Jeremy Lupinacci here, writing my last words as SMU president as this year comes to a close. First, I want to express how much of an honor it has been to serve in this position. As I wrap up my time as SMU president, I also wrap up my time at Biola, as I am graduating this semester as well. Looking back, there is nothing more I would have wanted than to serve the community I love in a way that I believe God has given me a passion for. All that to say, it has been the utmost honor.
Thinking back on my time serving, God has taught me so much. I can honestly say that I have never needed to depend more on Him than I have this year. But what a humbling and profound lesson, that kingdom work is not founded or rooted in our ability, but rather in God’s power and the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
I also think back to all the ways that God has moved this year. In all the moments, large and small, God was present and active. This year, we have sent out 16 short-term missions trips (including the trips being sent out this summer), sent both locally and globally, to La Mirada and North Africa. We also planned the 90th annual Missions Conference, with the theme Ambassador: Citizens of the Kingdom, where we were challenged to be ambassadors of the kingdom of God wherever we go and in whatever we do. We, as Biola students, truly embodied the vision God gave me for this year: that we would gather in worship and then scatter on mission.
I remember events like SMU Fall Day of Prayer Chapel, where Carly Micheal (next year’s SMU president) and I spoke on the long legacy and history of SMU. There was where we were all invited to press into God’s heart of prayer. It was eye-opening for me and Carly to research the history of SMU and see how students for the past 95 years have desperately been praying for God to send workers into the harvest field (Luke 10:02). It was encouraging to see how Biola students joined in this long legacy and gathered together in prayer at the prayer walk and prayer event throughout that day.
As I wrote about in the blog post I wrote at the beginning of the year, there are two ways to keep cattle in a certain area. The first way is to build a fence around the cattle, and the second way is to build a water well so that the cattle know that they need to stay in the area around the well. I believe that SMU was able to be a source of ministry, training, and community this year for those who wanted to get involved. It was extremely humbling to see God move in the ways He did as he called us to the work He set before us.
My prayer is that SMU continues to be a source of encouragement and support for those wanting to get a glimpse of God’s heart for the nations. I also pray that workers continue to be sent, and that students continue to draw closer to God in all that they do. This is a large mantle to continue running with, but I am fully confident that Carly will carry it with passion and dedication next year, always being rooted in prayer and always clinging onto God through all the work she does.
Thank you, Biola and thank you, SMU for all the ways you have blessed me these past three years. These will be memories I never forget. I’ll end with a verse God put on my heart at the beginning of the year that continues to have present meaning in my life: "In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).