A few years ago, Mike Massa and I were working to plan the 2009 Alumni Reunion. We arranged for an all-alumni choir to sing during the reunion and recording. As alumni from each decade began to arrive at Bob Mason’s home for our first meeting and rehearsal, there were obvious longtime friendships that were greeted with loving hugs and floods of memories that they began to share with each other. The “remember when” conversations were a joy to hear as they reminisced the past. Yet several of us had just met each other for the first time and we were gradually getting introduced for the evening of rehearsal and dinner together. The atmosphere was cordial and welcoming, much like you would find in being a guest at a friendly church.
As Mike gathered us all in Bob’s living room to give us a few instructions for the evening, he opened up in prayer and then asked us all to worship in the Spirit. THAT’S when it happened! We suddenly went from acquaintances to CFNI “kin.” It was amazing! Though many of us had just met, as we prayed and worshiped we suddenly had a very deep connection; a connection that surpassed the years gone-by, careers, marital status, denominations, race, financial position and even our varying walks with Christ.
“The rehearsal” became more than a preparation or a run-through of music. It developed into a precious few hours that were filled with deep worship, confession of the soul, earnest prayer, genuine communion and sincere fellowship. We had hesitantly walked in as acquaintances and were now struggling to part as more than friends.
That’s what happens each time we gather CFNI alumni together for conferences, reunions or any special event. There may be the few who remember their time together as students, but there are usually several who arrive not knowing the others. They are welcomed, but still see the unfamiliar faces with hesitation. But when we begin to worship the Lord—it always happens! That unseen bond of the Holy Spirit moves to reconnect us and reunite the CFNI family all over again! The fond remembrances of campus begin to swell in their minds. And many share the same sentiments and warmhearted experiences they have had as students.
Recently there was a group on Facebook called “You know you went to CFNI when…” I followed the group for several weeks and collected some delightful memories that you might share. As you read a few I have selected, I hope you are as thankful for your time at CFNI as I am.
You Know You Went To CFNI When…
Jamie Bollinger – Your heart and soul was introduced to a way of worship like no other, and literally was the launching pad for a life hunger and thirst for more of Him in every way.
David Emmanuel Paul – You’re reminded in your heart to read 3 chapters of the Bible every day, and five on Sundays.
Kirk Anderson – As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another; there was a whole lot of sharpening going on at CFNI.
Johnny McNaughton – I can’t describe how blessed I was by my time at CFNI. I know it was a difficult transition in some ways but every day while there I was excited about what I would see of the move of God in my life and the lives of those around me!
Gelson Rocha – When you were very hungry to ‘know’ God, and could feel His presence during chapel. If I had to go back, I would do it all over again!
Scott Hassett – You hear the words, “My, my, my, my, MY!” and have the sudden urge to give away all your possessions. You have CFNI Alumni Facebook friends on more than three continents.
Michelle Butler – You helped an international student pick out a wedding dress. You look back and realize that it was one of the most impacting times of your life.
Sheri Jeanine Green – Powerful all night prayer meetings!
Richard Castagno – You meet a CFNI alumnus for the first time and feel an instant connection.
Joel East – You went to CFNI single and left married to the greatest woman in the entire world.
Dave & Natasha Giles – You learned that God was more interested in your character than your comfort. If you had a teachable spirit and gave honor to the leadership God would use you mightily to impact your town and nation.
Patrick Curtain – CFNI was by far the best decision I have ever made. I truly met the Lord there. I was always expecting Him to move on my behalf and He always did. The Bible came alive before my eyes!
Terry McCarthy – You knew you went to CFNI when . . . you left with a great prayer life, had the most incredible life-changing worship experiences, gained an awesome world view and passion to win the lost and made great lifelong friends.