by Adam Kronberger / Superintendent
I recently sat in on a discussion with 30 teenage students from CCS and an adult speaker. Students’ hands were raised high in the air, sometimes for minutes on end, waiting for their chance to ask a question or give a remark. Throughout the 90-minute meeting, students were on the edge of their seat listening intently, their minds actively at work. While you might think I was sitting in one of our own classrooms, you might be surprised and excited with the environment we were in.
The students were visiting with the Interim Pastor of the local Unity of Salem Church. The beliefs of the church are relative, undefined, and clearly incompatible with the Christian faith on numerous points. As dialogue began, the students were quick to identify the inconsistencies presented by the speaker. Any apologetics professor would have been proud as the students exercised their minds through debate. Students politely, yet eagerly, bounced in their seats with hands raised ready to expose illogical thought in light of the truths of creation, the fall, and the redemption of the gospel.
But then a strange thing happened. I believe the sincerity of the students, combined with their politeness and graciousness encouraged transparency in the speaker. She pointed out that not only was she confused about her beliefs, but a recent diagnosis of terminal cancer had her feeling hopeless. As the conversation continued, much of the tone from the students adjusted. While the eagerness remained, the original purpose of winning an important argument was replaced by the infinitely more important concern with the minister’s soul. While the discourse about truth remained intense, an atmosphere of concern and even love grew as did our relationship with her.
This month students will be focusing on the character trait of discretion. Ultimately, discretion is avoiding unwise decisions to show love for others. The teenage students who had this conversation during their recent Mission Adventures were given the opportunity to demonstrate discretion. Instead of focusing simply on truth, students realized the importance of love. Many of them decided to adjust their tone and strategy as they became more aware and considerate of the other person and their circumstances. Truth without love often rings hollow. But truth with love is a reflection of Jesus.
One of the most exciting elements of this experience was how students began transferring the truth of the Bible from Sunday School or their parents’ living room to their individual hearts. Every parent desires their child to develop an authentic faith of their own that transcends their current environments. One of the key components of the school’s mission of discipleship is guiding students through engaging the world they live in with the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
While the interim minister did not receive Jesus that day, she certainly met 30 passionate Christian teenagers. These teenagers are not robots, reciting memory verses with no understanding. But young men and women applying the truth of their faith through logic, sincerity, and passion. Just about everyone in that room felt the enormous value of that experience, climaxing at the end with multiple prayers for this minister to find what she is looking for... Jesus Christ.
– Adam Kronberger / Superintendent