Radical, Ordinary Obedience

Bryce Langley S’23 is a seminary student, pastoral resident, custodian, mentor, and winner of Bethel Seminary’s annual Omark Preaching Competition. But at the end of the day, he says, his goal is to serve his wife, family, friends, and the local church by committing to radical, ordinary obedience in the same direction over the long haul.

By Michelle Smith Westlund '83, S'21, senior content specialist

July 22, 2022 | Noon

Bryce Langley

Bryce Langley S’23

Bryce Langley will graduate from Bethel Seminary in 2023 with a master of arts in theological studies. He’s a pastoral resident at Antioch Community Church in northeast Minneapolis, pursuing full-time ministry upon graduation. He also works on the Bethel University campus as a custodian in the men’s dorms, is a mentor for Bethel’s undergraduate Ministry Scholars Program, and is the first-place winner in the seminary’s annual Omark Preaching Competition. Here, Langley shares more about his calling, his seminary experience, and the unique ways he serves and leads.


What brought you to Bethel Seminary? Tell us a little about your sense of call.

I’m originally from Bloomington, Minnesota, and was introduced to Bethel at an early age through school programs and spending summers at Trout Lake Camps [Converge-affiliated summer camps in central Minnesota]. Many of my counselors and staff were undergraduate students at Bethel, so the university and seminary were always on my radar as I graduated high school, went to college, and then began attending a local church. Bethel became a realistic option for continuing education when I was in my early 20s and leading a drug and alcohol recovery ministry as a pastoral intern. It was one of the most formational and humbling experiences of my life when God called me to further my theological training. Bethel was the best fit for my vocational calling and was right in my backyard as I moved back to the Twin Cities with a small U-Haul trailer and my new bride Emily.


In what ways have you changed since starting seminary? How did Bethel contribute to those transformative experiences?

I began seminary a week after getting off the plane from my honeymoon in August of 2018. Between transplanting from southeastern Minnesota to back home in the metro with my wife, a new job track, and getting used to the cadence of classes, I was at the mercy of inexperience and young ambition. My professors, advisors, and coworkers got front row seats to my being a newly married man and understanding how to cultivate the new soil of career and calling to the pastorate in real time. Pushing through profound love and loss in my own personal life, I have experienced my professors’ compassion and availability to my wife and me when we found ourselves at more than one crossroad, providing theological insight, prayer, and counsel. Now, as I get closer to graduation, I think fondly of how people at Bethel have indelibly left their fingerprints in my spiritual formation for the better. I’m more confident than ever that God who began a good work in calling me several years ago to put in an application for the seminary will see it to completion.


Besides being a seminary student, you're a pastoral resident at Antioch Community Church. Tell us about that role, and how your seminary studies intersect with/inform it.

My wife and I discovered Antioch Community Church through the combination of a mutual friend, our denominational network, and The Gospel Coalition. We began attending Antioch when we moved to the Twin Cities in 2018, developing strong relationships there through years of serving on the hospitality team and the respective men’s and women’s ministries. That organically led to an invitation from our lead pastor for me to come on staff as a pastoral resident. Our church location in the heart of northeast Minneapolis—plus the combination of the pandemic and the deaths of both George Floyd and Daunte Wright—greatly affected our ecosystem, which gave some shape to my residency. But my main responsibilities include being on the preaching rotation, overseeing the men’s ministry, and leading a small group. The rigorous studies and the wisdom to navigate the changing culture with the truth of Scripture are invaluable gifts from my seminary program as I’m experiencing unprecedented circumstances and needs in our community.


As you prepare for full-time ministry after graduating, what are your biggest takeaways from your seminary training so far? 

I could detail pages worth of valuable takeaways from seminary, but if I could distill it, I would say that three of the biggest things I’m bringing from school into full-time ministry are: 1) Remain intellectually curious and continue to grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:17). 2) Sabbath well. Study and hard work are good things but terrible gods. 3) At the end of it all, my studies should not just produce good papers and a comprehensive systematic theology, but be a conduit for being a better husband, friend, and employee.


You're very involved at Bethel! Not just in seminary, but as a custodian in the men's dorms and as a mentor for the Ministry Scholars Program. Tell us about those roles.  

I’ve been working as a custodian in the freshman hill men’s dorms for three years, cleaning hallways and bathrooms. In the margins, I’ve been a mentor for students in the Ministry Scholars Program [which allows undergraduates in a variety of majors to earn both a bachelor’s degree and one of several Bethel Seminary master’s degrees in only five years]. These roles give me the privilege of investing in the lives of students, combining my studies, work, and discipleship in a unique way I couldn’t have experienced anywhere else. I resolved when I began my job as a custodian that I wasn’t going to be a nameless face. Being someone who has a passion for young men to live in joyful obedience to the gospel, I saw Jesus opening a massive window into the lives of these young men who are one of the greatest joys of my job. Getting to chat with, have lunch with, sit in on their Bible studies, and go on retreats with these students gives vibrancy to my job. 


If you weren’t doing enough already, you also found time to enter the seminary’s Omark Preaching Competition this year—and you won first place. Congrats! What did that award mean to you?

I am incredibly honored to receive this accolade! It was made possible through the training and investment of the pastoral staff at Antioch and the influence of my seminary professors, who consistently challenge me to become a more effective Bible teacher. I absolutely love getting to preach, teach, and provide theological education to the local church and look forward to sharing it with whomever God calls me to use these gifts for.


As you graduate from seminary and follow God's call into full-time ministry, what do you hope God will accomplish through you?

Through the last several years of education and witnessing the culture of American Christianity changing drastically, I’m all the more enchanted by the gospel, hopeful that God is going to continue using His church in powerful ways. Many of us can recall public examples of leaders in the faith who left it all behind in a puddle of deconstruction or shipwrecked their ministries. As these phenomena pull people into skepticism, I feel all the more enthusiastic to run in the opposite direction—cultivating spaces where people can explore the intellectual rigor of Christianity, be empowered by the Holy Spirit to fiercely serve their neighbor, and develop deep relationships with Jesus and fellow believers. I have hopes to continue writing and teaching throughout my ministry, but at the end of the day, I want to first serve my wife, family, friends, and my local church, committed to radical, ordinary obedience in the same direction over the long haul.


Watch Bryce Langley’s first-place Omark Preaching Competition sermon and see the other Omark award winners.


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