Last week I had the privilege of meeting a former member who works at CBU. I wanted to visit the school since it's in our community and wanted to meet him since he used to be a member and I know his parents. Can I just say it's incredible?!
I have to admit that throughout most of the tour I was pretty skeptical. I'm not sure how or why it is that I as a Christian pastor am so resistant to Christian colleges, but, in general, I am. I guess my assumption is that they're crazy fundamentalist and everyone there is there for an M-R-S. or M-R. degree rather than an actual education.
To be sure CBU has fabulous new facilities and is growing like crazy (averaging 300 student increase in attendance every year). They have a lot to offer including a new nursing school and a new engineering department. My guide raved about the music program and said their Tuesday and Thursday rehearsals are open to the public and definitely worth dropping by for.
After our tour with met with some of his colleagues and a representative from a local Christian station and had lunch. It was incredible to be introduced to so many people and events and aspects of Riverside in just a few short hours.
In addition to learning about the school, and meeting tons of employees, I also met the radio guy, the director of spiritual life, have a possible connection for plugging in with the local Latino population, a connection with the area clergy, and a connection for getting connected with the young professionals. My hosts feared I was overwhelmed, but I was thrilled to have so many connections so fast, especially since I haven't gotten out into the community as much as I think I should have.
Then today my host's parents invited me to see the first rehearsal of the CBU choirs. To say they were incredible would be an understatement. They had me in tears from the first time they opened their mouths. It was breath-taking, and they've only been together as choirs for 48 hours. There were 4 choirs, one including an orchestra and it filled me in a way that I haven't felt in a long time. Throughout the year they sing as groups of 6-10 and do Sunday morning services for churches. So, after lunch, I went over and signed us up for November 16th.
I think after today I'm sold. No more scary stereotypes, at least not for CBU. It's amazing to see and hear about the work they are doing, the ministries they are involved in and the dedication they have both for their students and for the work of the kingdom.
If you live in the area, definitely check our choir rehearsal Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-4:30, and if you're anywhere near the area, mark December 12th and 13th for their Christmas concerts. It's worth it.