Coming Full Circle
by David Calhoun
In 2007 my family moved to Charlottesville, VA. This move would change my life in countless ways but one of the first was becoming involved with the Trinity Fellows program. Our first fellow, Daniel Lautzenheiser, arrived just a year after the move and almost immediately became like family.
From teaching me and my brothers how to play foosball the right way (no spins allowed), introducing us to fantasy football and U2, trying to change the rules of RISK, and showing us how not to nap (under the bed instead of on it) Daniel became a source of joy in our home. He took us on late night ice cream runs, to UVA lacrosse games, and trips to the best spots in Charlottesville. Every day I would hope that he would be back from his fellows commitments in time for us to do something fun together. That was an incredible year and, to this day, I look back fondly on it.
It’s Been a Minute
Since Daniel finished his fellows program life has changed a lot for both of us. He moved to Washing DC to work at the American Enterprise Institute, got married to Jenny (a fellow from his class), and eventually went to law school at Duke. Daniel is now a clerk for a judge in North Carolina and is starting a new stage in his life as a lawyer. While Daniel was doing all of this, I grew up. 12 years of school later, I am now a college graduate and a Capital Fellow. I also work for The Fellows Initiative. Between the fellows we hosted and those I met through Trinity’s Student Ministry, fellows have been instrumental in sustaining my faith as I’ve grown into who I am today.
A couple months ago Daniel and I had the chance to catch up at length over Zoom. As we talked I felt so blessed to be able to hear all the ways his time as a fellow prepared him for the next years of his life because the lessons that have stuck with him are ones I came into this year hoping to explore myself.
One of the lasting lessons of Daniel’s fellows year was developing a heart for the local church. At a breakfast with one of the pastor’s, Daniel learned that on Monday mornings he typically receives voicemails critiquing the previous day's service. This comment, in the context of his fellows experience, convicted Daniel that his posture towards the local church should not be, “I wish the church did this or spoke out about this” but instead, “what role should I personally be playing in the body of Christ?”
As Daniel has lived out the latter question as a fellow, in Washington, D.C., and at Duke, fruit has come from focusing more on how he can serve the church than on how the church can serve him. His experiences have shown that meaningful involvement in a local church is a powerful means to enter into the tough questions and moments of life. More importantly, he has experienced how involvement in a church can lead to actively participating in God’s purposes for the world.