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Student Perspectives — SEUConf 2024

Praise moment from SEUConf

SEU Conference (SEUConf) is an annual event that includes three days of transformative worship and powerful messages from guest speakers. It’s something that students and faculty alike look forward to each year, and has definitely been one of the many highlights of our time at SEU. Yet, depending on what stage of life someone is in, this week can mean different things to different people. In light of this, we share our individual perspectives on SEUConf, reflecting on its meaning for us this year, and considering its significance in our future experiences.

Serving and Connecting with Our Community — David’s Perspective 

Conference is a place to dream. Dreaming beyond tomorrow, next week, next year, or even the next decade. Dreaming with God can take you anywhere, and at SEUConf, dreams are celebrated. These dreams wouldn’t be possible without those willing to volunteer to dream. I was a volunteer for each session of the conference over the span of three days. There was a preservice rally before each session for a time of prayer and fellowship. At these meetings, you could sense the presence of God during prayer and everyone was genuinely excited to serve at Conference this year. 

There were different service groups for each session, like outside greeters, door holders, ushers and scanners, and people to set up displays. Serving as an outside greeter and doorholder gave me the opportunity to meet new people who came from local high schools, churches, and cities. I even got to meet some SEU partner site students who traveled to Lakeland from out of state. I spoke with them about their dreams and expectations for what God was going to do in each of their lives. Conference created this space for close personal relationships, even over a span of three days. I have never felt more connected to my college community than at SEUConf, and being able to serve while attending allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and dream with others whom I normally wouldn’t interact with. 

Thanking the Lord for Two Places I Can Call Home — Emma’s Perspective 

The Lord generously blessed me with two places to call home — my family’s home in the Dallas/Fort Worth area as well as my college home on the SEU’s Lakeland campus — and that warms my heart. I told my good friends at home that they should attend SEU Conference — they’d be able to visit Lakeland, see my wonderful college home, immerse themselves in the great culture here at SEU, and especially see the place that’s helped shape me into the person I am today. 

Once the idea was thrown out there, my friends quickly latched onto it, booked their flights, and committed to attending SEU Conference and visiting me! I loved planning all the fun things for us to do here as well as getting to host them. While they were here, they truly got to see why I love SEU so much. I gave them a campus tour, we hung out in Portico, and of course, attended the Conference sessions. Our favorite day was the second one with Lisa Harper and Charles Metcalf. Both of their sermons were incredibly powerful and kept me hooked the entire time. The Lord spoke directly and divinely to each of our personal situations. 

My friends really enjoyed worship and got some great wisdom from the speakers as well. They fit right in! Although they were all from out of state, the culture and atmosphere of SEU Conference made them feel at home. Additionally, all of us have been praying about the individual ‘God dreams’ in our hearts by submitting to the Lord. In general, there were several times of impactful prayer and worship where I heard the Lord speaking directly to me about walking out in obedience to see the dreams He has for my life come to fruition. 

As a current junior at SEU, questions involving career and post-graduate plans have been swirling around in my head. This past fall, every time I would visit home, I would feel a small tug on my heart about finishing SEU online and pursuing some opportunities at my church back home. Although this was exciting, it also brought a lot of fear and anxiety. I wanted to make the right decision and be obedient, but it felt hard because I love the place and community SEU has brought me on our Lakeland campus. But, I was also extra sad when I left home after winter break this year. 

After a period of lengthy and intense prayer along with wisdom from spiritual leaders and my parents, I decided that finishing SEU through the partner site at my home church would be beneficial for my education and career journey. Luckily, SEU makes it so easy to connect with counselors and get all the resources you need to make the switch! 

I am very grateful my circle of friends from home could experience and see SEU, especially the conference because it is such a niche and special event that I truly wanted them to experience here before I go online.

Finding Confidence in God’s Faithfulness — Mia’s Perspective

The theme for this year’s SEUConf was “Dream.” The heart behind this was to invite us all to dream again — a true God dream for our lives with the faith to believe that God has more for us than we could ever dream of or imagine. For me, this theme was right on time. And this year, being my last Conference as I prepare to graduate, was bittersweet. 

For some of us, seeing the end of college nearing feels like stepping into the unknown. Most college seniors feel like they have to have every single next step planned out, and not knowing what your next steps are after graduation can be terrifying. This transition period is when lots of doubts and uncertainties start to creep in. Sometimes, the dreams and goals you’ve set for yourself for years get lost along the way. We find ourselves wrestling with the question, “What is my dream, and how do I navigate the uncharted waters of adulthood to make it a reality?”

Central to the SEUConf experience are the multiple guest speakers, who each bring their own set of wisdom. There was something in each message that resonated deeply with me, and something I really appreciated was each speaker’s willingness to be vulnerable and honest with us, sharing their past struggles and the faithfulness of the Lord through it all. It was during these messages, and the beautiful times of worship, that I felt Him reminding me that He remains with me, and as long as I kept my eyes on Him and trusted Him with my dreams, He would lead me and guide me through. I don’t have to worry about my future because it is already secure. 

As I’m writing this, I am reminded of Psalm 37:4 which says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” When you delight in the Lord, His desires become your desires, and what He desires for you is so much greater than anything you could desire for yourself. And so, if there is one thing I took away from this year’s SEUConf, it’s to start dreaming again. Not just any dreams, but God-sized dreams, no matter how uncertain and impossible they may seem. For He who promised is faithful, and He will never lead us astray. 

Looking back on my years at SEU, I will forever be grateful for and never forget the experiences I’ve had, the friends that I’ve shared them with, and the ways in which the Lord continues to show up and care for His people.

Still Standing 

As we collectively reflect on SEU Conference, it becomes more than an annual event to us — it’s a testament to the dedication, prayer, and meticulous planning that goes into creating an environment where students and staff encounter God and find inspiration for the future. 

Next year’s Conference theme has been announced, and in 2025, we’ll be “Still Standing.” For more information and updates, check out the SEU Conference website. 

Written by Mia Golding, David Jarett, & Emma Stern, Student Writers 

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