Beneath a warm autumn sun IBC students and a few staff leap from the school van and file expectantly into the imposing church building cowering beneath the mountain. Only returning students have an inkling of what is about to take place. Staff who have arrived earlier to prepare
welcome them at the door with handshakes, smiles, and verbal greetings.
Inside the building there are seats for 34 of us around a horseshoe formation of tables decorated for fall. In the center sits a smaller table carefully holding a wine goblet filled with juice, and an unbroken loaf of bread. Welcome to our annual Lord’s Supper Chapel. Do you smell the pork roast?
The atmosphere is a bit subdued as we anticipate the meal. Teaching is given from I Corinthians 11 on the Lord’s Supper; did you know that our Christian gatherings can do more harm than good (v. 17) if we are being selfish instead of loving (v. 21)? Wow! What does that mean for our gathering today?…for the gatherings as the church?
Instructions are given to assure that each individual is provided with adequate food, and the dinner begins. Look to your left. This is the person you will be serving. Make sure you inquire first regarding their likes and dislikes, and be generous on their behalf!
The food is delicious and there is more than enough for everyone. Feel free to get more if you are still hungry . . . but, wait, the floor is open for honest sharing and a freshman girl is beginning to speak. Speaking from her heart and without eloquence, she is requesting forgiveness for prejudging her fellow students. Several people are reading Scriptures on the topic of our relationship with one another. More people are sharing, publically confessing their sins against one another and requesting reconciliation with others present. A staff member stands and publically repents of her poor attitude toward her husband, and then walks to his side to ask his forgiveness. The two embrace as tears flow freely.
Listen! One of the students undergoing restorational discipline is speaking! Can you believe she is sharing so openly and specifically about the sin that has held her captive for so many years?! And another! A second student undergoing discipline, emboldened by her testimony, is confessing his specific struggle with lust. Both repent openly, apologizing for any harm they may have caused to the community.
Another scripture passage is being read, this time by a staff member. She breaks down and begins to weep as she reads the words from Romans about being prideful and a “know-it-all.” “That’s been me, all my life,” she weeps.
More poignantly than a sermon, you have just experienced who we are as a community. Our institutional goals are: Biblical, Relational, and Transformational. Solidly founded on God’s Word, we strive to model safe community where the other person is valued more than self. In everything, the goal of becoming Christlike, transformed into His image, is paramount. At Christmas, we celebrate the fact that Christ “stepped into” our world to live a perfect life so He could die and be raised in our place to bring us salvation, which also includes saving us from the broken relationships that so often dominate our lives! It is critical that IBC models and trains our students in what it means to build and express healthy Christian community.
We are praising God that all 23 full-time students finished the semester! It has been four years since this has happened! We are also looking at a potential enrolment increase in the Spring semester. Please pray for our students over the Christmas break, as many of them face great temptation to sin and resistance from friends and family when they are home.
We hope this chance to “step into” our Lord’s Supper Chapel, celebrated on November 16th , has been a blessing to you, for you are a blessing to IBC. Through your prayers and financial support you are partnering with IBC to bring about the dynamic transformational community described above! Thank you for standing with IBC in these ways!
In the Name of the One who came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:11-13)
The Koppens (clockwise from top left): Jason, Sarah, David, Lizzy, Abby, and Angie