One of my first impressions of Bethel College was the incredible sense of God's presence. I remember an admissions counselor sharing the story of a revival that happened in the early 90s and how that had a lasting impact on the campus. As a student, it seemed the longer I was at Bethel the more we felt the need for God to bring revival again. So we prayed.
In July of 2009, I was invited to join a group of people who were gathering with Impact Campus Ministries on all of the local campuses in the South Bend area to pray and seek what God may be doing on these campuses. While we were at Bethel, something about campus seemed different. I couldn't quite put my finger on it but there was a sense of unrest that began to settle in me. That prayer journey lead me to join Impact's staff and last spring we gathered again on all of the campuses to pray and seek God. During our time at Bethel we were joined by faculty, staff and students and the first thing they asked us to pray for was revival.
I write all of that to share that many people have been praying for many years that God would pour out his Spirit and that the Bethel community would be revived. God is answering that prayer in a powerful way. Last Wednesday the normal 50 minute chapel service turned into over 7 1/2 hours of confession, testimonies, healing, reconciliation and the Spirit consuming students, faculty and staff. That has been followed by student-led prayer and worship gatherings all across campus. You can read a statement from senior vice-president, Dr. Dennis Engbrecht here.
The following night we met with our Impact Bethel group and heard their stories. Students shared about being freed from sins, experiencing joy in new ways, calls to ministry being confirmed, renewed commitments to following Christ and the list goes on and on. We ended our night thanking God and praying that we would continue to respond to what God is doing.
For me personally it was a very moving experience to sit and listen to the stories knowing that God was answering a prayer I (and several others) had been praying for years. It was a reminder of how perfect His timing and plan is. It was awesome to see our students take huge steps and continue to define the next steps they need to take. God is constantly shaping our story and it is one that needs to be shared.
Over the next couple of weeks I'll be sharing some of those stories. Please be praying for Bethel's campus as they continue to respond to the Spirit. Our Impact staff would also appreciate your prayers as we continue to mentor and disciple students.
Also I encourage you to check out the posts and links Benson Hines has shared on his blog and Bethel's Facebook page for updates of what is happening on campus.