The Baccalaureate Service for the Class of 2017 was held on Wednesday evening. Pastor Bob Vradenburgh, Senior Pastor of Friendship Baptist Church and President of Friendship Christian School, challenged the graduates to “Make a Difference! Be a Servant Leader.” Using John 13:2-5, 12-16 as his text, Pastor’s message to the seniors reflected on Christ’s example to His disciples, and all Christians as well, of what a true servant leader should be. “Christ didn’t just mandate it – He modeled it.”
Pastor Vradenburgh outlined what it takes to be a servant leader like Christ. The first step is that “every servant leader must first be a disciple of Christ.” Only those who are born into the family of God – salvation through Jesus Christ – are true children of God. They must be learners who never stop learning and imitators who “imitate” their true Father.
“Every servant leader must also discharge his debt to others.” First, by seeking to meet their needs. Christ met the physical needs of His disciples when He washed their feet. He also met their (and everyone’s) spiritual need when He willingly gave His life on the cross for the sins of the world. Pastor also encouraged the seniors to “lovingly warn, rebuke, and restore as well as receive the same.” He said, “Friends don’t let friends hurt themselves through sin.”
The final point Pastor made was that “every servant leader must be a ‘die-hard’ to a life of ease.” I Peter 4:1 states, “ Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.” Pastor lovingly encouraged the graduates that while trials will come into our lives, God will use them as a “means of perfecting us.” He stated that “God must think you’re worth it to mold you into a vessel fit for His use.” God also uses trials as a “means of convincing others” as is seen in the example of Paul and Silas in Acts 16. God used their imprisonment as a means of leading the jailor and his family to salvation.
As Pastor Vradenburgh brought the baccalaureate message to a close, he asked the graduates the following question:
“Is not the prize worth the price?”
The prize of hearing the “well done” of the Master, of entering into the “fellowship of Christ’s sufferings”, and of experiencing peace of conscience.
What a tremendous challenge this message was not only to our graduates but also to all of us who are disciples of Christ! One of our school’s core values is “Character – exemplified through service.” We are challenged to “Make a Difference and Be a Servant Leader!”