Posted by: Billy Marsh | June 2, 2007

Why you should take Summer School with Friends

I just finished, well at least the classtime, two I-Terms back-to-back during the whole month of May knocking out six hours of course credit. Thankfully, I was able to share the load with many other friends which greatly assisted me in actually surviving the long, grueling hours of all day classes. Along with some of my friends, I took “The Christian Ministry” followed by “The Christian Home”, both in 3 weeks time. Combined from both of these courses, I was able to fellowship almost non-stop with Bret Rogers, Jason Nolen, Ched Spellman, Brown Nevels, Keith Krepcho, and Dusty Deevers. Without the balanced amount of humor and seriousness of these godly men, I would not have enjoyed these classes as much nor probably benefited from them as much as I did. As I reflected upon the past two classes, I just pulled out some generic, universal principles that applied to all of us sharing together everyday in class. The only thing that distinguishes summer classes from the fall and spring semesters is that the class times are shorter and usually everyone is so busy with school, church, family, and work that there isn’t a summer mindset tempting us to be lazy and to do half-hearted work (note that this is a generalization, I know some people are lazy all year round).

1. Laughter and light-heartedness turns long days into short days endured in the joy of the Lord.

   Proverbs 15:13 says, “A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.”  Happy hearts bring smiles to many faces which in turn causes my mind not to focus so much upon the negative things related to summer classes such as warm weather, everybody else is relaxing without the weight of schoolwork, my wife is home from work for the summer, and not getting to rest much from the Spring semester. My friends definitely caused my heart to look forward to seeing them everyday as well as enjoying their fellowship during the class and then wanting to prolong our time together after class was over.

2. Likemindedness provides an opportunity for brothers to stir one another up to love and good works functioning as a small gathering of the believers.

   Hebrews 10:24 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,” My friends and I would spend so much time discussing the prominent themes from class, before, during breaks, and after class to the point that we all would leave excited and ready to further equip ourselves for the sake of the ministry. My time with these guys in class always caused me to leave with an ignited fire in my heart to dig into the Bible and better discipline myself in the ministry and my education.

3. Differing viewpoints helps sharpen and correct personal theology.

   Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” Yes, there are times that we all don’t simultaneously have the corner on theology. Being able to spend consistent chunks of time together in an educational setting allowed for us to flesh out ideas and to have some of our thoughts and doctrines altered, nuanced, changed, and even removed. Having a group of dedicated believing brothers in my midst provided opportunity for them to inflict wounds on my theological pride causing me to refine my interpretation of the Bible hopefully towards better doctrinal soundness. This is much more precious to me than if they just let me go on believing something untrue and even perhaps heretical. If this were to happen, I would consider them my enemy for sure.

4. Meeting daily with friends doesn’t have to form a clique, but rather can create Christ-centered community.

   Colossians 3:14 says, “And above all of these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” The love that we have for each other caused us to unite and grow in our mutual relationships in the love of Christ. This type of fellowship is a form of worship and is a natural part of church life. In fact, vv. 15 and 16 both exhort the church at Colossae to let the peace of Christ rule over them and to let the word of Christ dwell in them richly. True community bound together in the love of Christ will create a Christ-centered community that produces the characteristics indicative of being united in the Spirit of Christ.

All of this to say, take summer classes with friends so that you can  make up for lost time (Fall and Spring semesters) with respect to growing relationships, refining theologies, fleshing out ideas, encouragement, exhortation, and of course, just plain good memories (ex. Bret shooting me with his pen, “Whizzbang”, riding bikes to class every morning, Ched dropping unanticipated phrases in mid-conversation full of words that I have no clue of what they mean, me getting angry after class to the point of silence and then a sudden rushing of wind coming through the campus, and so on)

 Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”

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Responses

  1. Billy,

    This is a great post. I agree with you brother; our wholesome fellowship made all the difference in taking these summer classes. Thanks for your encouragement, wisdom, and humor throughout the classes. It was a time that cultivated an atmosphere of whizzbang-ness for all of us.

    Soli Deo Gloria,

    Bret


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