It’s been almost two weeks since the Nashville Fellows Program graduation, and I have learned an important truth in this short time: the Fellows Program never ends. Now you may read that as vexing on my part, but in fact, it is coming from a grateful heart. Understanding how to live out of our God-given calling in the workplace and engage people with Gospel intentionality will be something that I pray never strays from our hearts and minds. I’ll rewind to our graduation night before I jump to far ahead.
The night was surprisingly normal. At least compared to my previous graduations. High school graduation was surrounded by drama and the longing of summer freedom. College graduation was a momentary relief amidst a lot of stress and unknown situations. But the NFP graduation felt like just another gathering of people in the community around a common theme or goal. I say “just another” because we went to several of these events throughout the year, and now we were at one that happened to be about us. Don’t hear me wrong, the night was filled with laughter, happy tears, and the recognition of those who helped us along the way, but it was done with hearts that were not restless but had matured to a sense of readiness to move forward with what God has for each of us.
At first I think the normalcy bothered me, but then it occurred to me that this is exactly what it should be like. Every other graduation is very emotionally charged, because I am ending one part of my life and starting a whole new one. This created the thought that after a “significant” amount of time at one place, it is time to move on to the next. While not all of us are staying in Nashville, and therefore, may not be feeling exactly what I am currently feeling, I think we all walked away with a better understanding to invest in the places and people around which God puts us. This is simply part of a life following Jesus. Life can be exceptionally normal and routine, but that does not have to be a negative thought. Since being out of the NFP, I have interacted with a lot of different people in the “real world” and am finding how pertinent the skills we developed in networking, story-work, community, and the classroom have helped me bring God into every aspect of my life. It is Jesus who makes “normal” life filled with excitement and adventure.
As I think more on it now, I think our graduation could have been more aptly named a commission. Every graduation has a sense of commission to it, but this had a different taste to me. Scotty Smith beckoned us to continue to engage our hearts and minds to the Gospel through a video message he recorded. Scott Sauls so eloquently encouraged and cautioned us in our gifts as we carry the Gospel with us vocationally. Every part of the night reminded us that what we had learned this year was not a lofty ideal but an exceptionally practical worldview that could change our culture for God’s Kingdom.
And because I had the privilege to intentionally walk alongside this group of men and women, I can confidently say that we will probably have some of the most exciting “normal” lives our generation has witnessed, as we run after Jesus in everything we do.