On Monday, August 27, nearly 240 new undergraduate students, representing nine countries and 22 states, officially began their journey at Cairn University. The incoming class was enthusiastically welcomed to the University community at Monday morning’s convocation chapel, processing through a tunnel of applauding faculty to reserved seats at the front of the gymnasium.
Following the opening prayer, a Scripture reading, and hymns, Dr. Williams addressed the entire University community for the first time this semester: “Whatever apprehensions or concerns you have, whatever doubts you have about whether this is where you should be, we echo the words of God’s servant Job that ‘nothing can thwart His purposes.’”
After acknowledging that they have been brought together by God’s sovereignty, Dr. Williams exhorted the Cairn community to consider that “to be a follower of Jesus, you have to not only believe in Him as your Savior, you have to desire to follow Him. There is no part of being a Christian or serving Christ that is apart from that earnest desire to follow Him. If we are to be His servants, we must be His followers.”
To begin exploring what a true follower of Christ looks like, Dr. Williams pointed to Galatians 6:17, “From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” He points out that “these marks were not a detriment to him, but what he suffered as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, he bears with honor. . . . Paul, as an example to us, endures all those hardships and bears all those marks, those brands as a bondservant, because he so believes Jesus that he will serve Him no matter what.”
This proper understanding of the commitment and obedience that Christ calls us to will be further expounded upon in “The Marks We Bear: Examining Ourselves as Followers of Jesus,” Dr. Williams’ chapel series for the 2018–19 academic year.
“Is your faith so real, so personal, so profound, so based on the truth of His Word, that you feel compelled to expend all of your energy and effort, in obedient service to Him? As a student, this is your calling . . . what you have been given to use, you use to the fullest service of the Lord.”
Although Monday marked the first gathering of the entire University community, the incoming undergraduate class—over 30% of the undergraduate student body—arrived on campus on August 22. Student-leaders and employees welcomed new residential students and their families, helping them unpack vehicles and get settled into their new homes on campus.
Dr. Williams welcomed new students and their families at the Community Gathering on Wednesday afternoon, praying over the incoming class before their loved ones said their final goodbyes. Student Life and the OTeam (Orientation Team) also held five days of events designed to build community and prepare new students for their Cairn journey, where they will be called to be obedient in their service to Christ as students.