A Guide to Life at BSSM: 2013 Edition – Part 4

Welcome to Part 4 of ‘A Guide to Life at BSSM: 2013 Edition’.  Let’s recap:

Part 1: Housing, Jobs, Finances, Food

Part 2: Getting Around Town, Things To Do, Keywords & Phrases, Making A Revival Group Map

Part 3: My Bethel Is Not Your Bethel, Class Life, Out-of-Class Life, Why You’re Here

Part 4: Bethel: Relationship Powerhouse, Relationship with God, Revival Groups, Small Groups, Spiritual Parents, Being Social, Dating

This is obviously a multi-faceted and far-reaching topic, so what am I trying to say in this part of the guide?

I want you to walk away with a better understanding of how relationship is seen in a general sense at Bethel, give some examples, and then give general advice pertaining to specific types of relationships.

Bethel: Relationship Powerhouse

Bethel is a church founded on relationship and honour, and so is BSSM.  Let’s compare this to a university, which is governed by rules.  At BSSM, if you are late on a financial payment, they meet with you and work out a plan.  At a university, they simply kick you out.  At BSSM, you are known to the staff by your face and name.  At a university, you are known by your student ID.

In general, BSSM is more like a family than an institution, with Kris & Kathy, Bill & Beni, Danni & Sheri, your RGPs, and many others acting as parents, while the students are like children.

It is important to learn that everyone is different, yet we are all people.  In the same way, everyone is given grace differently, but are asked to follow the same rules.  Here’s an example:

Ruth is a student who didn’t read the guide and now lives way out of town without a car.  Because of this, she is often late to class.  Sven, however, did read the guide, and got himself a bike to make sure he can get to class on time.

Good on you, Sven.
Good on you, Sven.

While Ruth and Sven both have to get to class on time, Ruth will be given some more grace about being late, given her situation.

Now, don’t misread this and think your situation can exempt you from the rules.  Ruth will be in for a confrontation if she doesn’t work on her problem.  But BSSM is more interested in seeing you succeed and grow past your problems, than discarding you for having them.

So what kind of relationships will you run into here?

Relationship with God

This is the first one, and the last.  More than anything you are here to cultivate a relationship with God, and he’s there (well everywhere) to do the same with you.  To any of the social butterfly types that are reading, remember to put God first.  Part 3 has some great points on making time for God, but generally your mornings are free, so use them for God!

Ok, now human relationships.

Revival Groups

The revival group was an idea from Paul Manwaring, to help keep the family feel of the school’s students as the school grew.  Treat yours like a second family.  Every week you have the privilege of meeting and growing with these brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, parents and grandparents.  I think of interns as big brothers and sisters.

Staying close with your revival group is a key way to staying in the body, to finding support, and to finding fellowship.  You make friends with people you spend time with, and when you spend time with a lot of people, you don’t miss the ones that are not around.  So go to your revival group and connect with your family because, sadly, you probably won’t be missed if you don’t.

Life Building Tip: Use RG time to get to know someone you haven’t met before; and non-RG time to strengthen relationships you have already started.

Small Groups

The tight, inner circle:  small groups are your accountability group, your confidants, and your stalwart friends.  Whether you are a group of guys, or a group of girls, make sure to meet at least once a week.

Life Building Tip: Our group always could have used more time.  Meet at other times to activate yourselves, or discuss/share life that may be beyond the topic of the week’s discussion.

Spiritual Parents

Being a spiritual parent means different things to different people.  I was not a spiritual parent myself, so I asked two couples for help with this section.  Thanks to my own parents, Jon and Kathleen Lenton (class of ’12), and Momma and Papa G (class of earlier) for their help.  In both cases, most of the conversation was from the mom, and I’ve paraphrased and distilled to help with the flow.

Q:  Were you asked directly or did it just happen organically; and would you have had a preference?

J&K:  Both, but more asked straight up.  Being students ourselves, we preferred being asked directly.  It was a DTR (define the relationship) moment right away, and gave us more access and input to the student; because we’d been invited. Either way being a spiritual parent is an honour and a joy.

