With Skill and Kindness

Is the goal of a Christian college to prepare students for a life of competence, or of a life of virtue? Is it preferable, as a model, to send into the workforce a group of morally excellent graduates with an overwhelming lack of practical training, or a group of highly skilled yet morally abysmal jerks? Should you answer only one or the other, you quickly find your institution slipping into an incredibly false dichotomy that has demanded of its students an impossible separation of lifestyle and trade. This is why I consider it the finest of privileges to have gone out from Geneva with a learned longing for competent work through a humbled heart.

John Gardner '06

John Gardner '06

Graduating with majors in both biblical studies and philosophy, I know that students at Geneva encounter a group of professors, pastors, and teachers who see that the dichotomy of skilled work and a Christ-centered life is a foolish enterprise.

It is not enough to leave a program with a bare or even an excellent knowledge of how to interpret the biblical text. A student′s goal should also be to gain the ability to live a life interpreted by the text of Scripture; to take the chance to see the integration of faith and learning as one sees the integration of skill with an ability to execute it with kindness, faithfulness and grace; to be a sharp, living and active incarnation of a sharp, living and active Word.

This is where the Bible, Christian Ministries & Philosophy Department at Geneva is incomparable to any other that I′ve encountered. If you know those who are considering majoring in biblical studies, biblical languages, Christian ministries, student ministry or philosophy, then have no doubt that they will be tested to determine their proficiency and skill. At the same time, they will be challenged to live out the texts that they interpret in a way that echoes the very life of Christ. Should they take advantage of Geneva′s unique modeling of a scholar′s mind and a shepherd′s heart, they will graduate not as compassionate hacks, nor proficient cads, but as those possessing both compassion and talent. It is evident through both the technical excellence of Geneva′s professors, and through their faithful love of Christ, that if students take the opportunity to listen well to their instruction, they will not leave Geneva unchanged.

But how would I know? Who am I to say such emboldened statements on their behalf? I am, through their mentorship, a converted lout. One who came into Geneva able to argue, interpret and write, and unable to do so without the end result being an inflated ego. One who needed great skill with even greater kindness. Through their instruction, I am forever changed.

John Gardner '06
Youth Pastor at Chapel Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Beaver, PA

Refer A Student

September 2013

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