What would life be if we could not do it together? What would ministry be if we could not do it together? The Apostle Paul tells us in I Corinthians 12:14, “Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many.” And what would our lives, or ministry be like if we tried to do things on our own. We are only as effective as a ministry, and in living our life, in that we do it together.

I think that one of the dangerous mentalities in so many ministries is the desire or thought that one must do it alone. There are a bunch of lone rangers without much of a community around them that they can journey with. And I’m sure the reasons vary: Maybe there is no one to journey with you; maybe you are a perfectionist and want things to only look how you want them to look; or maybe you want to get the glory and think that you can do the job better yourself, therefore not allowing others in on the journey.

We are all get of some of these things. But once I was able to grasp the idea of progression from stage to stage, and the notion that good leadership is horizontal leadership that involves everyone, I was much better able to appreciate the journeying aspect of ministry. I by no means have these things down. Sometimes I want to do things on my own, and I want to be a dictator in my own little kingdom.

But I have had the privilege these last three years of being able to come alongside with my students as we journey together in ministry. And as we have journeyed together we have learned much more about what it means to fail together; what it means to succeed together; what it means to laugh and cry and grieve and rejoice. And we have learned what it means to trust. To be in relationship with one another, knowing that each one of us is playing a vital function in the body of Christ. I may be the director and the one who has to make decisions that they cannot, but it is something we do together. It is something that we do as we consider the health of each member and the whole of the body.

I believe that any good leader is one who leads within. It is the shepherd who leads the sheep, but he does it within the flock. He sets the pace and the tone, but he journeys with the people, never above or beyond them. Some may say..well, then you are not a good leader, because you are not out front setting the pace. But I think that is too simplistic. Good leadership is journeying with those that you are in community with, where you are not too afraid to show weaknesses as well as strengths.

I am not saying I have this quality or that I do this right, but it is something I strive to be. I do not echo the sentiments of those leaders who think they must be totally separate from their people…not see the same movies…not think the same thoughts. In a generation that is hungering for authenticity and truth from its leadership, I hope that all of us can learn to lead within the community and not set ourselves above it.

So to you seniors, class of 2005, whom I have had the privilege of journeying with, this letter is for you. We came in to this ministry together, you as freshmen, me as an intern. We have journeyed together, and it has been amazing. And now we end our journey together in one sense, but it will continue on in new ways. Thank you……

To the Quest Senior class of 2005:

Seniors. You will always hold a special place in my heart. You may be thinking to yourself, yeah right, but it’s true. You are the first class that I have witnessed coming in as freshmen, and leaving four years later as a senior. We have been fellow traveling companions these last four years, and we have come a long way together. You saw me arrive as a seminary intern in 2001, and were probably even a little more shocked when I became the new college director in 2002. But I thank you for your grace…your patience…your love…and especially your sense of humor. Especially when I did not know what I was doing, and was prone to mistakes.

I tell most everyone that I meet that I have the best job around. Who else has the amazing vocation of working day in and day out with some of the most amazing people. We have been through a lot together as well. You have seen me go from a young 26 year old man who was crazy about women, and who was hanging out all hours of the night with you. But hopefully you have watched me fumble my way through life as I’m learning to know what it means to be a 30 year old man who is soon to be a husband, and hopefully someday a dad. And I have had the privilege of watching you all come in as wide-eyed freshmen, not quite sure what to do with yourselves, but I have seen you grow year by year into amazing young men and women who love God, and who I am privileged to call a friend.

As I said at the top. You will always hold a dear place in my heart. Many of you are like family to me, and we have had the joy of sharing life together. Guys: You remind me of my younger brother, except for the poker, the streaking, the undie runs, mafia, and the, “would you like to go to coffee” pick up line. But for the most part, you remind me of my brother, and you never fail to make me laugh. There were many times I tried not to laugh at some of the things, but I could barely hold it in. Girls: Many of you have been like a little sister to me. As I watch you date I think to myself what it would have been like to have a little sister: a) I either want to beat the guy up who comes to the door or b) I am excited because I know the guy has found an amazing girl. So though we may not actually be brothers and sisters by birth, you are a part of my family, and we are definitely brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ.

There are many other things I would like to say, but I’m going to try and keep it short and end it here, which is hard for me. But let me leave you with a couple of things. A verse, and a poem. First, the verse: Paul to the younger Timothy in I Timothy 4:12-13. “Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” Seniors, I have no doubt you will continue to set this example as you have so beautifully done here.

Second, a poem. And though it was written for the poet’s father on his deathbed it is the challenge I want to give you.


Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Seniors, go out into that night, and rage against the dying of the light, and bring the light that you have been into this world that needs it.

I love you guys and gals,