Twenty-two years ago, I sat in Ashley Auditorium with the rest of the incoming freshman. President Richard Kriegbaum came in and asked us two questions which calmed my fears about college:
First, he asked, “How many of you are nervous or wondering about how you’re going to pay for college?” Almost all of us raised our hands. Then he asked, “How many of you think God is worrying about how you’re going to pay for college?” That was the moment I realized, God isn’t worried and I shouldn’t be, either.
I distinctly remember feeling a sense of peace. I didn’t doubt Fresno Pacific College (as we were known at the time) was the place the Lord had for me, but I had worried about how I’d get through college. Now I just felt excited and nervous. The next years were filled with challenges and I was stretched in ways I couldn’t have imagined, but the feelings I had in this one pivotal moment stayed with me.
Now, here we are as an institution with a new leader and I have similar feelings of peace, excitement and nervousness. I have peace that Joseph Jones is the leader FPU needs and it’s clear in hearing him speak and write that he feels called to this role—I don’t doubt it in the least. I’m excited because in the years to come there will no doubt be many challenges; seen and unforeseen, internal and external. We will be tested and pushed in directions we didn’t anticipate. Programs may end, new programs may begin and we need to remain nimble to stay viable and fulfill our mission. We must also be willing to ask and answer each other’s tough questions if we expect to get better as an institution. This kind of activity gets me excited.
The only thing that does makes me nervous is, what if we don’t have those conversations? I worry that we will be too timid or too entrenched in our “always how it’s been” mindset to move out of our comfort zone. Change will come. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather be doing the changing than having the change happen to me.
We are blessed to have a new leader who supports and is committed to the mission and vision of FPU. We have many years ahead with Dr. Joe, as he likes to be called, as our president. We have challenges, but we also have a choice: to make a new commitment to FPU and to its mission and vision, or to fall back into comfortable patterns. I believe this choice is especially important for my fellow staff members—as it says in Romans 8:28: “and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
I hope and pray you’ll join me in recommitting and looking forward to the guidance of our new servant-leader.