I’m Seth. I graduated from BBC in 2009 with my Bachelor’s in Youth Ministry. After 5+ years in full-time youth ministry in Keizer, Oregon, God shook things up a little bit! I’m now living in Portland working at a really rad alternative high school teaching leadership and helping students find success with their education and this Spring I graduated from Multnomah University with my Master’s in Global Development and Justice and cannot wait to see what God does next!
Seven years ago I was sitting in the administration building trying to frantically come up with a speech that I would give at the 2009 BBC Commencement Ceremony. I had all of conference week to write something out and to nobody’s surprise, I waited until a few hours before graduation to take the time to sit down and figure what I might say. I was sweating sitting on the floor of the admissions office hoping that Mr. Faber or Mr. Knudsen wouldn’t walk by and wonder why I hadn’t figured anything out. I was so overwhelmed as I thought of all my professors and friends and people I had never met filling the room and I wanted to say all the right things because it would be one of the very last moments we would all share together. Well, I have no literally no idea what I said that night. Not a clue. And honestly it didn’t really matter. What I do remember though, is Dr. Whittaker’s talk that night. I remember him saying over and over again that whatever we did with our lives and ministries and relationships to make sure above all else that we “give them Jesus!” That has never left me, I feel like he stamped it on my heart that night. Sometimes my life is a really good example of that commission he placed on our lives, and sometimes I fall so so so short.
Looking back on the moments that lead up to our graduation night, I’m so grateful for the way God molded me and led me through deep deep joy smashed up against so many experiences resulting from my foolishness in my years at BBC. There is no way I made it through my four years except for the good, good grace of God. There are few things that compare to the nights of staying up too late gathering in someone’s dorm room to “study” and instead just spending the night laughing, or telling our stories, or trying to learn the hippest new worship song on the guitars that seemed to abound in every guy’s dorm room whether we could play well or not. Then there are moments that I wish never happened. I cringe thinking about a night my freshmen year when we were all striving to be as “holy” as possible and ended up burning all of our cd’s (those were still a thing) and dvd’s that seemed too secular…I think we were trying to outdo each other in righteousness or something… I cringe thinking about lots of other things I did too. LOTS of things. (Thank God I am not the same guy I was when I was 18…or even 21). In the end though, I’m grateful for the incredible people God allowed to speak into my life in the midst of my brokenness. I’m thankful for the ways that professors would speak long lasting truth into my life that I carry with me today. I’m grateful for rich, meaningful, lasting relationships. I’m grateful that I was encouraged to boldly move into the world and that I was given the tools to love people in ways that pointed them to Jesus. I’m grateful that I was given the opportunity to know Jesus more than ever before and that I get to partner with God as He moves in the world as long as I’m alive, largely because of the way God shaped me through my time BBC.
When I drove off of campus for the last time as a student, I thought that nothing would ever compare to my experiences there, I wanted to live in that space forever. Today, I’m so glad I drove away. Not because I hate BBC. But because all of the grace and goodness that God imparted on me was never meant to stay on that campus in Garden City. It was meant to be given away to the rest of the world.