Recently Bethel’s marketing and communications office finished some foundational marketing efforts that eventually led to some creative messaging. We believe this message mirrors the essence of who Bethel College is. That message is “Spirited Connections.” President Steven Cramer, Ph.D., (’75) explains the importance behind the messaging and what that means for Bethel College.

Why is sending a clear message important?

Well, for years I’ve heard people say to me that Bethel is the best-kept secret in Mishawaka and the region. Unfortunately that still is somewhat true, and I’ve always wanted to change that perception. What this does for us is, it gives us a concise message to rally around so we all have a clear and accurate way to talk about Bethel. I believe having one clear message will bring value and strength to our identity and more quickly bring us to the forefront of people’s minds.

What does this mean for Bethel?

The college motto is still “Forward, with Christ at the Helm,” but the "Spirited Connections” theme for our communication efforts will help us express what that means as it is lived out at Bethel College.

First, I want everyone to know this doesn’t change who we are. We are still a Christ-centered institution with a spirited (Spirit-led) community of engaged learners who want to serve. But this message does help us better articulate who we are to those around us. In addition, most colleges refresh their messaging every three to five years. This is the first time that I am aware of that Bethel has ever launched a message — a theme that incorporates the whole of what the college is about for marketing purposes. As a college, I think this is going to help propel Bethel forward in shedding the “best-kept secret” label.

Why did you choose “Spirited Connections?”

Once I heard the meaning behind it and saw examples of how it would be used in copy, that it would be used to craft succinctly the kind of phrasing that continually points back to our central message, I was sold.

So what is the meaning behind the messaging?

The approach Bethel has always taken is that the pursuit of truth in academics does not function in isolation. All truth is God’s truth. It’s all connected. We know that Christ holds everything together (Col. 1:17). So to reflect that, there will be three attributes of Bethel you will see examples of and hear about often. These are grounded in the core values of Bethel that support our mission and vision statements. The phrases used to encapsulate those attributes are: a spirited community; real world, real service; and engaged in mind and heart.

If as a school we want to keep moving forward with Christ at the center, how does this fit scripturally?

I mentioned Colossians 1:17 earlier. That verse talks about the supremacy of Christ. “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Jesus connects everything. He connects us. You will most likely hear the phrase, “Bethel College is the ground for Spirited Connections.” This phrase reminds us of Exodus 3:4-5 where Moses saw the burning bush and encountered God. We believe that at Bethel — like Moses — you can encounter God.

How do you hope others will respond to “Spirited Connections?”

I hope they will see what I saw when we chose this message. That regardless of our individual cultures or academic pursuits, we are all connected because of Christ. At Bethel, students can experience a “spirited community” where they can engage the mind and heart in their study. So that when they graduate, they will be so well prepared academically, and so on fire spiritually, and so possessed of a servant’s heart, they can lead in serving others no matter what career they choose or where God leads them.

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