New Kid, Same Team
As part of my new job, I am required to attend a number of events with the purpose of meeting new people and helping to promote our school to different potential first year students. I also bring a team down with me to help serve at any of these events, which is great experience for them and extra hands for those hosting said events.
Last week, I journeyed into what our fellowship call Western Ontario for their youth leadership event called Elevation. Hosted by my good friend Mark and his awesome team, it was attended by many youth pastors, many of whom I had never met before. And so, I went through the new kid in school syndrome.
You've felt this at some point in your life, right? You walk into a room of people and you're more than certain you don't know anyone yet anxiously looking for a familiar face? You have your lunch tray/school bag/convention pamphlet/whatever with you while you aim to show a hint of "hey I need a friend" with a dash of "I am a strong confident person with a nice haircut" and a smidge of "I hope THIS doesn't happen to me":
That's kinda how I felt, which is weird as I am normally very gregarious and open to meeting new people but it also gave me a chance to observe things and get to know how things work "in the Western." As I got to finally see some old friends and get to know some new ones, my attention shifted a bit to another new feeling.
While at this event, our school had a booth where we had promo gear and our FIRST YEAR students willing to meet people, answer questions and simply be amazing. Next to us was another school who hoped to do the same thing. And across from us were other schools with the same motivations. In fact on numerous occasions, people would come to our booth and say "Hey guys, looks like you're in competition with ____________!" It was quite bizarre. With that, many of the pastors at this event previously attended a school within our fellowship called Summit Pacific College out in British Colombia and felt no ways about letting us know where they were from (very much like our American friends and College football teams). Now, I have two great friends who work at said school and one of the schools that was next to us I am actually attending through our fellowship's Seminary. So this needs to be said -
THERE IS NO COMPETITION. Especially among Pentecostal Assembly of Canada Schools.
There was a time when each region had schools to train people in their regions (EPBC/Master's for NFLD/Maritimes/Quebec/Eastern & Western Ont., Horizon for Manitoba/Saskatoon, Vanguard for Alberta and Summit for BC. The territories are included as well). People were free to go wherever they wanted based on their preference but for the most part, you stayed close to home. Then...in the mid 2000's, Master's hit some rough waters and many former fans of the school decided to pull a LeBron James and "Take their talents to any other school but Master's*" for various reasons. Some students still came but some left to go to other school. The after affects of this are now being seen as these students are now coming home and pastoring, and also repping their schools, as one can imagine.
*I should note that Master's, after going through a real rough patch, is back to doing what has been doing well for years: training and preparing men and women for theological and practical Pentecostal ministry. Presidents such as David Hazzard, William Morrow and now Richard Janes have led (along with dedicated staffs) with excellence and reestablished our name and our call to serve. And our students are amazing. We are blessed to serve with them.
I love our other schools. Now, I have never been to any other than MCS (Ed note: distance and lack of flyer coin being the main factors) but I know that they are doing what I'm hoping to do here: inspiring men and women not to represent a school but rather Jesus Christ and his mission. I know it because I saw the quality of ministers at that event.
And I love our pastors. Yes it sucks at times having to put yourself out there to get the word out (I guess I'd just rather meet as friends then as a recruiter, but meh...) but there is so much to learn from each of them as they work on inspiring students to live Godly lives by simply living Godly lives. And in meeting them, I learn that we have much in common.
So next time you visit, please don't use the competition line on me. Ask our MCS students: my face will not find your joke funny. And I know that our other school reps would feel the same way.
We may be a mix of old and new kids but we're on the same team.
And that's what makes us US.
Extra note (I don't know the other staffs at our schools but I know two at Summit whom this is for:
Dear Clark and Kim,
I am so proud of the both of you and what you're doing over at SPC for many students. Isn't it crazy that we're doing what we're doing? I'm sure none of us dreamt this up when we growing up at Cobourg camp, eh? I want you to know that I am in your corner and have your back on this end of Canada as I know you have mine and Becca's all the way on yours. I am so glad that we get to serve together in this way, even though we are KMs apart. I think and pray for you often and so today I pray for stability, God's peace and his favour on you both.
I love you guys and can't wait to see what you do next!
Your friend back home,
P.S. I also selfishly pray that you come back home soon. We all miss you here in the EOD:)