Go and the Lord Go With You
Saturday at the Wheatstone conference is simple and wonderful. Students check out, parents, arrive, and we celebrate the week and plan for a beautiful future. Two big things happen here: students hear the big ideas with which they've fallen in love while sitting next to their parents, and students are called to become the peers of the staff that just led them.
It's an important moment that brings families into the transformation of the week. After this, parents aren't just spectators. They're included in the conference. We call students to learn to love them with all the eagerness and hope that they used to make friends during the conference —to treat them not as "mom" and "dad" but as infinitely valuable humans made in the image of God. We call parents to treat their children like adults. And we give them both something to talk about on the drive back home.
You should have heard John Mark's message to parents (recording failed), full of stories of his grandparents and hope for the future. I know it made me tear up a little. Parents, students, and staff: we're all on a big journey together, pursuing goodness, truth, and beauty in Jesus. John Mark gave us reason to want to stand firm in that pursuit.
As students go, they go with a commission to join the staff in our pursuit of Christian adulthood. We've invited them to join us by giving them the t-shirts that they saw us wearing when they checked in on day one. Now they are called to invite others into Christian adulthood too. After the ceremony, it was such fun to watch, all of a sudden, a sea of purple appear as students threw their new t-shirts over their clothes. They're part of a community now, a community united in Christ.
The hugging, crying, laughing, and photos kept going for more than an hour after we officially ended. But the departures were marked most by joy. We have good reason to hope that we'll see each other again, if we stand firm in Christ.
This is it: the end of the conference. God, make it a true new beginning.
Yours in Him,
See the Day
Hear the Day
"If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you will bear much fruit..."
Every day of the conference, we closed with the Doxology. At the Closing Ceremony, an intern grabbed a camera to record it as we sang together one last time.