Dr. Anthony Bradley has a problem.
“I have a college football addiction,” he said to ripples of laughter from the Kuyper community gathered in the Vos Chapel for the College’s opening Convocation.
Bradley recently came to Kuyper as Research Professor of Interdisciplinary and Theological Studies, after two decades of experience in higher education. In addition to his work at Kuyper, which will be part-time, Bradley also will be working for the Acton Institute, a Grand Rapids think tank that promotes the benefits of free enterprise to religious communities, businesspeople, students and educators.
Though his college football habit can be problematic, Bradley said he has drawn an important lesson for the Christian life from his time as a fan. Just like the teams he follows, the family of God works collaboratively.
Referencing Mark 10:35-52, Bradley emphasized that, as Christians, we are called not to seek personal greatness, but to serve others as God guides us.
“Jesus talks about greatness in terms of getting somebody else ready to be and do what God has for them. If you’re a follower of Christ, the pathway to glory is to care for the needs of others,” he said.
That theme of servant leadership infused the entire Convocation service as Kuyper began a new academic year focused on the theme, “A Life of Service.”
This means that in chapel services throughout the year, students, faculty and staff will explore and practice servant leadership as they emulate Jesus’ humility and sacrificial love.
An example of this theme is Kuyper’s refreshed mission statement, which President Patricia Harris unveiled as she opened Convocation and welcomed attendees. It reads: “As a community of Biblical higher education, Kuyper College forms lifelong learners for purposeful lives of work and service to God and neighbor.”
Dr. Harris also offered a prayer for the proceedings, thanking God for the ability to gather together, for the beginning of a new academic year and for the students, staff and faculty in the pews.
“We acknowledge that You are the Giver of every good gift – our learning, our relationships, our service and ourselves. Thank you for being such a generous God,” she said.
Throughout the Convocation service, a crew of familiar Kuyper faces—Dr. Tim Detwiler, Academic Dean; Dr. Andrea Fryling, Registrar; Emily Perton, Director of Student Success; Jen Colin, Assistant Professor of Social Work; as well as several students—was there to guide the proceedings.
After Dr. Harris’ welcome and opening prayer, Dr. Detwiler acknowledged new members of the staff and faculty and introduced them to the community.
“Welcome to Kuyper, all of our new folks and returning folks,” he said. “We are so glad you’re here as we begin yet another wonderful year.”
Dr. Bradley’s keynote address came next and then Perton led a confession of faith, where all present pledged to cling to the truth of Jesus Christ and His redeeming work in the coming months.
Colin and Business Leadership student Prince Muleya echoed this vow when they led members of the audience in prayer. Each offered their own—Colin for the faculty and staff and Muleya for the students—asking God for the strength to follow Him in the new academic year.
Dr. Harris then returned to the podium to deliver a charge for the new academic year.
“This year, as we work and learn and serve and ready each other for whatever God has for us, may His grace and truth, wisdom and strength be with all of us, and may He guide us in this new academic year,” she said.
The service wrapped up with a rousing rendition of “This Little Light of Mine.”