Honored guests, university staff and fellow graduands,
SURGE: "POWERED TO SERVE"
MARK 10:45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
It is an honor to share a few words with you on this august occasion as a member of the graduating MAL class of 2013. We are eager to go out with power to serve the people God has placed in our path. The journey to graduation has been a test of courage, strength and no small battle of wits. The university is a great place to be. Alongside the church, the university is the most transformative social institution outside the family. The university renews your mind, allows you to ask questions and allows you meet people who think differently from you. However, people come to the university for many other reasons as well. For some, it is a good place to find a husband or a wife. Others collect certificates and disappear in a cloud of dust. Others come to grow up, and some just come to graduate. Whatever we come to get at the university, the day comes when we must carry away what we came for and go back to the real world. That day is today.
Most students on the MAL program worked full time jobs as we read the books at night and tried to find the internet travelling in between work assignments during the day. We have come to know which internet service provider works best at what time of day and in what geographical location. The MAL experience explodes the reality of routine daily life into book reports, term papers and class debates. Sleeping hours are suspended as the program causes a major conflict of interest between employers, the faculty and the family. The balancing act can only be achieved by much grace and excellent communication skills.
On a light note, most of my colleagues will agree that the program would have been more manageable if three days were removed from the calendar; Friday, Saturday and Monday. While most people celebrate with "Thank God it's Friday", MAL students wake up to the fact that "Oh no its Friday". Friday is the day MAL students hand in the week's assignment by the end of the day. However, after extended reasoning and passionate argument students usually stretch that day to well past midnight or the next day. Saturday is another day that dawns with fear and trembling. After almost two years of giving excuses every Saturday for not attending birthdays, outings and weddings using all the University lecturers' names, students have to be very creative when explaining to their spouse and children that reading assignments are of great personal importance to the Vice Chancellor of the university. The third day is Monday. MAL students dread Mondays not because it is the first day of the week. MAL students never have Monday blues. Monday is the day the boss finds out that last week's work was not completed on schedule! Going back to the real world then does spell academic relief, but there are three things that my colleagues and I will also be taking back to the real world.
First, the education class has empowered us to see teaching from a new and different perspective. It will involve us coming to meet students at their level of understanding and growth. It means that we may not be called "servant leaders", but we will be "servant teachers". The process has been humbling and changed our whole approach to life. Being a boss up there is very different from being a servant. A servant must be good role model to the kids, identify with the challenges of high schoolers and be more friendly to students. The word is servant. Servant teacher.
MAL can be said to be a "key opener" to the pastoral ministry on three levels. It has made us better leaders, having developed our capacity and competence to lead as leaders should. It has also empowered us to develop human resources in the church to serve the Lord, and equipped us to raise up other leaders in the field. The course itself has been a transformational process in itself calling for sacrifice at the personal and family level, not to mention the faith required to meet fees commitments and for international students the requirement of travel quite apart from the demanding academic schedules. However, if one is searching for excellence, quality, personal growth and the power to transform society, the MAL program has them all.
While in the Business and Enterprise class, I had the privilege to interview a highly respected leader. I was surprised that I was able to get an interview with a man who had held conference with presidents. He had led a company from near bankruptcy to a market leader within four years. I thought he would tell me about vision, strategy, marketing and financial planning as keys to successful corporate transformation. I must admit I was a little disappointed when he began to tell me about his high school teacher. He told me that his teacher taught him integrity. His teacher taught him the value of hard work, service and character. He told me that Kenya does not need leaders. We have too many of them. What we need is values. He told me that transformation is the result of values and character. What we carry away from Pan Africa Christian University is not just high-end business strategies for success, but the power of the values of hard work, ethics, integrity and leadership in the fear if God to make transformation possible.
The power to serve will come from the values of service, character and the miracle of transformation. The power to serve will not come from our professional and technical competence. The difference will come if we surge forward and use the power we have gained here to serve. However, an electrical power surge can very easily damage valuable equipment. As we leave, we must be careful not to overwhelm those we serve lest they become discouraged and destroy the work that has already been done. Our deepest fear is not that we are few or that there is much work to be done. Our deepest fear is that we have power beyond measure. Power to turn the world upside down. This fear can only be tempered by one other fear. The fear of God. We have been commissioned to take a stand like Josheb, Eleazer and Shammah and not to leave the field until the battle is won. By the grace of God, it will be done.
Finally dear guests,
I believe I speak for all the MAL students when I say that every university graduate should experience the MAL program. We sincerely thank our teachers who walked with us and helped us cast a new vision for the future. We thank God for the grace to complete course and pray that many others will come to live the MAL dream. We also thank our families who stood by us, paid for us and prayed for us and want you to know that we love you and that though it was, tough, inspiring and wearisome; we did it for you, for God and our country. We ask you to pray for us that all we have learned from this beautiful place will be of service to you, to Kenya, to other nations and a great ransom for many generations to come.
God Bless Kenya
Allan Bukusi 23rd August 2013
MAL Graduation speech