Cadet Ryan Miller issues a challenge

The following is the Commencement address given by Cadet Ryan Miller on Friday, June 11, 1010. Edited for publication.

The Prayer Warriors started this journey nearly two years ago as individuals with wide ranging academic backgrounds and careers. As a class, we had limited knowledge of theology, biblical studies, and the other subjects taught at Crestmont—what we did know was limited and based on popular Christianity and culture. Now, after an amazing journey with many twists and turns, we have collectively experienced unbelievable growth.

Our Crestmont experience has enabled us to dig through biblical texts to find the original meaning for the original audience and then transfer this meaning in an effective and relevant way within our current contexts. We have gained the tools to ensure we are using all of the funds entrusted to us so that they do the most good. In short, this is not the same group of people that walked through these doors 21 months ago. We are now equipped and united to go out into the communities to serve suffering humanity, save souls, and grow saints. This school has inspired us to dream big dreams and equipped us to fulfill them.

Each of the officers and teaching staff here has invested significant time and energy into the cadets. Their investment shows in creative classes that speak to this diverse group while maintaining a focus on what is needed for the mission. Through their modeling—of leadership and a positive attitude—we learned how to empower others to fulfill their dreams and we have developed connections that will enable us to reach out to others. Most importantly, our experiences have led us into deeper encounters with God, strengthening our trust and relationship with him.

Thank you—officers, staff, parents, friends, soldiers and friends of The Salvation Army—for all that you have done to form us into who we are. Today, as we celebrate academic accomplishments, the first step in our becoming official partners in the gospel as Salvation Army officers, we reflect on our growth and look forward to using this knowledge in meeting the needs of suffering humanity and expanding the kingdom of God.

As we continue our journey, I offer a challenge. I challenge all here assembled and all who will read this, to continue the mission in whatever role and context you find yourself. Whatever you do, and wherever you do it, find ways to meet the needs of people and bring them into an encounter with God. As our diverse class has shown, this is a challenge for everyone no matter what mistakes we have made or what we may or may not be able to do. No matter who you are, God can use you to fulfill his mission. We are never beyond being used by God—through his power we are transformed and given the strength and wisdom that we need. May your life’s purpose be to love people and love God.

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