On August 25, 1982, the Deacon Council approved the following “Guidelines for Ministerial Care under the Deacons of Bethlehem Baptist Church.” Those of you who sense God’s call to vocational Christian ministry, who consider Bethlehem your home church, and who are in the midst or near the beginning of your preparation may want to consider “coming under the care of the deacons.”
The purpose of the church is to live for the praise of the glory of God (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14). Since Jesus Christ is God in the flesh and is the mediator of God’s glorious grace, the purpose of the church is to magnify him in life by trusting him and bringing forth the fruit of faith in active obedience (Philippians 1:25). Within the church, God has seen fit to call pastors, teachers, evangelists, and other gifted servants for the upbuilding of his body in this faith and obedience (Ephesians 4:11, 12). Therefore, under the overarching purpose to glorify Christ, the task of the church includes the nurture and training of young people who sense God’s call into such ministry.
One of the aims of the Deacon Council of Bethlehem Baptist Church is to play a significant role in the preparation of our young people for full-time Christian vocations. To this end the Deacon Council will provide ministerial care for the young people of Bethlehem Baptist Church who have sensed God’s call into the ministry and are seeking guidance and counsel and support for their years of preparation.
Candidates who come under the care of the Deacon Council shall be members of Bethlehem Baptist Church in good standing and shall present themselves to the Deacon Council in order to give witness to their personal relationship to Christ and their call to the ministry and their plans for the future. The Deacon Council will then make a decision whether to admit the candidate for ministerial care. In general, candidates for ministerial care will not present themselves to the council before the age of 19.
When the Deacon Council admits a candidate to ministerial care, it commits itself to the young person through the years of preparation in prayer, counsel, regular communications, and occasional financial assistance in conjunction with the Mission Board. If possible, the young person who is under ministerial care will be given opportunities to engage in the various facets of the ministry at Bethlehem.
In all of this support, the Deacon Council will maintain a watchful eye toward the giftedness and spiritual maturity of the candidates with a view to commending them for full-time service, and, when appropriate, for ordination. Through this means we hope to make Bethlehem Baptist Church a seedbed of young ministerial candidates who grow up into strong trees of righteousness which bear fruit in faith and obedience to the glory of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
On September 29, 1982, the Deacons appointed Rollin Erickson as Coordinator for the Ministerial Care.