G&G:  Just let it happen naturally! God knows which students He will highlight to ask you.  That has happened a lot; in conversation someone will just ask, “will you be my mom?”  God is so good!  He brings those connections together in His timing.

Q:  What does/did being a spiritual parent mean to you?

J&K:  It was different for each student, it depended on what their need was.

Ask them what their expectations might be.  For some it’s praying together and occasional encouragement.  For others it was regular coffee dates and mentoring.  Some students want more connection than others, and asking shows what they are hoping to gain. You can make a decision if that’s something you can offer.

We discovered at the end of the year that one young man, had been blessed and comforted just knowing that we were there in the same seats every day. He offered an emotional thanks for helping make him feel safe. (I had never met him!)  For another student, sitting together in class was huge for her. Just being a physical presence, a comforting back rub and feeling part of a family was what she needed.

It makes you realize how easy it is to give love and give life. As a natural parent, it is really an extension of your established identity.

G&G:  It is not as time consuming as some might think.  You can have them over for dinner or go for a walk.  Have them join you for something that you are going to do anyway.  Invite them to sit with you at church; save a seat or two and see who the Lord brings to sit with you and then have lunch together after church.

Most of the students we have relationship with (from 20’s to 80’s) just like knowing that you are there.  Knowing that they can call or visit, borrow a book, ask a question, or run an idea/thought by us.  Usually these are fairly quick and always interesting.

Q:  How many children did you have?

J&K:  Twelve (12) close ones, and twenty (20) that just needed occasional encouragement.  More for Jon who was more available and present at many off school events (I homeschooled our daughter.)  He connected to varying degrees with several dozen young people; he loved it!

G&G:  We have now been a part of two RGs that we can say call us Momma & Papa.  It’s possible over 250 students of all ages call us their California/Bethel parents.

Q:  How do you keep in contact with your spiritual children after BSSM?  How often?

J&K:  Very often on Facebook, but also with Christmas cards and Skype.  Reaching out to your parent is your best bet.

G&G:  Staying connected is challenging, but the ones who really need a connection will be intentional about asking for time together.  No matter the reason those times are really special.

Staying in touch by text, email, or Facebook is great for the ones who are back in their homelands.  The ones who are still in Redding we may see in a church service or in the community.  You can see the change in their countenance! They may take a moment to share a testimony and we will celebrate with them.

Advice for Parents?

Stay open to the possibility:  It’s a very enriching experience, an opportunity to grow and give, to love on people in a time when there’s so much change.  It was a surprise to discover that it was much easier than I would have thought.  Just being real and ‘soft’, your heart turned towards them, is really all that is required.

Manage yourself first:  Whether it is your time, your money, or your spirit; you have to manage yourself before others.  Know how much time you have to give, especially if you are a student.  It’s supposed to be a fun thing that adds to your experience, not a drain.

You should find someone you yourself can connect with, even if you are an older student. At the very least, a peer group of similar life experience (married, children, job, retired, …)

Have good boundaries:  Know how far you are willing to go for a son or daughter.  If you cannot keep that level of commitment, don’t accept the responsibility; again, ask how much responsibility is being asked of you before saying yes.

Advice for Kids?

Be intentional:  Tell me!  I’ll pencil you in!  You matter!  We will have coffee, a smoothie or a walk’n’talk!

Seek God on who to approach:  Don’t just look to the nearest parent-figure.  The relationship should be life giving for all concerned.  If you ask someone and they turn out to be broken or have a lot going on, you are not committed to this connection, be released.  If something arises that should be brought to the RGP’s attention, then as a parent make sure it is.  As Danny Silk would put it, “are you going to tell the RGP, or would you like me to?”

Final Thoughts

J&K:  In hindsight, some of those relationships [with our children] are the ones that hold the most meaningful memories from our time at BSSM.  It is an honor to be invited into someone’s life and break off pieces of your own to help them on their journey. It’s humbling to have strangers see value in what you have to offer.

