On June 10, I gave the invocation at the Fuller Seminary Sacramento commencement. As part of this, I was asked to add a few thoughts on the topic of education at Fuller. 

Here’s what I had to say:

In Matthew 25, Jesus gives this command to his followers:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Make disciples. What is a disciple?  Someone who understands and lives the teachings.

How do we make disciples? We learn, we teach, we reflect our salvation in Christ in a transformative way, so that in the power of the Spirit we are growing in Christ as a community in this world.

That has, then, been a key goal for the church since its beginning. Learning, teaching, enacting.

Very early in the church’s history, leaders realized the need for formal training, to teach those who were missionaries, ministers, teachers. Those who are sent out into the community, throughout the world, need training, so that they could train—could disciple–others. Education has thus always been a major part of the mission of the Church, an education that is not only learned but also lived.

In 1947, a group of Evangelists, pastors and scholars established Fuller Seminary to help continue this mission. Founded as the flagship institution for the new movement of Evangelicals, Fuller has trained men and women to serve as ministers, teacher, missionaries, and many other roles.  Alumni have gone all over the world to make disciples.  You are now part of this spreading story. 13528238_1193350570688948_1226412045210159905_o

Our goal at Fuller was not to teach you everything, that’s impossible to do in a ten week quarter, and too hard to do even in a small number of years.  Our goal was to initiate learning about our historic faith, to teach you about Father, Son, and Spirit, about Scripture, about the history of the Church, about how we can best use our gifts and calling in service to this church and God’s mission in this world.

Fuller comes alongside men and women who have been called to ministry, some vocationally, many not, to help propel their—your—calling forward. As teachers our goal is to introduce you to the depths and breadth of our faith so that you can then continue this work in your setting, wherever God calls you. And now, having done what we can do, we celebrate your accomplishment of graduation.

Though you are now finished with your classes, this graduation is really a new beginning. This mission of the church, this mission of Fuller, continues to carry on in the mission in your life. This mission is to continue to learn what we introduced here, continue to teach what you have learned to others, continue enact in your life and your context the life that Christ calls us to live.  Go and make disciples.

Let us celebrate this beginning, praising God for what he has done in your life, what he is doing in your life, and what he will do in your life as the Spirit continues to do a good work in making disciples here in the Sacramento area and throughout the world.

Let us celebrate with great hope because Christ is indeed with us, to the end of the age.

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