There was no way I could have known twenty years ago, when we welcomed the first group of students to West Coast Baptist College, what a joy it would be years down the road to see WCBC graduates serving the Lord in fruitful ministry.
It seems now that wherever I travel to preach (including mission fields), I’m either preaching for or meeting up with WCBC alumni who are faithfully serving the Lord in that area. I so appreciate the labor of our graduates and the spirit with which they serve. It is a thrill to hear—whether in person or via written updates—what the Lord is allowing them to accomplish for Him.
In today’s twentieth commencement exercises, we welcome some two hundred new graduates to the ranks of our alumni, including the two thousandth WCBC graduate. In just a few short weeks, this graduating class will be scattered around the world spreading the gospel of Christ.
In a college chapel service several weeks ago, I shared with our students what we pray to see in their lives as they graduate. As I challenged them in the five areas below, I thought of so many our alumni. I thank the Lord for these distinctions that I see in their lives and ministries:
A Distinctive Commitment
The ministry is work. It is a high and holy calling, and it requires absolute commitment. I pray for our WCBC graduates to have a determined tenacity that remains faithful regardless of the difficulties or distractions.
And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.—Luke 9:62
A Distinctive Integrity
God’s choice servants are holy servants. In the words of Robert Murray M’Cheyne, “In great measure, according to the purity and perfections of the instrument will be the success….A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.”
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.—2 Timothy 2:20-21
A Distinctive Compassion
Although there are many facets of ministry, there is one core mission—the Great Commission. Winning souls and discipling new believers must remain the focus of biblical, Christ-like local church ministry. At WCBC, students learn that we believe soulwinning is “the main thing,” and we pray our graduates keep this central in their priorities.
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.—Matthew 9:36
A Distinctive Position
The church is the pillar and ground of the truth, and we are called to contend for the faith. Our forefathers gave their lives for the biblical truths that are Baptist distinctives. We must hold fast to sound, biblical doctrine.
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.—2 Timothy 4:2
A Distinctive Ministry
Not only should our doctrinal position be distinctive, but our daily practices should be as well. We are commanded to come out from the world and be separate. Our lifestyle should reflect the holiness of God.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,—2 Corinthians 6:17
To our alumni: I want you to know that I thank the Lord for your faithfulness in these areas, and I pray for you as you continue to labor in His harvest field.