The response of their natural parents when we met them, was one of overwhelming gratitude, for us to have loved on their kids. It caught us off guard. It was cool that they didn’t feel threatened, but were rather encouraged and thankful. It feels good to know other people think your kids are amazing!

G&G to parents:  We have found in God’s economy love and get more love back, bless and you receive more blessing, give and receive abundance, it’s the way of the King.  So I would say to those couples that are thinking about doing what we do, start small and bless two or three students and then see what God does to your heart.

G&G to kids:  It means the world to us that you would invite us in to your life!  Humbled that The Lord put us together.  He knows what we have to share with one another. So many times He knows exactly what is needed at the right time!

Being Social

There are no great mysteries here, it boils down to being available and being open.

Be Available

Be reachable:  Get a phone, get a Facebook account, and connect with some of the myriad of Facebook groups.

Be around:  Hang around after class, get there early, make a point of talking to someone new.  Same goes for church.

Start early:  The start of the year is the best time to meet people because nobody has anything to do yet;  so everyone is willing to hang out as long they’re willing to take a chance (see Be Optimistic).

Do Your Homework:  Amazing how this keeps coming up, maybe because it’s important.  Get it done early so when opportunities come you have the chance to take them and aren’t stuck at home.  Or you can kill two birds with one stone, and:

Start a study group:  Even calling a friend over to do homework in the same location is great if you are a quality time person; and talking through an idea is essential for external processors.

Be Open

The first step to something new is outside your comfort zone.
The first step to something new is outside your comfort zone.

Keep an open mind:  Never roller skated before?  Try the rink.  Not a fitness guru?  Go on a short hike.  Not a film buff?  Go to the dollar theatre.  Not a prophet?  Renounce that lie and start encouraging someone in faith.  Be willing to try things you never have before, it’s the only way you’ll change; and if you don’t change by the end of the year, what was the point?  Plus, you may actually enjoy it.

“When it looks like everyone knows each other, and you think you’re the only one that doesn’t know anyone, it’s not true! Just start talking, think about it later.”  ~ Alumni Advice

Get out of the house:  Being friends with roommates is great (and important) but you need to remember to get out of your house once in a while, so if all you do is stay at home then you should think about widening your friend group.  Sven, who read Part 1, knows that eating together is a great bonding experience.

Branch out:  Be willing to make new friends even after you have an established circle.  Welcome new people into the fold, and spend time hanging out in other people’s circles.

Believe in the relationship:  Do not make the mistake of avoiding connection because of the impending severance.  It’s true that most people don’t stay over a year, but it’s still important to develop meaningful relationships, even if you might never see these people again.  These relationships are life-giving, affirming; and increase your capacity to love by showing you different situations and perspectives.

Saying ‘no’ is ok:  Never feel guilty for turning something down, just know that every decision has pros and cons.

“There will be tons of opportunities to get involved, parties to go to, people inviting you to things.  It is ok to not go to all of them.  You will miss out on some things, and that is totally healthy.  Be intentional in your ‘yes,’ because every ‘yes’ to one thing may be saying ‘no’ to something else.”  ~ Alumni Advice

“You only do first year once in life; so max it out. Take advantage of every opportunity.  Absorb.  Soak.  Rest.  Work.  Play.  Socialize.  Love.  And most important trust in, and lean upon, Him.”  ~ Alumni Advice

Single Life Workshop

Besides reading up on Things To Do for inspiration (like Sven has), I encourage single people to consider signing up for Single Life Workshop.  It’s a great way to meet people and learn how to do life better.  I personally learned a lot. The downside to this is that one of your nights each week is taken, but it’s time spent building relationship, so your call.

Dating

There is an entire week dedicated to relationships in first year (a whole month in second year.)  Dating, courting, pursuing is a big enough topic in both that I don’t have much to add, except:

Hold your horses! So many stories of students meeting in September and being married by the next year.  To these couples I wish nothing but the best of love and life.  That said, if you are in first year, then you probably are in the process of learning about who you are; and the last thing you need is someone else’s processing to confound your own.

