Welton Bonner (’17) – a two-time graduate of LBC | Capital and current doctoral student in our PhD in biblical studies program at the college – never expected to attend a Bible college. As a teen, Bonner aspired to live the wild, extravagant lifestyle that the rappers who he idolized. “I never thought in a million years I would go to a Bible college,” said Bonner, who currently serves as the youth and young adult minister at Great Love Church in Washington D.C. “My dad had graduated from one, and because I was rebellious like the prodigal’s son, I refused to be anything like my father. I did not want to be restricted by the laws of God. I wanted to be a legendary rapper, dedicated to wild living.”
Bonner’s rebellion escalated. “It landed me in jail four different times, got me kicked out of the house, made me drop out of high school and I was constantly in altercations with neighborhood gangs,” he explained. But all the while, God kept pursing him – and Bonner felt it. “While I was in jail the fourth time for a short stint, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the power of the gospel,” he explained. “I came out (after a brief stay) a changed man, graduated from high school and enrolled in community college.” Later, under the guidance of his uncle, he enrolled in Washington Bible College, and when it closed its doors, he came to Lancaster Bible College. It was there that his passion for ministry grew.
As an undergraduate student at the college’s Lancaster campus, Bonner studied pastoral ministry and he loved it. According to him, the lessons he learned in the classroom and through his relationships with professor and classmates shaped his outlook on ministry. “I know it sounds cliché, but my education is really the foundation of my ministry,” he expressed earnestly. “The biblical and theological components of my education come out in everything I do in ministry, from spiritual guidance, visitations, leading worship services, and preaching, to budget meetings, fundraising and leading summer camps.”
Bonner says that his education at LBC | Capital has helped him to think critically – an important skill for anyone in ministry. “God has used my education at LBC to challenge me to see as many sides as possible of every argument, so that I can make well informed conclusions,” he stated. “This applies to my academic studies, but also to situations in life as well. It has challenged me to think hard and long about multiple perspectives, so much so that I could argue an opposing view as well as someone representing it could. It has challenged me to keep reading and keep studying. I never want to be complacent in regards to loving God with my mind. Instead, I want to become deeper and deeper in wisdom and understanding.”