Wednesday, May 4

Senior Night

Last night was our final Christ on Campus worship service for the 2004-2005 school year. As is our custom, we had a cookout on the lawn and "Senior Night" - a night where those who are graduating get a chance to share what God has done in their lives during their time at the UofA. It is always a special time as students talk about what they have learned and how they have grown and leave words of wisdom for those who are coming after them. There are a lot of laughs and memories, as well as a few tears. It could very well be both my favorite and least favorite night of the year. It is my favorite because we get to celebrate what God has done. It is my least favorite because it means saying good-bye to students who mean so much to me and who have contributed so much to my life.

Every year on Senior Night there is a recurring theme: The importance of community and relationships. As those who are graduating talk about what has made a difference in their lives, the comments almost always come back to the friendships they formed and the community of which they were a part. This community picked them up when they were discouraged and encouraged them when they failed. It stretched them to get out of their comfort zones and serve in sacrificial ways. It held them accountable and provided support when they felt alone. It was the primary method that God used to mold them and teach them and equip them.

I don't think I have ever had someone mention a sermon I have preached. Or a Bible study lesson that they took part in. Though those things are as important to spiritual health as the meals you eat are to physical health, they aren't (most often) the things that touch our lives in the deepest ways. Sometimes we who are "religious professionals" forget that. We forget that the things that most shape the lives of people are not the lessons taught or the facts given, but the relationships formed and the love shared.

"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35
"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17

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