“Don’t waste your time looking for your better half. Become a whole person [first] looking for another whole person.”  ~ Danny Silk [emphasis mine]

“Wait until the new year before you pursue someone, you’re in the middle of figuring out who you are, and so are they.”  ~ A wise pastor’s wife

Men, be honourable: If not, I just explained above how this girl has a huge family (her RG, small group, and spiritual parents), so watch it.

Little-Fockers-Robert-De-Niro-Close-Up-25-10-10-kc
Because we’re watching you. Punk.

“That there are big brothers that will hurt you if you mess with their sisters.”  ~ Alumni Advice

Ladies, be forthright: This isn’t high school, the games are over.  If a guy isn’t catching on that you like him, just tell him; we won’t think you are pursuing us.

Her name is "Good Girl Gina" for a reason.
Don’t be weird, just tell us.

I’ll close with this:

“Stay intentional with the people around you. Live in community, even if it’s just a few.”  ~ Alumni Advice

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A Guide to Life at BSSM: 2013 Edition – Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of ‘A Guide to Life at BSSM: 2013 Edition’.  Let’s recap:

Part 1: Housing, Jobs, Finances, Food

Part 2: Getting Around Town, Things To Do, Keywords & Phrases, Making A Revival Group Map

Part 3: My Bethel Is Not Your Bethel, Class Life, Out-of-Class Life, Why You’re Here

My Bethel Is Not Your Bethel

“throw out the rulebook and be flexible, listen with your heart.”  ~ Alumni Advice

All the advice/wisdom from me, or other alumni, has to be taken in context.  The BSSM experience of this year (Your Bethel) is not the same as last year’s (My Bethel).  Every year the staff at BSSM spend hundreds, possibly thousands, of hours pouring over feedback from their students and seeking God for the ways the school can be improved for the following year.

This means that advice from students of previous years can be inaccurate, so before talking about class life at BSSM I wanted to confess my potential wrongness.  Side note: If I am wrong about something do tell me, no need to stay wrong, right?

Because of BSSM’s radical growth over the years, most classes will have new, challenging problems that didn’t need to be addressed previously.  According to Kris Vallotton, my first year class (2012-2013), had a problem with authority.  We’d ignore direct instruction from RGPs and Mark Brookes, and were talked to by Kris Vallotton and Mark Brookes on more than one occasion.

Now this doesn’t mean that 2013-2014 even has a problem, our ceiling your floor right?  What it does mean is that in general the leadership is going to focus on different topics with you guys than they did with us.

Testimonies

Speaking of ways that the school improves, here’s an example of how a new mandate was integrated into BSSM over time:

  • 2011-2012:  Bill feels God stressing the need to collect testimonies accurately and thoroughly to edify and encourage the body.
  • 2012-2013:  This becomes a growing initiative and is talked about at the start of the year
  • 2013, February/March: bcrr.us/bssmtestify is launched
  • 2013, May: Testimony book is published (credit Dave Harvey)
  • 2013-2014 (Present): bcrr.us/bssmtestify is on the back of your name tag

Another example could be the city project, how it’s gone from a few dozen people to an army of over a hundred, transforming the city on a weekly basis.

Let me summarize all this:

  1. The school is always transitioning positively, from glory to glory as it were.
  2. If you hear complaints from alumni, assume they’ve been fixed.
  3. If they haven’t, see if you can help fix it.

Class Life

Ah, class life; homework, due dates, assignments, lectures, notes, what a wonderful time!  You’ll be exposed to a ton of information while you’re at Bethel, so let’s compartmentalize class life to make it less overwhelming:

Schedule
Your schedule! Once things settle into a groove.

Your day: Class is from 10:30 to 17:45 (5:45pm), Monday to Thursday.  This is the best way to think about it, because then:

Days are the same length: Plan to be busy in between these times.  Do reading, homework, reserve seats in the morning, meet and talk to people upstairs at the civic.

