Before You Go

 by Jack Picataggi

     I have been involved with Bible school for a total of 17 years. I first spent two years as a student and later continued on as a teacher, academic dean, and presently serve as the president of Bethany Bible Training Center. Looking back on my various experiences, I can honestly say that everyone, regardless of age, walk of life, or calling, can benefit from a season at Bible school. “Before You Go” has become our slogan for this year’s effort to enroll new students. Whether it means attending before you go off to college, before entering a profession, marriage, or even retirement, time spent at Bible school can help you receive the spiritual foundation you will need for whatever is ahead.  Bethany Bible Training Center is here to help you lay that foundation in your life.


     Let’s look at what the Bible says concerning “before you go.” Scripture tells us that Jesus in sending out His disciples was intentional about their preparation. In Mark 3:13-14 it says that Jesus “went up into a mountain and called near those whom He would. And they came to Him. And He ordained twelve that they should be with him.” We see here that the Lord went to a private place and called the disciples to first come and be with Him before he ever sent them out. If I am to go out and represent someone, doesn’t it make sense that I should know the person I am representing? Doesn’t it also make sense that the better I know that person, the better I can represent them? Of course another benefit in getting to know the Lord before being sent out is that He has the power to change me, to strengthen me, and empower me by His Holy Spirit. Seeing that Jesus first called his disciples to come and be with Him, consider how that calling may apply to your own life.


      Before you go off to college, consider taking some time to become grounded in the Bible and in your personal relationship with the Lord. Statistics tell us that we are losing our Christian youth to the relativistic philosophies being taught in most of our nation’s colleges, and to the intimidating bombardment of godless professors who push the “new” atheism and mock Christians as being close minded, homophobic bigots. The prevalence of immoral behavior in college dorms and the attitude that says “anything goes” is another avenue of spiritual assault that our young people must be prepared for. Many Christian youth who go off to secular college end up shaken in their faith and often abandon the church due to these ungodly influences. So before you go, come and get grounded in the Word of God and in a personal relationship with the Lord and His Holy Spirit. It is through knowing the Lord personally and His word thoroughly that you will be able to stand and be a strong witness for Christ in an environment that is only becoming darker.


     “Before you go” into the marketplace and begin a profession that will shape your future, it is crucial to know the voice of the Holy Spirit. Setting aside time to hear from the Lord concerning who you are to be, what you will do and where you will go will have a significant and lasting impact on your life.


     “Before you go” into marriage may be the difference between a disaster and a wonderful, life-long, productive family that can be an amazing witness to those you come into contact with. There is no better place to meet your mate than in Bible school. You will have sat under the same teaching and shared many experiences together that will help to strengthen your bond in the future. You will understand what the Bible teaches concerning marriage and what the Lord expects of each of you in your role as a godly husband or wife. You will learn what it means to be equally yoked with a mate in a shared vision and calling. For example, a missionary marrying someone who has no desire, intention, or calling to go anywhere outside the United States just because “she’s pretty and I love her,” likely will not last.


     “Before you go” into retirement, consider that the Lord may have other plans for you. We are living longer, healthier lives today and many are making plans to buy that little house by the water and live happily ever after. What if the Lord has an entirely different plan for your life? What if He has a plan to use you as a missionary, or a teacher in a foreign school, or who knows what? Before putting your feet up and “living the dream,” consider taking a year or two off to see if the Lord might have something else in mind. Many retirees go on to serve the Lord in amazing ways that they never dreamed were possible because now that their lives are free, the Lord can send them out.


     If you are approaching one of these life-changing seasons, please consider that maybe the Lord would have you set apart some time for Him, “before you go” ahead with your plans. Also, if you know someone who would benefit from a season set apart for the Lord, encourage them to come as well. Perhaps the Lord has something unexpected for you; you may find yourself in a whole new exciting plan that you had not even considered as a possibility.


     We are living in exciting times. Do not just choose the course of life that everyone is “supposed” to follow, but instead put the Lord first and see what He has planned for you.


     So you see, Bible school is for people of all ages, from every walk of life and calling. Bethany Bible Training Center’s vision is to be a place where one can come into an atmosphere of the presence of the Lord, become grounded in His word, and get to know him personally. This knowing goes beyond learning merely about Him, it’s coming to know Him deeply and personally as Savior, Friend, and Bridegroom. So before you go, come, and be with Him.



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