A Morale Boost from Graduates
Since I’m heavily involved in the church we attend, I don’t often get a chance to visit other congregations.
However, an opportunity arose June 2 when I accompanied an author to the church where he once had been an elder and active for 20-plus years for a book signing.
While I didn’t have a role that day, I essentially went along for moral support. What I didn’t bargain on was the boost I would receive for my own morale.
I didn’t know this day the church—a more sizable congregation than ours—would be recognizing recent high school and college graduates. I didn’t keep a close count, but there were more than a dozen overall.
As the pastor recited the collegians’ studies, accomplishments, and plans for the future, I marveled at the varied pursuits these young adults had in mind.
One woman planned to attend a post-college training course to prepare her to start her own funeral home.
Another intends to use the culinary skills and other training she has acquired to start a bakery specializing in gluten-free and low-sugar goodies for those with celiac disease or diabetes (a healthy percentage of our area).
Others planned to go on to medical training, teaching, or other pursuits.
Graduates Exerting Influence
The high school grads were all destined for some kind of further studies, many of them with the benefit of scholarship stipends because of their academic achievements.
Only one talked of his hopes to attend Bible college.
I mention the latter because of the sense I’ve developed over the years that many see pastors and missionaries as some kind of “super Christians” who are God’s chosen people.
You know, the ones who carry a special anointing and are somehow favored above all other believers.
Not only is that not true, but when Jesus gave what many call the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), he delivered it to the so-called laity: the folks who had worked as fishermen, tax collectors, and doctors, and even—gasp!—in politics.
The first disciples were the same kind of people as these young adults who are bound for a working world where they can share their faith, exert an influence for God, and rub shoulders with people who may never set foot inside a church.
Commissioned for Good
I believe this is the church as God designed it, not the “clergy” and “laity” divisions that have developed over the last 2,000 years.
We are all commissioned to be the good news in the world. It may be an old cliché, but it is true that for some, the life of a Christian is the only Bible those outside the church will ever read.
To read further on this point, a good resource is Fingerprint of God, a book I coauthored with Dr. Ron Bryce, which released last fall.
His main contention is that God designed the body of Christ to operate in the same way as the human body.
Namely, on a grassroots level, where the many parts of the body function according to our DNA (found in the Bible) and carry out those instructions.
It is a low-key model, unlike the business approach favored by so many churches, where the pastor functions as the CEO and the elders or deacons represent the board of directors.
While that may have given us large, efficiently-run churches, it hasn’t been too great in changing the direction of our culture or social mores.
I think that will come as we see more young people, like the graduates who were honored at that service, going into the world with faith as an essential element of their identity.
Great words Ken my wife and I also were inspired as you.
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