Everyone’s more available: If you plan hangouts or gatherings outside of this time frame, way more people can come.

Schedules

There are morning and afternoon schedules.  Morning means 10:30-12:00 and afternoon means 16:15-17:45.  Monday and Wednesday this will involve your revival group or small group; on Tuesday it involves your AMT/Track, and Thursdays, for most people, means your activation.

Day-to-Day

Each day has a similar “middle schedule,” from 12:00 to 16:15:

Prayer/Worship  [12:00-12:30]

This is a time for you to press into God and join in some amazing corporate prayer, or get drunk as a skunk with Holy Spirit.  This is not a time for:

  • Talking with friends or catching up in the auditorium
  • Reserving a seat (do that before)
  • Being obnoxious or loud in any sense (unless that’s how the prayer is going)

If you see someone you want to talk to, and you are in the auditorium, quietly ask to talk to them outside or upstairs.  If it isn’t worth the 15 second walk, it can wait.

Announcements  [12:30-12:45, varies]

Pay attention!  If there are announcements on the overhead screens read them, they aren’t always read out loud.  This is not talking and catching up time, or coffee time, or potty time (note: coffee time and potty time are tied together, avoid entirely if possible).  It isn’t getting settled in your seat time either, because you were already sitting in your seat, eager to learn about all the awesome opportunities BSSM is offering at announcements today!

Side note: last year, our class would yell, “ANNOUNCEMENTS!” whenever someone at the podium said they had announcements.  I endorse this tradition, it’s fun and it helps the delinquents pay attention.

Bible  [12:30-13:30, varies]

What an amazing opportunity to dive into the Word of God, to enrich your spirit.  In my year this was usually taught by the zealous Bernie Ooley or the emphatic Dann Farrelly.  Whoever teaches it, take in all you can.

Worship  [early afternoon, about an hour a day]

“It’s a totally new place where you’ll probably see some things you haven’t seen before.  Different manifestations, different ideas. The best advice I heard in Redding is don’t be suspicious and use discernment!” ~ Alumni Advice

Refresh yourself, soak in the presence, go deeper in intimacy with God.  This is a time of praise and worship, try not to be distracted.

Bring recording material:  Carry something to record with so if you’re struck by a sudden awareness of your need to do laundry, you can write it down and release your mind to focus on higher things.

“Have a recording device handy everywhere you go. Start a filing system early so you can categorize: homework, proph.words, notes, bills etc..”  ~ Alumni Advice

If this is really new for you, here’s a look at some beginner moves for worship.

Grasping God’s Word  [12:30-13:30, varies]

Taught by the scholarly Dann Farrelly, you will learn so much here it’s crazy.

Bring the book to school: If GGW is scheduled that day, bring the book so you can write in notes and comments.

Read the book: at least the day before, more on this later.

Core Speakers  [Last thing before break]

This is probably why you came to BSSM, to hear Kris, Bill, Jason, and others dispense distilled wisdom into your earholes.  Their talks are sometimes marathons (it can be over two hours at times) so when you are asked to stand and honour them, sneak a stretch into your applause.  Stay sharp, you do not want to miss a word, or expression, from these brilliant orators.

Let’s look at some of the people you’ll be hearing from:

  • Bernie Oolie:  Excitement embodied, Bernie has a passion few can match.  She believes strongly in empowering women in the church.
  • Dann Farrelly:  The scholar of the bunch, Dann is a gifted teacher who delivers his material in an easy to follow along manner.
  • Kevin Dedmon:  Inventor of Treasure Hunts, Kevin’s passion is for the lost, and to say he likes getting drunk with Holy Spirit is an understatement.
  • Chris Overstreet:  Your local motivational speaker, Chris will also likely be the one who releases you to street ministry (more later).
  • Kris Vallotton:  A father of the house and a powerful prophet, Kris has a great passion for the city (City Project was his baby) and for raising a generation of young people with a value for purity.
  • Bill Johnson:  Considered the father of the house, Bill is a great apostle with a sincerity and humility matched by few in this world.
  • Mark Brookes:  Overseer of first year, he’s kind of like your surrogate father for the year, treat him like it.
  • Jason Vallotton:  Kris’s son, Jason’s passion is helping broken people.  He’ll talk a lot about counselling and inner healing.

