Where do we go from here?
by Benji Suprice
Where do we go from here?
Towards the end of my undergrad experience at Gordon College in Boston, Ma, I repeatedly would ask the question “Where do I go from here?” The question is not deeply profound and it is likely one that many students ask their senior year, but it was all encompassing. My studies focused on Biblical Studies and Sociology and though I received an amazing education, I was hoping to grow in my leadership development and engage the marketplace, a world that I did not have much experience in. A mentor of mine connected me with the Trinity Fellows Program and after a conversation with the director, I was on my way to Charlottesville, VA.
Fellows: A Place to Grow in Faith
When people ask me about my time as a Trinity Fellow in Charlottesville, I generally describe it as a place of growth. A place where the Director, Dennis Doran, challenged us to take our faith seriously in our work. A place where theological learning met service in the community. A place where mentors invited me into their homes and gave me opportunities to lead and fail. A place where the pastoral team was always one text away from discussing new models of discipleship and the future of the Church. Even my job placement, a reputable organization connected to the University of Virginia, provided a space of formation by asking big questions of me, the Church, and society at large.
There were no easy answers, but we wrestled with authors ranging from Henri Nouwen to James Davison Hunter, covering a wide base of Christian thought and practice. Classes then furthered this deep integration by curating conversations on faith and work. Though it wasn’t always easy, especially since Charlottesville had just experienced public displays of explicit injustice, racism, and other structural ills, it was profound.
Faith and Real Life
Current events continue to give me an opportunity to apply what I learned as a fellow. Like many others, I was in shock after the riots at the Capitol building. This act of domestic terrorism was deeply troubling and one of the more harrowing images was the Christian symbolism on display. There were crosses and Jesus signs that conflated our Christian calling with deep nationalism. Once again I was forced to wrestle with the question, “Where do we go from here?”
Jesus was on display for the world to see and I imagined global Christians lamenting in our willingness to choose Rome over Jesus. And during a time of deep division the future of the church, though it will continue, seems hazy. The question isn’t necessarily profound, but it must be answered. The church needs men and women who will think deeply about their role in building the church, integrating their faith and work, and oppose racism, idolatrous forms of nationalism, and many other societal sins.
Together we have an incredible opportunity and responsibility in leading the next generation of the Church and in training individuals to better wrestle with that question. Whether it is in business, healthcare, education, politics, vocational ministry and everything in between, the amount of formation experienced in a fellows program is immense and the future of the Church depends on it.