Students Ministries launches Pursue campaign

September 20, 2013 | 11 a.m.

New devotional series geared specifically toward biblical manhood and womanhood

News | Patnacia Goodman

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The Student Ministries team meets weekly to plan activities. | Photo for The Clarion by Amanda Ahlm

It all started with the question, “What is Student Ministries?”

“Yeah, we get that a lot,” responded Tyler Sorensen with a laugh.

Student Ministries is a part of Bethel Student Association that many students do not know about, but that is due to change according to Sorensen, the Director of Student Ministries.

“The past couple years it really hasn’t been as present, but we really want to put it back on the map,” he said.

This year’s Student Ministries team wants to provide ways for students to get connected within the Bethel community and outside of it through Bible studies, faculty-to-student and student-to-student mentorship programs, as well as organizing outreaches like food and coat drives. More specifically, the team has been developing an on-campus forum to discuss different aspects of the Christian faith.

The idea for the Pursue series began during a discussion between Sorensen and Student Ministries Executive Director, Neko Vanevenhoven, about what needs they saw in the Bethel community and how they wanted to approach the school year.

“Bethel has a great community,” Sorensen started, “but people can easily skate through Bethel without really challenging themselves and really growing in their faith. And I really want to fight through that.”

Simply put, Sorensen said the goal of Pursue is to encourage and challenge people to pursue Christ with all they have by addressing the temptations and sins that hold them back.

Similar to Bethel’s Quest forums, the format of Pursue will include special speakers who will talk about different topics and incorporate a question and answer time into sessions. The main difference is that Pursue forums are divided by gender with Biblical manhood for the males and Biblical womanhood for females. The goal of this separation is to encourage a more open environment for both genders as the men talk about topics like leadership, passivity and purity, and the women focus on identity.

The idea of an open and authentic environment was echoed at the opener for Pursue: Biblical Womanhood led by Student Ministries members Lauren St. John, Kasey Leisinger, Ariana Busse and Regan McGowan in the Underground on Thursday Sept. 12.

“We want to talk about things that are hard to talk about,” said St. John. “Or that you think would be easy to talk about because everybody struggles with them, but at the same time there’s an underlying fear of bringing it into the light.”

During the relaxed introductory session, students were encouraged to write down the different subjects they wanted to include in the following meetings which ranged from “hot topics” to “challenging questions." A common thread throughout the night was the emphasis on a vulnerability that surpasses a quick greeting in the middle of a Bethel hallway.

In regards to an open communication within Pursue, Leisinger said, “We can’t grow unless we show and acknowledge the areas in which we need to grow in, and how essential it is for us to be open to those areas before we are able to start working towards getting rid of them.”

But why is all of this necessary for a community of students who already participate in chapels and Vespers? For Sorensen and the rest of the Student Ministries team, it is a call to deepen relationships within Bethel.

“As a community we are called to challenge one another in pursing Christ. We want to provide an avenue for people to build real relationships that dig beneath the surface level and really get an authentic and intentional community at Bethel that’s focused on serving others and following God with all we have.”

McGowan summarized the vision of Pursue, saying, “I think what sets us apart is that it’s just like a safe haven. It’s somewhere we can go and just be vulnerable with one another and not worry about anything other than how we can take our own brokenness and build each other up.”

To get more information about the Pursue series check out the Bethel Student Ministries page on Facebook.

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