This summer, I had a special dinner with my grandfather. At least, that is what it felt like.
At the end of our final semester, the Herbert W. Armstrong College senior class of 2015 had the honor of attending a traditional senior dinner at chancellor Gerald Flurry’s home. The event featured tenderloin, gold-plated flatware, a crystal candelabra centerpiece and swan-shaped butter pats. It was an evening fit for kings.
The highlight, however, was not the fine food or the beautiful table settings, but rather the constant fellowship. It was a family dinner. There were 13 grandchildren with the patriarch at the head of the table.
At one point in the evening, a question was asked about Mr. Flurry’s experience at Ambassador College and his interaction with Mr. Armstrong. He talked about how the training there was perfectly suited for what God was preparing him to do in the future, and he really benefited from learning from the best instructors they had. I automatically thought of how the education here at Armstrong College can do the same for anyone who comes here. If you have the attitude of a servant, there is no limit to how God can use you!
Immediately after that, he spoke about the man who trained him to be a minister. Mr. Flurry said he learned more from that man on how to love the brethren, think clearly, and serve than he did at Ambassador College. It was amazing to see the example of humility from the pastor general, giving credit to a man and instructors who did not stick with the truth but who trained him for the job he would later do.
These two exchanges offer a tremendous perspective. Inside and outside of AC, there are amazing opportunities for education and service. It all happens inside the God Family!
Mr. Flurry then said that one’s education does not stop at Armstrong College; that it is just the foundation. “If your education stopped here,” he said, “you wouldn’t be very educated.” It is indeed a lifelong experience!
Later in the evening, he began discussing a biography he had recently read on Steve Jobs. One of the most effective things Steve Jobs ever did for Apple, Mr. Flurry said, was to build a team-orientated workforce. Even after Jobs died, the company could still succeed because of the vision and cooperation he inspired. Mr. Flurry touched on how God’s Work operates in the same pattern. God is building a team of individuals who work in unity toward our transcendent goal: We are a family business.
Just before the evening concluded, someone asked Mr. Flurry if there was any advice he would like to give to us, since we were all about to leave AC to enter the next chapter of our lives. I believe that these last words Mr. Flurry spoke were packed with the most practical and inspiring wisdom I have been blessed to hear.
First, he spoke about his early days as a deacon and how there are always service opportunities anywhere you go if you really want to serve; he admonished us to use God’s ministry to show us where the help is needed. He then talked about how much he wanted to go to Ambassador College, even after he was married, but thought it wouldn’t happen. However, God intervened and opened the door for him to attend at Pasadena. He then said, “If you really desire something, God will give it to you.” Mr. Flurry emphasized that if you really want to serve God and this Work, God will orchestrate events to fulfill that desire. He added, “It doesn’t matter where you are going, but what you do with what you have.”
That evening put everything in perspective for us as graduating seniors, as we are all grateful for the blessing of Armstrong College, and strive to live our lives in a way that is worthy of the education we have been given. I am sure each of us will treasure the wisdom from the pastor general as we reach toward the future.
What stood out the most to me was that these senior dinners really do picture the fruits of a God-Family education. Thirteen young people sat with their grandfather, learning from the feet of a man who has been through it all. This was a special opportunity for everyone involved, but I am sure every member of the pcg feels this way about Mr. Flurry. Every single one of us is a part of this teachers’ college; we all are a part of this amazing curriculum, this God Family education!
When the students left that evening—each trying to write down quotes from Mr. Flurry while we still remembered them, and each trying to comprehend the task ahead of us—we knew we had only reached a new beginning. Our formal education was finished, and now we have the opportunity to learn from and with all of you!
It reminded me of a quote from Mr. Flurry in 2009, which I think really sums up my four years at Armstrong College, and this senior dinner: “We must plunge into the God Family! It’s the only thing that will give us a solid education. This is about family! I want to get to know the Family—do you? Are you willing to make a deep commitment to do that? If you are, God will bless you beyond what you can imagine.”