As I left Providence Presbyterain for Seminary I received some sage advice:
“Wes, the friends you make in seminary will be the people who you will contact when things go awry in your church. They will be your support no matter where God leads you. So invest in your friendship there, because those will help sustain you in ministry.”
As we celebrate graduation and people begin to see receive and accept calls, I whole heartedly agree with her assessement. Last night we had a slideshow for family and friends to reflect upon our 3 years here. I was laughing to myself that there were only two pictures with folks reading books (Rick and Don for those keeping score). While whatever occurred in Stuart Hall these three years is valuable, I realized–once again–that the true value has occurred in community.
When I was looking for seminary, I was wrestling with going to Gordon-Conwell for its strong Christian community or for Princeton for its ability to stretch me spiritually and academically. Little did I expect to receive both here, and for that Lindsay and I feel blessed.
As was said well last night, the community that is here reflects well what Paul meant by the Body of Christ. We have been able to laugh, celebrate, mourn, support, encourage and pray for each. While this gives me great hope for the how folks will be leaving Princeton to impact particular communities, it does make it hard to leave such a community.
But our missional calling is that we have been called, gathered and equipped here in order that we may be sent for others.