by Adam Kronberger / Superintendent
It was my freshman year at Oregon State University and I was away from home for the first time. Practically every day I was learning more about who I really was on the inside, and making decisions about who I would become. I was invited to join a large group of young Christian men for an impromptu Christian retreat at the beach. Some Christian leader in the Corvallis area had thought it a good idea to allow a bunch of young men to enjoy peaceful meditation at his second home. While there was worship and prayer, there was also a lot of crazy and immature activities.
One evening I was in an intense ping pong battle with a fellow roommate. We were in cramped quarters down in the basement. At one point, a lack of coordination and a oversupply of energy directed the heel of my lace-up boots right through the drywall. I stood stunned for a moment, but soon realized I had won the previous point and jumped back into action. With almost practiced skill I was able to ignore and even forget about the damage I caused. The rest of the retreat completed with no further disaster. As we were packing up and heading to our vehicles, I noticed a couple of older college leaders who had arranged the retreat staying behind. Later I learned they took that final afternoon to purchase materials and repair the damaged drywall. They wanted to maintain a healthy friendship with the Corvallis benefactor and leave the place better than we had found it.
The next few weeks were a pivotal time in my life. That particular incident (I still remember it) and others revealed a lack of character in myself that I was not proud of. I was ultimately driven by selfishness. I did not like the person I had become and was determined to change. I was someone who did not take responsibility for his actions or consider others more important than himself. I began to observe others around me who had the character I desperately wanted and began to practice their habits. I began to dig into God’s word and truly understand the practical attributes that a Godly person of character not only demonstrates but authentically possesses.
So often, character and virtue do not blossom without training. Spiritual formation in young people is the result of an investment by others to expose lack of character and then teach Godly character. On the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus presents the Beatitudes (Matthew 5) to describe a heart that is soft and eager enough to become a person of virtue. At the top of the list is having an attitude of being poor in spirit and someone who is mournful over that condition. A turning point in my life was when I developed the awareness that the Fall in the garden impacted me personally. Without Christ, I was a fallen person. But to truly change, I had to want to change. I needed to have sorrow over my condition, and then true spiritual transformation could begin in my life. This community exists to train young people to develop a heart that possesses and practice Godly character.
If you are up for a game a ping pong, give me a call. I promise I will repair any damage I cause.
– Adam Kronberger / Superintendent