This past Sunday, we had our grad recognition lunch in the grove where we typically host the pumpkin patch. This was a special group for me. For JCPC, they are one of the largest graduating classes in memory and for the next few years to come. But more than that, they've been involved. Involved serving JCPC as leaders, involved in the community, and involved supporting each other. I asked them a few questions, raising their hands in the affirmative. How many had attended Great Escape? Montreat? Mission Trip? Lock-ins? Nearly all. How many had me or another youth come support them at an extracurricular? Fencing? Plays? Color guard? Band? Soccer? Robotics? Concerts? Graduations? All. How many had attended someone else's events to support them? All. How many have served on the nominating committee? Two. Session? One. This class has been taught to serve their church and one another.
I think they were proud to look around and see those hands, to raise theirs. I certainly was. I know their parents are. And I hope you are too. This is the group that was starting high school when I started my call here in August four years ago. This was the group born the year Jessica and I graduated high school, the year two airplanes in NY and one in Pennsylvania changed the world forever. It changed the course of our senior year and our lives and all we imagined. And these young people have had their senior years and their lives changed too. But because their first steps, their first answered calls have been to serve our church and faith family, to serve one another, as the Disciples did, I know their next steps will change the world.
Like those disciples, their calling will be more challenging than they first imagined for their lives. Their course is redirected, their purposes more full of meaning. Their lives will be harder for being trained to seek to serve those in need first, rather than themselves. The world will tell them what to want, what to pursue, what to be, what to learn, how to spend their time and and money and resources, who to love and who to leave out. But you and I have taught them the Way. This means they'll need to find new communities of faith, new friends and mentors, and call upon us for support in the years ahead, but it means they're more likely to change this world for the better and make us very proud. So when they come home from college and work and their new callings, don't ask them about grades and courses and internships and employment. Ask them what they are doing to nurture their faith and serve God's people. I hope and imagine it'll inspire you.
Note: If you'd like to see the Class of 2020 Senior Video of JCPC Youth with their baby photos, senior photos, and more, click here... https://youtu.be/F3ponRaJuJ0