have added programs and now prepare men and women to serve God in a greatly increased range of vocations. Most importantly, they have maintained the sense of God’s presence; they have stayed Spirit-filled.
This is significant — given America’s history of Christian colleges abandoning their roots. It is common today for students to attend such schools and never hear about their religious heritage or theological underpinnings. (Chi Alpha functions as a godly presence on many of these campuses.) That’s why Christian colleges must continue to feel the wind of revival.
Assemblies of God schools have kept Jesus the focus and have continued to experience times of spiritual rekindling. I recall a spontaneous outpouring at Bethany while I was a student there. God swept through the student body during a chapel service. That began a series of evenings when students congregated in the chapel with no one in charge and no agenda other than to wait on God. Night after night, students were filled with the Spirit, healed, reconciled, restored and called to full-time ministry. Only eternity can tell what the impact of that move of God produced.
Today, numbers of young people are being called to full-time ministry — or to serve God fully in a “secular” calling. The rich heritage of Assemblies of God institutions of higher education is a guarantee they will have a place for godly, quality preparation.
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