Seniors from all over the country have begun putting on caps and gowns, receiving diplomas, walking across a platform, and heading into a future that is scary, exciting, and full of plans that will change within just a few years. Parents are proud of their students’ accomplishments and, at the same time, more nervous about their future than the graduates themselves. Ceremonies and grad parties fill our calendars, and we’ll gather with family that we haven’t spoken to in ages. But what is the purpose of all these festivities? What are we celebrating with all the balloons, cake, and tear-filled speeches?
Our culture celebrates graduation for 3 primary reasons:
- It’s a rite of passage toward independence and exploration of personal beliefs
- It’s the first of many rungs on the ladder to success
- It’s the culmination of years of hard work from parents and students
While none of these reasons are inherently wrong, and we should celebrate important milestones in the lives of our children, we can’t miss the opportunity to teach them about the mission of God by giving them the right perspective on this momentous occasion. So how does the gospel turn our personal accomplishments into an opportunity to build Christ’s kingdom and not our own? How does the church celebrate graduates in a way that honors their accomplishments while still keeping God’s mission our primary focus?
Graduates are commissioned, not recognized.
2 Timothy 2:2 and Titus 2 show the process of discipleship. Faithful men and women take the good news and entrust it to others who will then go and share it with others - disciples making disciples. When the graduates stand before the church, it is an opportunity to tell them that they have been entrusted with the gospel by faithful men and women. They now are being commissioned to go onto college campuses and into new workplaces and entrust the message of grace to others also. This is not only a celebration of the graduates, but also of the men and women who have faithfully lived out the great commission within the context of our local church.
We acknowledge that the grace of God brought them here and will sustain them into the future.
Acts 17:26-27 should be a comforting and humbling text for every graduate and their family. God has determined the allotted periods and boundaries of our lives and has put us in certain places at certain times with a very specific purpose. First, this is comforting because we know God is ready for this next stage even if we are not. He has a plan and a purpose for the college you are attending or the work that you are starting. It’s also humbling because it is a reminder of God’s sovereignty in all of our lives. God has directed our footsteps to this point. He has given us the gifts and opportunities that are before us. So graduation cannot be a celebration of ourselves only. It must be a celebration of God’s grace that brought us to this moment and will sustain us in this next phase of life.
So this list of seniors is not just a list of people to applaud. It’s a list of people that we should pray for fervently as they are sent out from us and enter the mission field in different contexts across our city, state, and nation. Let us celebrate the work that God has done in and through His church and pray that His work will continue in these students as they graduate.
Anna Abernathy William Hinson Kasie White
Sydney Allen Carey Horne Michaela White
Bodie Arthur Jessie Johnson Jacob Wiggins
Holden Barlow Daniel Moore Taylor Williams
Savannah Bourgeois Andrew Morgan Jacob Bolin
James Campbell Blake Santiago Kyndall High
Jackson Clark Hannah Stewart Dylan Hogston
Noah Ewing James Stewart Megan Holland
Strat Guy Myers Stewart Kaitlyn Kirby
Justin Helms Alexis Tomlinson Hayley Mauldin
Taylor Hinson Michaela Vensk Madeline Morris
Dalton Santinelli Shelbi Shaut Maddie Walker