Every August reminds me of beginnings. My “beginning” happened in August. I’ve had 60 reminders of that birthday. I remember a few and have forgotten the rest. One of the most memorable was courtesy of a loving wife, a convertible Mustang, the Beach Boys, and some good friends. I wrote about my 47th birthday in Answers for Chicken Little.
The other August beginning was school. From first grade at Kennedy Elementary through a Master of Divinity degree at Nazarene Theological Seminary, I booked-up every August and headed off to learn. Then we had kids and we booked-them-up with all their school supplies and sent them to school every August. Then we moved twice to serve congregations located on a college campus and every August students came. They had stars in their eyes and more stuff than their dorm room would hold in their trunk. And now I am a college president and my whole year is spent working toward a successful beginning in August.
Last night I welcomed new freshmen and their parents. I love this ritual of beginning. I always tell the story of gutsy people who created a school 111 years ago in hopes of gifting the world with Christians who were ready, willing, and able to change the world. I tell students to step out of their comfort zone and risk new friends, new thoughts, and a new future. I tell parents how wise and loving they were to finance the Trevecca experience for their child when they could easily have sent them to a cheaper center of hedonism that is the epitome of everything they have taught their children to avoid.
And then we have more fun in a week than most people have in year – cardboard boat races (Denise and I will get very wet), block party on the quad, laser tag in the Convocation Center, Dave Barnes concert on the quad, Paintapalooza (I will be covered in paint), movie night on the quad – yes, we have a great quad. The highlight will be a student-led praise and worship service where miracle stories of God’s goodness and provision are told by students with stars in their eyes and stuff in their trunk. Then we will start classes and stars will be replaced by a panic-like look. Yes, this is college. And we intend to thinking with the best of humans anywhere.
I love August beginnings. In a world that feels like a merry-go-round of the same old dying stuff, it is pure delight to be a place where God is always doing new things. I am blessed.