A few years ago, a wonderful blessing came into my life. Her parents, who are Nav Staff in our region, called to ask if their daughter could store a few boxes in our house for the summer. We happily agreed and they came over a few hours later. The moment I met Sierra, I knew there was a connection. We spent the next 3 years meeting together regularly, and she just recently graduated.
That hasn’t always been the case, though. Occasionally students coming from staff families don’t choose to become involved in our campus works. As my own children grow up, I can more readily see why that might happen.
I don’t know about yours, but my kids have already been to more Nav Nights than most graduating seniors, not to mention having attended at least ten Fall Conferences. They love us and they respect what we do, but they also know it backwards and forwards. It’s not fresh and new to them like it is to so many freshman landing on campus. I can see how attractive and refreshing another ministry context, a place where they are treated just like everyone else, might be.
It is still always my hope though to extend the hand of hospitality and invitation to students from staff families when they arrive on our campus, even if they choose not to become involved with us. It’s not always possible, but when we can we try to at the very least invite them over for a meal, and make sure they know our door is open to them.
Before you start thinking we do it because of how hospitable and gracious we are, let me be perfectly honest and tell you we do it because of the many blessings we’ve experienced as a result.
Students who have grown up in homes where parents are engaged in full time ministry have rich perspective on what it means to be a child growing up in that world. We have learned a lot about how our ministry norms effect kids. We’ve also been encouraged to see the enduring legacy of a parent’s commitment to the Word bearing fruit in their kids.
Ben and I have tweaked a few of our own practices as a result of these conversations, as well as gleaned great new ones as we’ve shared meals with students who have grown up with parents committed to the same vision we have.
Another wonderful trend we observe is how deeply these students value our time. They have often seen their parents give time, attention, love and mentoring to others. They appreciate the cost to the family that level of commitment requires. After every single meeting with Sierra, I received a text or email of encouragement and gratefulness.
I encourage you to extend the hand of welcome and support to these special students. A simple invitation to dinner and expression of your commitment and love for them will not only bless them, it will bless you.