There are many others besides these select few, including guest speakers and revival group pastors.

Ear protection: My year the sound guys (who were awesome) didn’t have much control over outbursts from speakers.  The resource table has free earplugs to take the volume down a notch.  I recommend having them handy for Bernie, Kevin, and Chris O depending on where you are sitting.

Stories: Bill and Kris lose track of what stories they’ve told to whom.  Your job is to remind them.  Just remember that if you always say, “no tell us!” they will repeat themselves and you’ll miss out on other, different stories they could be telling.

Break Time  [15:45-16:15]

Do not leave your seat until the speaker dismisses you.  Be honourable and give them your full attention for the whole time.  When it is break time, this is your phone-checking time, your potty-break time, your catching-up-with-friends and your making-final-notes time.

If someone has an afternoon schedule that day, don’t keep them, and that someone is you, don’t be kept!  Excuse yourself and get to where you need to be on time.

Ok, deep breath.  That’s the day-to-day, what about the special stuff?

Monday

Let’s pretend your Revival Group meets on Mondays (if they don’t flip Monday and Wednesday when you read this).  We’ll be talking more about RGs in Part 4: Relationships, but for now think of them as extended family reunions, every week!

Seriously though Revival Group time is awesome, make it a first priority.

Tuesday

AMT/Track time!  These are amazing opportunities to customize your experience and get the most out of your time at BSSM.  Advanced Ministry Training (AMT) is like an elective in school, whereas a Track is like a taking a minor on your degree, in that you take the same AMT for the whole year.

Unless you are absolutely certain you want to take a track, I recommend the AMTs; you can try more things that way.

Wednesday

Small Group time!  Of course your small group can meet any time you decide on, but the default is the same slot as your RG time on the alternate day.  Small Groups will also be talked about more in Part 4: Relationships, until then, consider them to be your best friends, your brothers or sisters in your immediate family.

Thursday

Thursday is Staff Speaker day, where you’ll hear from someone you normally don’t.  Did you know Bethel has around 500 staff?  They won’t all talk to you, but you should know how many people work to keep the place jumping.

Finally, before city services is the City Services Speaker.  For us it was usually Chris Overstreet.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man more passionate for the lost.  I find that if you do whatever he asks to get you pumped up, you’ll have a better day for it.

Activation!  Or is it City Services now?  Either way, this is the time when you get your hands dirty for the Kingdom.  You want to know what’s had the most profound impact on the City of Redding’s leadership?  It’s been us happily, hardily, and humbly serving them in any way they need.

Tips for Class Time

To talk to someone about it:  Just had a revelation?  Blown away by that last talk?  If you really want to get that awesome stuff locked down talk it out with someone.  Explain it to each other, write it down, discuss alternate interpretations; attack and defend it with reason and scripture.

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” ~ Proverbs 27:17

But don’t talk during class: Just don’t, it’s rude and dishonouring.  Take it outside if you must.

Keep the phone off:  Turn it on during break, but its function should be to record the talk or take notes only, everything else it does distracts you from what you are here for.

Turn-Cell-Your-Phone-Off

Do your Homework: Do it, do it, do it now.  Read your books, read your bible, write and take notes, do your 30 days starting 30 days before it’s due.

Reserve your seat clearly: This was a pet peeve of mine.  Reserving seats is an accepted practice at BSSM, finding a friend on the morning schedule ups your odds of getting good seats.  Just make sure your reservation is clear:

  • Not a pen or torn piece of paper
  • Not something half sitting between two seats
  • Use your binder (no one will steal a binder, and the name helps friends find you)
  • Backpacks are cool too (think big here)
  • Extra classy people put something across the top of the chair so you can tell from a distance that the seat is taken.

