Welcome, and please be seated.
Thank you for participating in this service of worship and celebration, honoring the Free Lutheran Bible College and Seminary classes of 2020 and 2021. The Free Lutheran Bible College and Seminary exists to establish students in the eternal and inerrant word of God, for a life of faith in Jesus Christ and faithful service in His kingdom. We gather around this mission with a particular sense of victory and thanksgiving:
- To our graduates, congratulations.
- To family, friends, alumni, and loved ones, welcome.
- To faculty, staff, and administration, well done.
- To our Lord Jesus Christ, may your name be praised.
Hear the word of the Lord from Psalm 109:26-27 (ESV): “Help me, O LORD my God! Save me according to your steadfast love! Let them know that this is your hand; you, O LORD, have done it!”
God has saved us according to His steadfast love, and this year we have seen His hand. Our LORD has done it!
Addressing, now, four groups in one word each:
To the FLS class of 2020– Plentiful. How many pastors do we need in the AFLC? More. Pastors are like clamps to a carpenter– one can never have enough. It is good to pray for God to “send forth laborers into the harvest,” though God never applied that solely to pastors. There is no shortcut to pastoral training, and there is never enough time to train. Our quest for quantity tempts us to compromise quality. But in the class of 2020 God provided for the AFLC both quality and quantity. You are an answer to our prayers to the Living God, who has given us great plenty.
To the FLS class of 2021– Pastors. You have learned, in class, in daily life with each other, and now in a year-long congregational internship to “shepherd the flock of God that is among you.” God taught you this in a year when gathering together was more difficult than ever, and our congregations and communities experienced unnatural division and strife. What you learned in these past years has prepared you for pastoral ministry. You became great pastors.
To the FLBC class of 2020– Providence. You did not choose the spring semester of 2020; the spring semester of 2020 chose you. Many of you made the most of pain and uncertainty, writing papers for my Apologetics and Christian Thought class that reflected lessons learned that I could never have taught you in the classroom alone. You tasted God’s provision– His providence. You enjoy great providence.
To the FLBC class of 2021– Perseverance. I will always remember your class as the reason FLBC thrived through this season. Your class faced continual disappointment with grace. When you were tempted to dwell on what you had missed, you returned again and again to God’s call for you to be here, now– a realization that takes maturity that surpasses your age. You made it a joy for all of us to lead and serve. God has used you to set the table for a great feast that lies ahead. You model great perseverance.
And finally, a word to one more group– the FLBC class of 2022– Potential. In sports, “potential” means you have not done it yet. In Christ, “potential” means you have not seen it yet. In a year sure to be fraught with uncertainty, you chose to invest in the potential for great spiritual growth through a season of societal hardship and upheaval. You chose your hardship wisely and have benefited accordingly. You will also experience a contrast next year, and embracing that opportunity will teach you once again that God never wastes a hurt. I can’t wait to watch God write the next chapter of your lives. You have great potential.
Invocation– And now we begin this service in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Opening Prayer– ex corde