Goal Five: TRANSFORM Purposely
Goal Five: TRANSFORM Purposely
“Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)”
The overarching goal of Christian education is transformation. This process is not limited to the students’ experience, but should become part of the university community’s experience at all its locations. Strengthening the spiritual core of the university is essential to our service to students. When we honor God in our work, he honors our community with his presence.
Each year for the last three years, Fresno Pacific University has graduated over a thousand students between its winter and spring commencement ceremonies. Most of these students have spent two to four years in one of our five learning communities. As I look out from the graduation podium at the hundreds of students and the thousands of visitors who have come to experience the commencement, I ask myself how much of Jesus is manifested in their years with us. I wonder, have they heard or seen him in the classroom and in interactions with staff and faculty outside the classroom? I also wonder, has our transformative environment been effective in honoring the name of Christ?
These are men and women who come from many religious backgrounds and cultures. They come to a Christian university with different expectations. Their main goal is to prepare for the future. They come with doubts and fears and the usual baggage that is seldom spoken; but we are a hope, a dream and a possibility for deliverance from these weights they carry.
We assume this graduating class experienced Christ through the classroom, where the integration of faith and learning is wisdom manifested in teaching. We assume they experienced caring from staff because the atmosphere is filled with love, peace, joy, patience and kindness. We also hope they experienced the glory of Jesus’ presence in fellowship with a diverse group of people maturing in cultural competence.
These moments during commencement cause me to pray and repent if any student who is about to receive a diploma leaves us without the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They may have taken the required courses, but have they seen this life manifested in other students or those of us called to serve them? As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church: “We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our flesh.”
The Good News of Jesus Christ is transformative. Those who enter a fellowship of believers as we have throughout our five locations must experience this life that comes from God. We are not here just to provide knowledge for the head, but equally wisdom for the heart. A wisdom that draws students to cherish the presence of God, encourages them to live and love his word, and engages them in service that extends the influence of the Kingdom of God.
I trust that each day that we as a community of faith, a transformative community, continue to stand in the gap and pray for those who come to us with purpose for transformation. And that during this process of implantation they will discover the possibilities for their lives in Christ Jesus our Lord.