Reflections by Dr. Teston
A Fellowship Christian School Blog
Dear Fellowship Family,
Today marks the conclusion of our Rooted series. I have enjoyed sharing what we, the faculty and staff of Fellowship, hope to impress upon your children. In pursuit of our vision to inspire students who live with purpose and lead with intent for God's glory alone, our steadfast desire is to help mold students who reflect Christ as Truth Seekers, Image Bearers, Bridge Builders, Servant Leaders, Creative Thinkers, and ultimately, Kingdom Influencers.
This brings me to the final character trait in our Portrait of a Graduate. We pray that God will provide opportunities for us to create Kingdom Influencers who aspire to live a life that impacts the kingdom of God by reflecting Christ's love and character. Matthew records some of Jesus' final words to His disciples in chapter 28, verses 19-20. He said, "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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." We know this as the Great Commission.
God has chosen us to play a part in His great story. We're actually a part of His plan because He has commissioned us to be Kingdom Influencers. We have the privilege – and responsibility – to expand His kingdom and to make disciples for Jesus.
Our longing is for every Fellowship student and graduate to develop a deep, personal relationship with Christ and influence others for God's kingdom. However, I would like to share some sobering research with you. In recent years, much has been written about the "dropout" of young adults from the church. Depending on your source, estimations state that roughly 40-70% of young adults leave the church after high school. In You Lost Me, David Kinnaman writes, "The dropout problem touches countless students, parents, and faith leaders, but many of these have only a vague grasp of what, exactly, the dropout phenomenon is. The first step in the discovery process is to understand two simple facts: Teenagers are some of the most religiously active Americans. American twentysomethings are the least religiously active."
We could read this and say, "Well, we tried. We had a few good years and did the best we could while they were under our roof. We chose to put them in a Christian school. What more could we have done?" Even with this research and data, all hope is not lost. We serve a sovereign God who reigns supreme over all, and His hand cannot be stayed nor His plans thwarted. He intends for ALL of us to be Kingdom Influencers – that begins at home and continues with us as your partners. As Christ followers, we're to be the sweet essence of Jesus to our children, each other, and those who haven't yet met Him.
Interestingly, in his more recent book, Faith for Exiles: 5 Ways for a New Generation to Follow Jesus in Digital Babylon, Mr. Kinnaman offered a bit of encouragement. "In our qualitative interviews, we discovered that people don't learn to follow Jesus simply by having lots of great head knowledge about Him (although having the right beliefs matters, as we'll see). Experiencing Jesus is found along a relational pathway with family, friends, and other people who love and experience Jesus. We are loved into loving Jesus."
Fellowship community, we are the family, friends, and others who your children will experience Jesus through. Let's root ourselves in God's Word. Let's commit to praying that He opens the eyes and hearts of these students. Let's allow the weight of Jesus' sacrifice and the merciful forgiveness of our sins to wash over us and, with gratitude, be compelled to share the Good News with others. Let's reflect the character of Christ by loving others into loving Jesus.
Before you depart for the weekend, I hope to see you at Homecoming tonight as we welcome back our alumni who are undoubtedly carrying out the Great Commission as Kingdom Influencers in their homes, workplaces, and communities.
Humbled to serve you,
Dr. Kathryn M. Teston
Click to see more blog posts from Dr. Teston.
Dr. Kathryn M. Teston