It’s again that time of the year to say goodbyes to some of the students who’ve been with us at the church for the past 2 years (or less, while they study at nearby Foothill College) as they move on to 4-year colleges outside of this area. It’s always been a mixed feeling to see them go: you feel like you’ve just gotten to know them well enough to miss them when they leave, but then you’re glad to have seen their growth in such a short time and they’re moving on to a new community to grow even further in their lives.
I remember when I was a college student myself back in Austin, Texas, I became a Christian there and experienced my greatest spiritual growth during that time. The church consisted predominantly of students. A lot of students came through that church. Some stayed 2 years, some stayed 3, some stayed 4, and I happened to have stayed there for 6 years (doing my bachelor’s and master’s). I remember how tough it was to constantly say goodbyes, and I couldn’t imagine how much tougher it was for those “elders” who were at that church for 10+ years to see all these people went there and then left after a few short years. But one thing stuck in mind: they told me they coped with it by thinking of the church as a discipleship factory. I learned so much there, not just spiritually, but also how to be a man. I’m grateful to those elders and mentors, who sometimes still teach me stuff even today when I have a chance to see them.
In the past few years we’ve definitely gotten to know a few youngsters here and bid them farewell as they became young disciples. I hope it continues that way.