STULIFE Spiritual Life

Discipleship

Discipleship is who we are at Taylor. It's serving others, even when it's hard. It's recognizing the mess we all have and helping each other to grow through it. This is what the Taylor Towel is all about.  

Discipleship isn’t something we “do” at Taylor. It’s something we are. It weaves itself through every classroom door, speaks in every Chapel service, lives in every room. Discipleship is the professor who takes time after class to meet with a struggling student or the residence hall director who gently but firmly points out a weakness in need of correction. It’s the Dining Commons worker who learns all the student’s names and asks about their plans for break. Discipleship is the roommate who stays up late to listen and pray even though she has an early morning class. 

We understand, however, that being disciples doesn’t make us perfect. That’s why we have chosen the Taylor Towel as a symbol of our commitment to serve the body of Christ. This Towel, given at commencement, has been a Taylor tradition since 1983, and is a symbol of our call to live a life of service to the Lord and to others. In receiving the Towel, each graduate is challenged to accept the risks and the joys that go along with being servant leaders to a world in need. 

It reminds us our service doesn’t start after graduation, out in the “real world.” There will be plenty of messes in need of cleaning up right here on campus—broken relationships, passionate differences of opinion, and even unfulfilled expectations. All these messes are found in our own community, in our lives, and in our own hearts.

We have chosen the Towel as a reminder of those messes, to not be surprised when living in community is hard, uncomfortable or disappointing. It reminds us of the ever present “dirtiness” of life, which must be constantly washed away through God’s grace and mercy. 

Discipleship is “taking up the towel” in mutual submission to one another. Helping others to clean their own messes and at the same time, allowing them to help us clean ours. Doing life together, that’s discipleship.