Campus Life

Re-thinking our view of chapel

Admit it—chapel can be frustrating.

First of all, it’s required. There are definitely days I weigh my homework load against my number of chapel skips. In a single semester, Grace students are required to attend almost 50 chapel sessions. We demand creativity, uniqueness and humor from our speakers. We demand popular songs, conviction and good vocals from our worship band.

Unfortunately, the number of not-so-great chapel speakers seems to me to have risen this school year. Every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I would much rather write a paper than go to chapel. I wish every speaker had a brilliant sense of humor, fascinating information, and Kondo Simfukwe’s accent.

Chapel is one place on campus where most of the student body has gathered to hear the same information, yet we all process this information differently. Students on campus are at all stages of “spiritual maturity.” There are those who make the best Growth Group leaders, and there are those who skip Growth Group at all costs, with all other sorts in between.

This means each person has to approach chapel in his or her  own way. This year I have been spiritually burnt out and extremely apathetic.  I’m sure others feel the same way, while the rest are strongly passionate or somewhere in the middle.

How, then, are we to approach chapel? For me, there are several options:

1. Skip every day and get suspended.

2. Endure the hour by sleeping.

3. Same as above, but by crocheting.

4: Intentionally determine what good I can take away from a speaker’s message, then push away the bad.

Basically, chapel is not as much about entertaining us as it is about teaching us to separate the good from the bad around us. Living as a Christian in a secular, struggling world is all about discernment; learning within a Christian setting may instill in us enough good information that we instantly recognize the bad. Grace gives us a chance to learn as much as we can, and then it is up to us to learn to think for ourselves.

By analyzing the information we are given, and comparing it to the Bible and the views of intelligent people around us, we can determine what is good (other than Beta).

Chapel is a place where we can experience some controversy in a safe environment. Students are encouraged to get involved in chapel itself through Student Seminars, Communitas, and Missions Week. These events give us a chance to voice our own opinions and receive feedback; we continue to learn as we give and take our ideas and thoughts.

For those of us who are frustrated with chapel, how do we remain intentional in our busy lives? We need to make the most of this learning opportunity and fine-tune our discernment skills. Listen to what a speaker has to say, determine what is good and applicable, then push the rest aside.

Personally, I try to find at least one strong idea I can take away from chapel. By concentrating on the good, my overall attitude remains positive.

Story by Rachel J. Miner | Staff Writer | minerrj@grace.edu

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