Three large banners hang in the Davis Administration Building at Friends University. The banners read: Faith, Friends, Future. These three words summarize and embody my experience at Friends University thus far.
Being in Wichita and at Friends has provided me with more avenues than ever before to grow in my faith. Campus ministries, Christian Spiritual Formation coursework, Chapel, Northridge worship service, Northridge youth programming, college and young adult study groups, and one-on-one mentoring are a few of the contexts where I have had the opportunity to grow in my faith. Each of these avenues provides different opportunities for spiritual formation. Spiritual formation is a relatively new term to me. I had heard the word growing up, but did not really understand what it meant. Dallas Willard states that, “Spiritual formation in the tradition of Jesus Christ is the process of transformation of the inmost dimension of the human being, the heart, which is the same as the spirit or will. It is being formed (really, transformed) in such a way that its natural expression comes to be the deeds of Christ done in the power of Christ.” In other words, Christian Spiritual Formation is a transformation of the heart and mind to that of Jesus Christ resulting in a changed lifestyle performing the work of Christ by his power and for his glory to benefit those around us.
Thus far in my Christian Spiritual Formation (CSF) classes I have learned the importance and the immense benefits of practicing the disciplines and grounding my faith with a strong Biblical base. In my Developing a Devotional Life class, our professor introduced us to the disciplines found in Richard J. Foster’s, Celebration of Discipline, and had us participate in a different one each week and then reflect on whether or not the practice was one we would presently implement into our lives. Then, to conclude the class we wrote a Rule of Life, if we had not yet done so, or revised our Rule of Life if we had already written one. The Rule of Life that I made in this class has helped me as I continue striving towards allowing God to work in and through me to further his kingdom.
The other CSF classes I have taken have helped me to form a strong base for my faith grounded in the Word of God. One of my classes, Survey of The Bible has given me a greater understanding of the historical context of the Bible. I am currently taking Applied Christian Ethics, which has really challenged me and forced me to ask a lot of questions. Many times I find myself getting concerned that I do not have my ethics and theology all ironed out, but then I remember that there is grace. I do not and will not ever have it all figured out, and that is okay. What I can do is, by the grace of God, seek after His heart each day, and allow him to reveal himself to me.
I have heard over and over again that the friends you make in college will be some of the best friends you will ever have, and so far I have found this to be true. Being at Friends has provided me with such an awesome community to learn and grow with. In addition to the community at Friends University I have blessed to be a part of the community at Northridge Friends Church. The Sunday morning worship service, college ministry and numerous families that provide support and encouragement at Northridge have been a huge blessing to me. I have found a family in my friends from Northridge.
The last banner at Friends reads future and my academic pursuits are preparing and equipping me with the knowledge necessary for the future vocation that God is calling me to. With my faith and friends to go with me, I am taking each day as a blessing and opportunity to journey through life.
I am uncertain of what the future holds. I have my plans, but I know that God’s are far greater than mine. I have found great freedom in handing over my plans and pursuits to God and praying “Your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven.” Would you pray that with me this year?
– Christa Follette, Friends University