Posted by: John Adams | September 9, 2009

New Student Orientation

Last week, I volunteered as a small group leader and shouldered the task of leading about 10 new students through the process of NSO (New Student Orientation).

We were taught during training that our primary goal is simply to be there for students and to minimize the awkwardness and insecurity that come with a transitional phase in a person’s life. (Human beings–particularly Westerners–like to think they’re like folding chairs, for whom changing location is as easy as setting up and tearing down. In reality, we’re more like plants or animals, for whom transplantation takes time and can be somewhat traumatic.)

Along with my co-leader, April, I got to meet several new students, lead them on a campus tour, answer their questions, and sit through a lot of really boring seminars on things like how to pay your bill and how to seek financial aid.

The actual process of orientation wore me out. It was way more extroversion and scheduled activity than I’m used to, but it was good to get pushed a little further out of my box and have to think about other people first for a change.

The real blessing of the whole experience came at the end of the second day at opening chapel. Asbury’s new president, Tim Tennent, shared his vision of creating “Scholars on Fire” (intellectuals whose hearts are fully engaged in the process), which really resonated with me. We had a beautiful time of worship in Estes Chapel, culminating in a Communion service.

After chapel, each group went to a professor’s home for a dessert and fellowship time. Each member of our group took turns sharing how they became aware of their calling and the steps that led them to Asbury. At the end, I got to share about not getting into Asbury and wandering around Europe last fall and running down the beach in St. Andrews and winding up in Wilmore right after one of the biggest ice storms in Kentucky history.

“I am so excited for all of you,” I told the new students. “Leading this group has made me realize how much healing and growth has happened in me since the last time I went through NSO. I know that the Lord has great things in store for all of you, and this is a very good place to be. Brighter days lie ahead.”

Life usually happens in the moments you don’t notice. Every once in a while, it’s necessary to “raise an Ebenezer,” a remembrance stone to testify to how far the Lord has brought you. NSO was one of those moments for me this year.

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