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Eternal Friendships

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

By William Crouch

On Monday night, we had our last roundtable dinner of Capital Fellows Season 13. The table was a rectangular screen, but still filled with the faces and voices I have come to cherish the past nine months. Our Fellows season ends this week, so we naturally looked back on the themes, lessons, and “food for thought” we will remember. Perhaps the most hopeful for me during this time of isolation is the promise of eternal friendships. John Kyle introduced it early on and it’s been a common thread for us. This week, I started to ponder its meaning more intently. As Christ followers, we believe the same friendships we share now will continue through life’s trials and triumphs into the everlasting and abundant life the Lord has prepared for us. I felt a tinge of sadness knowing it was our last roundtable discussion, but as we went around the “table” and shared our thoughts, that feeling turned into an assurance that we will always be on this journey together. I was encouraged by how much we learned about God and how he gifted us with inspiring teachers, mentors, and pastors. To prompt our discussion, John quoted John Calvin, who said “wisdom, consists in two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.” I think this quote sums up how we grew as Fellows, and I’d like to share with you some of the insights we gained from our courses.

In our fall class, Leadership, Vocation Society, Dr. Irwyn Ince imparted to us a robust understanding of how God has made us uniquely in his image and the implications that has on how we interact with others in the workplace and beyond. The concept of imago dei (the Biblical concept that humans are made in the image of God) shapes the way we view and treat ourselves and everyone we encounter in life whether family member, friend, coworker, neighbor, or stranger.

In our spring class, Identity and Relationships, we learned from Dr. Bill Clark how “each of us is an original.” We have our own stories and hardships that Christ has redeemed. We learned how kind and patient he is with us in the midst of trouble and how he cares about the distinct characteristics he has given us. I’m grateful that God is not finished with the work he started in us, and one day we will understand clearly in ourselves and each other how we make up the body of Christ. In our year-long biblical theology class with Dr. Bill Fullilove, aka The Kingdom Seminar, we learned of God’s grand plan for the world in the Bible. We dove into scripture together and discussed the “4-chapter gospel.” In the beginning God created a perfect world that became corrupted by sin. Fortunately, through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, he redeemed us and will one day restore creation completely. How wonderful to know as believers we get to participate in that work in our own lives! In Life and Leadership with Pastor James Forsyth and Pastor David Stephenson, we learned of that work within ourselves, addressing the core idols of our hearts and making room for Jesus to sanctify us. On our last Life and Leadership Zoom call Wednesday night, we discussed the concept of glorification. In eternity, we will see the fulfillment of God’s redemptive work in ourselves and our friends and enjoy his presence in the new heaven and earth.

It’s a picture that’s hard to imagine in our day with the mental and physical burdens of the pandemic and the seemingly endless cycle of discouraging headlines. We have tried to find the right balance between lamenting the time together that we lost due to the shutdown and the acknowledgement that our lives have not been drastically affected. I’m thankful that our faith promises that all things, from the most trivial of disappointments to the deepest of grievances will be made up for and more in the age to come. No lost cause, time, opportunity, or life will be ultimate because of what Jesus has accomplished for us. On behalf of the Capital Fellows of Season 13, I’d like to thank our teachers, mentors, bosses, guest speakers, host families, and all involved with Capital Fellows for making our experience so meaningful. I’d like to especially thank John and Shirley Kyle, and Lauren Stephens for their leadership and the way they’ve cared for us from before we even met each other until now.

After our roundtable discussion, John prayed for us by name and reminded us of the preeminence of Christ in Colossians 1. I’d like to do the same here. Mollie, Esther, Carter Berry, Sarah Frances, Rachel, Laura, Brian, Amy, Alex, Nathalie and Carter Rief, I love and pray for you all and thank God for the life-giving friendships we share. Our time together is not made more precious by ending but by never ending in heaven. Even though we won’t be spending time at the beach next week for the end of year retreat, and some of us will move to different cities soon, I take heart knowing that one day we will all be together on God’s golden shore. We will be with our truest and most faithful friend, Jesus. Immanuel. God with us.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. And through him to reconcile to himself all things whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Colossians 1:15-20 ESV


Pictures from the Week

A screenshot from our last Roundtable dinner on Monday night

A screenshot from our last CFZ, "Corona Free Zoom" on Thursday night. We had a virtual scavenger hunt and the "box of awkward" made a surprise reappearance!

Throwback to when we first met each other on our opening retreat! We have come full circle.


Benefits of The Fellows Initiative

You probably already know that Capital Fellows is one of 31 fellows programs in The Fellows Initiative network. But, did you know that the sponsors of TFI offer great benefits to Capital Fellows alumni? For example, Reformed Theological Seminary offers a 33% tuition discount for 5 years, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary offers a 40% tuition discount! You can learn more about TFI's sponsors by clicking here.

If you know of a graduate school, seminary, employer, or other organization that would be interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact TFI by clicking here. Thanks!


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