Annual Convocation Celebrates Class of 2022
On Wednesday, August 25 the members of the Class of 2022 gathered in the gymnasium along with their families for the annual Senior Convocation. We look forward to this event each year as it's a time for parents, teachers, and mentors to pray over the students for this coming year and beyond.
This year's event was led by Justan Borth, LCA High School Spiritual Life Director and Dr. Cassondra Koett, LCA High School Principal. They guided the families in prayer along with Lisa Bacon, Director of Curriculum & Instruction and high school teacher, Mrs. Robyn Iler. Special music was provided by the LCA Women's Chamber Choir. The convocation address was given by Dr. Scott Wells, LCA Head of School.
Class of 2022 Senior Convocation Address - Presented by Dr. Scott Wells, LCA Head of School
Good morning, Class of 2021 and families. Thank you for allowing me to speak to you today on this very important occasion.
Every year at this time we gather together to have a convocation for the senior class. But what exactly is a convocation? One dictionary definition stated that a convocation is “the action of calling people together for a large formal assembly.” But I would argue that as a Christian School, we are doing more than simply gathering together. True, there are lots of folks here today, and this is certainly somewhat of a formal event. But I would maintain our gathering together has a more significant purpose, a deeper meaning than simply convening as a group. To those of us who know Jesus as Lord, any gathering should turn into an act of worship.
Jesus said in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” So when you think about it, our convocation is actually a worship service, a time to pray and fellowship together, and a time to draw closer to God. Therefore, my prayer is that the words I say and the meditations of all our hearts will be pleasing to the Lord, who is our Strength and Redeemer.
Our scripture passage of the year is 1 Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” To be honest, we could spend a year unpacking the various parts of this verse. There are so many nuances to what Peter is saying, but today I want to hone in on three important truths contained in this verse that I believe apply to us this year.
First, let’s talk about the phrase “Revere Christ as Lord.” What exactly does the word “revere” mean? To revere is to feel deep respect or admiration for something or someone. Peter tells us to revere Christ as Lord, but how do we do that? How do revere Christ? First and foremost, to revere Christ is to accept him as your Lord and Savior. To revere Christ is to admit through prayer that we are sinners and that only through his shed blood do we have forgiveness and salvation. Until that part of revering Christ is firmly established, nothing else really matters in life. Unless you know for certain that you have accepted Jesus into your heart and have been saved by His grace, then the first part of revering Christ is to pray the sinner’s prayer and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. If you have not done that already, there are lots of people in this room who would love to talk to you about that.
Second, to revere Christ also means that we try to please Him in all we say and do. To revere Christ is to rely on the Holy Spirit for daily guidance and inspiration. To revere Christ is to be involved in a group that holds you accountable for spiritual growth. To revere Christ is to have daily devotions and an active prayer life. Ultimately, to revere Christ is to be transformed by the Holy Spirit to become more like Jesus every day. Romans 12:2 says it best: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Let’s unpack the phrase “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” What was Peter getting at when he wrote that phrase? In short, we need to be able to defend what we believe. To a skeptical and lost world, we need to be able to boldly say that Jesus is THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE and that no one comes to the Father or gets into Heaven without Him and his saving grace. I realize that such a view is not always popular in today’s culture. All you have to do is be on social media for less than thirty seconds to see that there are lots of views on how to live a good life, on how to get to heaven, and so forth. But we believe at LCA that Jesus is the ONLY WAY for salvation.
Preparing to give an answer also involves being able to counter arguments against Christianity. The best way to do this is to immerse yourself in the Bible, to surround yourself by believers, and to actively study ways to rebut false claims about Christianity. LCA helps with this process by embedding scripture and spiritual truths in each classroom and by offering classes such as Apologetics that help us to defend our faith.
Finally, let’s break down the phrase “But do this with gentleness and respect.” How do we show gentleness and respect when explaining about the hope we have in Jesus? To me personally, showing gentleness and respect means having a relationship with another person and not preaching to another person without getting to know the person first. There is the old saying that “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” Once we have established relationships with those around us who are non-believers, the process of sharing the gospel occurs gently and respectfully. I’m not saying you can’t share the gospel with a total stranger. In fact, many programs train you to do just that. Evangelism Explosion was a program I was trained in as a college student that showed me how to talk about Jesus with total strangers. But I have learned in my Christian life that the Holy Spirit usually moves others in my circle if I have a deep relationship with them first.
So I gave a challenge to our faculty and staff at our Opening Chapel, and seniors I am giving you the same challenge. First, ask the Lord to identify one individual to share the Gospel with this year and to lead to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. This may be someone at LCA, someone in your family, someone you work with, or even a total stranger. But the bottom line is I’m asking you to commit to do that very thing this year. It’s easy to become nervous during this process. When I was younger, and I tried to share the gospel, I often felt my words were inadequate, that what I said didn’t come out right, and that I actually might be doing more harm than good for the Kingdom. In fact, there is a word called Glossophobia that means the fear of speaking publicly or of talking candidly to others. Glossophobia is a tactic that Satan uses to convince you not even to try to share the Gospel with others. I encourage you through prayer to rebuke those kinds of negative, glossophobic thoughts and to focus on the TRUTH of the gospel rather than how well you are presenting it. Allow the Holy Spirit to do the moving of others’ hearts. You remain faithful in sharing the Gospel as best you can at the moment, and leave the rest to God. A friend of mine reminded me of a saying that applies whenever we become anxious about sharing spiritual truths: The Lord often calls the unequipped but always equips the called. Remember that phrase when you start to become anxious about sharing spiritual truths. In the exact moment when you need it, the Holy Spirit will equip you for the task at hand.
So again…listen to our verse of the year one last time. 1 Peter 3:15 states – “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” Class of 2022, will you accept that challenge? I pray that you will and that you accept the call to boldly lead at least one person to Christ this year and to do so with gentleness and respect. As you live out this challenge, please let me or another adult on campus know how God is moving through you to bring others to Him. Thank you, and Class of 2022, we love you, and we pray for you and your families each and every day. Blessings to you all!