Bethel Focus


In unique, unexpected ways, Bethel alumni, students, faculty, and staff live out a core value to be world-changers and expand His kingdom by letting God's Positioning System lead them across the globe.

Winter 2009 | by Heather Johnson

Great Wall of China

Many in the Bethel community have packed their bags with little more than their passport, a toothbrush, and a nudging from the Holy Spirit. They leave for a mission trip, study abroad program, or job, not knowing what lies ahead. They return knowing much more about God—that He is larger than they ever realized before. They come to see and understand that He is the God of people and places thousands of miles from home and Bethel. They also return committed to changing this bigger world, and set out to do just that in an amazing variety of ways.

This transformation is what Bethel is all about, says President Jay Barnes. “We are in the business of training and equipping adventurous Christ-followers who bring salt and light to the ends of the earth,” he says.

On average, some 100 Bethel undergrad students study abroad each semester. More than 300 students participate in the interim abroad courses offered during January. This number has increased dramatically through the past few years. In 1995, Bethel sent only about 40 students abroad each semester, and 50 each interim.

“We have grown significantly, and now Bethel stands as a prominent leader for its study abroad programs among other Christian institutions,” says Vincent Peters, associate dean for off-campus programs and international studies. “In the current geo-political and inter-connected landscape, no formal education is complete without having a global component embedded in the curriculum and the opportunity for students to experience the world firsthand.”

But Bethel’s global ministry goes beyond what students accomplish. Many Bethel alumni move to work or do ministry abroad. In fact, the growing desire to be of global influence has caused some majors—such as nursing—to expand in capacity and emphasis the past few years, as students want to take their education to countries needing better healthcare. Also, current adult learners within the College of Adult & Professional Studies/Graduate School are doing their course work, and sometimes even research for their dissertations, in other countries.

Travel across the globe with us as members of the Bethel community share first-hand accounts of what God is doing within them, and through them.

Kristen Jorgenson with a baby in Uganda Healthcare in Uganda Bryce Bohne playing soccer in Nigeria Education in Nigeria
Karen H. Tangen in India Business in India Karen Klett in South Africa Reconciliation in South Africa
God's Positioning System - Iraq Influence in Iraq