This week we will celebrate those students who are graduating from High School. This is a tremendous milestone with many reasons to rejoice. This also means you who are graduating or those of you have children who are, will experience a major shift in your life. For myself, college was the place where I became the person I am now and discovered what God was calling me to do. It was at college that I was able to discover my true self, and not have to follow the decisions of others.
You’ve heard me say often that we are all called to ministry and that looks different to each of us. It is just up to us to respond to the gifts and graces that God has given us. Many of you who are graduating will be alone and living away from home for the first time and will realize the new things that you are responsible for. This is a tremendous opportunity. For your church family, the reality is here. We have passed on all we know, we hopefully have raised you in the faith well. It is now up to you to claim it for yourselves.
One of the biggest pieces of advice I have heard for college freshmen is to find community. None of us is made to be alone in this life, for God made us to be in community with one another. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to find your spouse in the first month on campus. One campus minister writes, “There is a temptation when you go to college to feel pressure to “find your significant other.” Because this is ingrained in our minds, thanks Hollywood, freshmen begin dating early in their college days and sacrifice forming a deep community....Instead, get to know people—all kinds of people. Learn to be a good friend to the community you’re in.” I encourage those who are graduating to find a church community and a campus ministry to be a part of, not based on worship preferences or popularity but where you can experience true belonging. True belonging means that it is a place where you are accepted for the person you are, and welcomed into the life of the community. Almost every public university has a Wesley Foundation or Fellowship, which would be an ideal place to experience the love of Jesus similar to that which you had in this church community.
Parents, encourage your children but allow them to discover God and life as they journey ahead. For they will begin to wrestle with faith for themselves which is ultimately the way they claim it for themselves. I encourage you to share and read this article in this link with those who are graduating, as it also has some words of wisdom. (https://www.seedbed.com/10-tips-for-christian- college-freshman/)
Lastly my friends, be open to the movements of grace in your midst, for God will indeed surprise you with strange friendships along the journey. For best of all, God is indeed with all of us!
Christ’s Peace, Will, Ed, and the FUMC Family