Stairwells are for going up or down: Not for hugs and hellos.  There is only one stairwell in the Civic you can use in the entrance area; think of it like cars on a highway.  You wouldn’t suddenly brake in bumper-to-bumper traffic to roll down your window and say hi to a friend.  If you want to talk, wave them over to a place that’s off the “road.”

Coffee timing: If you can’t get your coffee from River Rock and be in your seat on time, you need to find a coffee place on the way to school, or save money and bring a travel mug.

Be Flexible: The schedule will change, mistakes will happen, have grace and roll with it.

Be aware of yourself: Don’t be like school kids who are too self-absorbed to realize they are blocking people’s way.  Avoid standing in doorways or near stairwells, fountains, or RG tables; unless of course you are using them.

Find out who’s taking the great class notes: I recommend you still take personal notes, but official notes can be found if you ask around, or you make your own!  These give you a chance to review what you might have missed.

Out-Of-Class Class Life

Homework

“Do your h-work before you go out on fri and sat….” ~ Alumni Advice

Do it, do it, do it now people.

There’s a method to the madness: If you are doing your homework, you’ll notice that bible, kingdom foundations, GGW, and the speakers afterward end up talking about the same topics at the same time. For example, about halfway to when ‘Culture of Honor’ was due Danny Silk, the author, gave a talk on the fivefold ministry that tied in perfectly with the early chapters of the book.

Challenge yourself: Challenge what you believe and what you are being told.  If something a speaker said didn’t sit well with you, talk to your intern or RGP about it, or your roommate, small group, or friend.  Stay sharp.

Dann will talk to you about logical fallacies and reasoning.  I urge you to do everything you can to understand his talk.  Why?  Because the stereotype that Christians believe whatever sounds good and are uneducated or ignorant doesn’t need any help.  Be smart, you may need it.

Representing Bethel

As a student of BSSM you are a representative of Bethel, and an ambassador of the Kingdom of Heaven.  Just as a diplomat isn’t simply sent to another country with no training, you aren’t being released until you’ve learned how to carry the culture of honour when you speak and minister.

In general, consider how people would perceive your actions, as an ambassador you are being watched every time you are in public.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:23

Evangelizing

You’ve already been told I’m sure, but in case you haven’t: you don’t have permission to minister to people outside of BSSM, yet.  You will be released later this year when the leadership knows you are ready.

Ministering at Church

You also cannot minister at church, yet, unless you are a second or third year.  There will be training for this, and seek approval from your RG pastor before doing it.  In this case it is better to ask permission than forgiveness.

Why You’re Here

You are here for whatever you and God decide you’re here for.  If you don’t know what that is, press into God and he’ll help you out.

“Don’t get behind in your homework, and pursue Him; not just the signs and wonders.  You’ll see all the signs and wonders you could imagine but if you don’t allow Him to change you, you won’t have the character to hold onto what He wants to do through you.”  ~ Alumni Advice

“Stay focused on the one thing God has called you to no matter what. Stay on task in the path where his clarity is acute.”  ~ Alumni Advice

You get what you put in: If you don’t work at problems, they won’t be solved; and nobody will work on your problem harder than you will.

2nd or 3rd years aren’t perfect: That sounds mean, but I want you to understand that finishing first year shouldn’t be your goal.  Your goal should be figuring out what you need to deal with, what stands between you and God, and then working everyday to bring that barrier down.

I’m also saying this so you won’t be discouraged or surprised if you meet a 2nd year who seems worse off than you; instead be encouraged that they are further ahead than they were last year, and if you work hard, you will be too.

Deal with it now: There is no better time to fix your hurts or problems than right now.  This has always been true, but it’s more true now, if that’s possible.  Just think, a year from now, you’ll be glad you started today.

You are here for you: Not for your church, or anyone, or anything else.  This year is ultimately about you.  Take the time you need to take care of you.

That’s all for now folks.  Tune in next time for Part 4: Relationships!