Thanking God for Bethlehem Seminary

In September, 2009, we admitted the first class in the four-year program of Bethlehem Seminary. Here at the end of the year I want to give public thanks to God and take some of you with me into this vision. Not everybody. But some of you carry a special, God-given burden for the preparation of future generations of God-centered leaders.

Bethlehem has been training future pastors, teachers and missionaries through The Bethlehem Institute for over ten years. That two year program has now become the four-year Bethlehem Seminary. We plan to admit 15 men every year to the seminary. The number will be kept small so that the vision for mentored ministry and church involvement can be sustained.

At the heart of this vision is the invincible God, the infallible Bible, and the indispensible Gospel of Jesus Christ. We want future pastors to be stunned by the greatness of God. And stay stunned by living in the Bible. And spread this amazement to sinners, who qualify through faith alone because of the Gospel.

We want them to love the church. The real live, blemished, blood-bought bride of Christ. So we sink them into ministry while they are here.

I love sitting with these brothers (there will be about 60 at any one time) most Thursdays during the school year just talking about the hundreds of real-life challenges that ministry brings. This personal give-and-take is crucial for us.

I love the ministry of the word. I never get tired of preaching to the same flock. I have been doing it for almost 30 years at Bethlehem. There are things students can learn that let the Bible keep on feeding them and their people year after year in faithful expository preaching. We want to teach those things.

We have now called two new full time faculty, one in Old Testament (Jason DeRouchie) and one in New Testament (announcement coming soon).

They call me the Chancellor! It sounds incredibly overblown to me. But Tim Tomlinson is the President, so that title (and job!) is well-taken. And Tom Steller is already an incredibly gifted teacher and dean. And I have more responsibility than teaching. So there you have it: Chancellor.

I am eager to give the last chapter of my life to this vision, as long as God gives me breath and a clear head.

Whoever of you would like to stay in touch with us and follow the news of the new school you can sign up for email updates.

We would love your prayers for this new venture. May God use it long after we are gone. If God puts it in your heart, we would be very happy for you to be part of our prayer support.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.