Bethlehem Blogs

May 22, 2018

Ebenezers and Diplomas

Brian Tabb

Elder; Academic Dean, Bethlehem College & Seminary

“Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I’ve come.” This line from the well-known hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” offers a fitting response to the eight annual graduation service of Bethlehem College & Seminary. We typically link “Ebenezer” to surly old Scrooge in The Christmas Carol, but the hymn writer draws upon 1 Samuel 7:12. Following Israel’s victory over the Philistines, the prophet Samuel set up a stone “and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, ‘Till now the Lord has helped us.’” The Hebrew word Ebenezer means “stone of help.” Samuel set up this rock as a memorial to remind future generations of God’s covenant-keeping faithfulness and strong support for his people.  

On Friday, May 18, we witnessed a record 58 students graduate from Bethlehem College & Seminary (42 from the college, 16 from the seminary). The student testimonies from Jacob Rush and Scott Hubbard and the charge from Pastor Jason Meyer each called the graduating class to recall and reflect on what God has done during their years of study at Bethlehem. We did not pile stones in the sanctuary on Friday evening, but we did present students with diplomas that will hang in their homes or offices as a sort of “Ebenezer,” reminding them for years to come that the Lord met them and helped them during their time at Bethlehem College & Seminary.

The recent graduates from our college programs have plans for further education at various seminaries and universities: Gordon–Conwell Theological Seminary, Liberty University, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, New Saint Andrews, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southern Evangelical Seminary, University of British Columbia, University of Finlandia, and University of Northwestern—St. Paul. Others plan to serve the Lord through business ventures, an apologetics ministry, ESL teaching, global missions, local church ministry, and more.

Our seminary graduates are launching into vocational ministry near and far as church-planters, local church pastors, global partners, and writers and researchers. Here are the plans for the 13 graduates from our M.Div. program:  

Church Planting

  • David Lund, Luke Salik, and Don Straka are moving to Boise, Idaho to serve with Ryan Eagy (M.Div., 2017) as pastors of Table Rock Church.
  • Tyler Mykkanen is the church planting resident for Bethlehem Baptist Church’s South Campus.
  • Jon Patterson is serving with Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City and is preparing for church planting.
  • Ross Tenneson is partnering with Sam Choi (M.Div., 2017) as a pastor of All Peoples Church in Minneapolis. 

Pastoral Ministry

  • Jason Croatt will be an associate pastor at Westosha Lakes Church (EFCA) in Wisconsin.
  • Peder Kling is interviewing for associate pastor positions.
  • Chris Rendinaro will be a pastoral intern with Calvary Chapel, Staten Island in New York.
  • Frank Schmidt will continue serving on staff with Jubilee Community Church in Minneapolis.

Cross-Cultural Ministry

  • Micah B. will be a Bethlehem Baptist Church global partner serving among the unreached in Asia.  

Writing and Education

  • Scott Hubbard will work as an editor with Desiring God.
  • Carlton Goss will continue his theological training through the Th.M. program at Bethlehem College & Seminary.

Thanks be to God for his faithful help to these graduating students and for the many ways that they have blessed the people of Bethlehem Baptist Church over the past four years.

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