They told me that going to college would change my life—I believed them. However, never in a million years did I expect it to take me to a different country far from home and place me in an environment in which wearing ragged jeans with holes in the knees and having dreadlocks was a normal part of my occupational dress. Everyone has their Africa; mine was Music City, USA…the city I now call home.
I graduated from Briercrest Bible College (BBC) in Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada, in the spring of 2000 with a B.A. in sports ministry, exactly four years after having graduated high school. I was a basketball player; I played on the varsity team in college and lived in my sweats most of the time. I chose BBC for three reasons: (a) they had a reputation for being a top-notch institution when it came to Biblical and theological training, (b) they had a great basketball program, and (c) they were the only college in Canada to offer a program where I could be formally trained in the use of sports as a ministry tool. How cool was that? I was going to be able to graduate with a college degree that would qualify me to play all day in the name of ministry—what more could a jock ask for?
I soon discovered that Briercrest was a great place for me to develop and use another area of my life: music. I started drumming when I was 12 years old after my mother informed me that the only way I was ever going to be allowed to quit piano lessons was if I picked up another instrument. All through middle school and high school, I walked the line between “band geek” and “jock,” the latter winning over the former more often than not, much to the chagrin of my band teacher. I became the first steady drummer on the worship team in my conservative evangelical church, and drumming became a way for me to contribute to the worship experience of others. It didn’t take me long upon my arrival at Briercrest to get involved in various worship teams, and soon I was drumming in chapel bands every opportunity I could. I had it made—things were looking up for my time in college.
Fast forward to the spring of my senior year; I am agonizing over some pretty crucial life decisions. I have just spent nearly four years of my life living on a dorm floor sharing a bathroom with 30 other guys as we went through life together. I developed life-long friendships, discovered and developed spiritual gifts and abilities in a safe environment that allowed me to fail, and learned many things from great professors—men and women who mentored me both inside and out of the classroom. Oh yeah, and I was about to receive a college degree—one which, from the way things were looking, I wasn’t going to be using for quite some time. One question lurked in the recesses of my mind: was it all worth it, or did I just end up wasting thousands of dollars and four years of my life?
My answer to that question still stands today—not a chance! I am absolutely convinced that my time in college played a crucial role in making me the person I am today. I graduated an educated man, not only in sports ministry, but also in life. If I could boil four years worth of classroom time and life experiences into one nugget of wisdom, I would offer this: go ahead and prayerfully make your five-year plans, plot your course, live life boldly—this is healthy. But whatever you do, hold it with an open hand, willing to follow the Lord in a completely different direction if He so leads. It will be scary, uncertain, uncomfortable, and possibly even appear unwise to the common observer, but know this: you will never feel more alive than when you step into an adventure with the Lord as your guide. Take it from me, a jock-turned-rock star…I’m living my adventure right now, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.