Balloons 4_edby H. David Schuringa

This month, our oldest grandchild is graduating from eighth grade at Timothy Christian School on Chicago’s West Side. Olivia is the first grandchild to earn a diploma, so we’re all very excited. Next year, the Lord willing, it’s on to high school.

We’re also thrilled that in the same week, my youngest son, Tim, is graduating with a master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University. After graduating from Calvin College and working for eight years in the Mississippi Delta, he felt he needed more education to continue in his field of interest, community development. We’ll see where he, Liz and their two boys end up in the next chapter of their lives as he considers his options.

In both cases, you notice that the graduation ceremonies mark the beginning of something more than the end. Sure, a course of study has been completed. Hard work, undoubtedly. But it is all preparation for the next phase of life. Graduation ceremonies are called “commencement exercises” because something new is commencing, beginning.

This year, Crossroad’s graduation class will exceed eight thousand students. Many of these earn certificates of completion and, like Olivia, will go on to the next level of study. Some will finish our program with a diploma in biblical studies, currently our “terminal” level of study.

Regardless of how far each student goes, none will remain a Crossroad student forever. At some point, these students will complete their studies and move on to the next phase of their lives. If it is more time in prison, we trust they will in turn be making disciples based on what they learned from their Crossroad Instructors. When they are released, we hope their studies will commence a successful reentry of serving God in whatever area of life He directs them.

So today we congratulate the graduates of Crossroad Bible Institute’s Class of 2014! You can almost imagine them proudly placing their tassels on the other side of their caps, can’t you?

See how your participation with Crossroad is creating thousands of graduates, thousands prepared to begin a new life? You are making a huge impact—we know that recidivism rates plummet and God’s kingdom soars when people have been changed by the Word of God. And that’s the commencement of God’s new order!

Dr. Schuringa serves as the president of Crossroad Bible Institute.