One of the greatest joys of my life is training young men and women in the ministry through West Coast Baptist College. It is a privilege to make a joint investment in what parents, home pastors, teachers, and others have already poured into our students’ lives.
It seems that wherever I travel to preach (including foreign mission fields), I am either preaching for or meeting 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.
In just a few short weeks, the graduating class of 2017 will also be scattered around the world spreading the gospel of Christ. In a senior chapel service this past Wednesday, I shared with our seniors what we pray to see in their lives as they graduate. (You can watch a video clip here.) Although not every graduate of any college follows in the tradition they have been taught, I thank the Lord for these commitments I see in the lives of our alumni and their ministries:
1. A Heart for the Saviour
Above all we do in ministry, our greatest decision should be to have a daily walk with God. Listen to His voice and let Him lead and guide you.
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.—Deuteronomy 6:5
2. A Heart for the Spirit-Filled Life
Spiritual ministry requires Spirit-filled leaders. Without the Holy Spirit’s ministry in our lives, we will not properly fulfill the leadership roles in which God has placed us.
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;—Ephesians 5:18
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.—Galatians 5:22–25
Quench not the Spirit.—1 Thessalonians 5:19
3. A Heart for the Scriptures
If you want to be refreshed spiritually and renewed for Christian service, you must be a lifelong student of God’s Word.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.—Colossians 3:16
4. A Heart for Souls
Because winning souls and discipling new believers must remain the focus of New Testament churches, we must keep the Great Commission central in our priorities.
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.—Romans 10:1
5. A Heart to Serve
Biblical leadership is servant leadership. You serve the Lord by serving other people—teenagers, widows, others in your church. Develop the diligence to see needs and take point in meeting them.
For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.—Mark 10:45
6. A Heart for Spiritual Songs
Music is an integral part of worship and edification. It can draw our hearts closer to the Lord and reinforce scriptural truths in our minds, or it can weaken our walk with God and pull our flesh toward the world. Keep spiritual songs at the center of your life and ministry.
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;—Ephesians 5:19
7. A Heart for Separation
Not only should your doctrinal position be distinctive, but your daily practices should be as well. Make sure your ministry and lifestyle reflect the holiness of God.
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.—2 Thessalonians 3:6
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.—Romans 12:1
To our graduating seniors: I am proud of your heart for God and for the joy it has been to invest in your training.
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.