When I first read about what BSSM’s First and Second Year programs were all about, I thought, I wish I could skip straight to Second Year. I know a few people who need to get their identities worked out and First Year would be good for them, but I’d be a lot more interested in the leadership year. I know who I am and I know I’m a leader, but I think I could learn a lot more about leadership.
First Year at BSSM focuses on identity, while Second Year focuses on leadership. Though I knew instinctively that Bethel made no exceptions and didn’t let people skip First Year, Second Year was the one that captured my interest more.
As Steve Backlund would say, “Let’s just laugh at that!”
Turns out, the joke was on me.
Yes, I did know who I was. I’d taken every personality test out there and I was quite self-aware. That was true. And, yes, there was plenty of room for me to grow in the area of leadership. That was also true.
But here’s how it actually turned out: I loved First Year, and it grew me a lot. I struggled more with Second Year, the part I thought would be most relevant for me. Both were good, but neither looked how I expected.
One month into Second Year, the workload multiplied and I realized it was going to be a lot more challenging than the previous year.
Two months into Second Year, I was wishing I could go back to the format of First Year. I missed the ease, the lower expectations of us as students, and all the prophetic words.
Three months into Second Year, I felt the need to revisit identity. I was beginning to feel insecure as a leader compared to others, and I could feel certain things holding me back from stepping into areas God has called me to. Certain things that all revolved around my beliefs about myself…AKA my identity.
I was not entirely inexperienced when it came to either area of focus – identity or leadership – before coming to BSSM. Not according to my natural mind, at least. As I said, I’d devoured every personality test I could get my hands on, which had increased my awareness of my identity.
I also went to a Christian college where servant leadership was a primary focus. I’ve been to countless leadership conferences. I’ve read John Maxwell books. I’ve taken on leadership roles at church.
But when it came to the supernatural aspects of either area? I had a lot to learn.
I had barely been prophesied over before First Year. I knew many of my gifts and callings, but only identified with the ones I felt “good at.”
And I had no training for how to be a supernatural leader. Just a skilled one or a godly one. Not a Holy-Spirit-driven one.
I expected to be mostly surrounded by a crowd of 18-year-olds. There were some of those, for sure. There were also pastors with decades of preaching experience, people with masters’ degrees, and PhDs. Young and old. Educated and uneducated. Americans and international students. Free spirits and Type A people like me. Every one of us still had things to learn, even though many of my classmates would’ve been more than qualified to teach at BSSM in their individual areas of expertise.
It wasn’t what I expected. It was more. It was deeper. It was harder – not academically, but emotionally and spiritually. It was not as scary. It wasn’t as weird as I feared. 😉 It was challenging, but in a good way.
It wasn’t what I expected; it was better.
Go. If you’re even slightly entertaining the idea, go. I can’t think of a single person who wouldn’t benefit, except maybe the critic. You’ll probably find what you expect.
Reality turned out to be quite different than my expectations. My reality was also changed forever. I know all kinds of organizations claim to provide life-changing experiences, but BSSM is one that actually does. Both years taught me so much. I’ll never be the same.
And, as usual, God had the last laugh. 😊