By Austin Fraley
This semester has already seen some big changes with the ending of the President’s Ambassadors program among other things. Another change that is coming is the restructuring of the Tuesday morning Campus Worship Chapel service. Starting this semester, the amount of Campus Worship services per semester will shift from approximately six to approximately three.
Campus Minister Bryan Langlands has said that although low attendance has a little to do with this, the main decision for the shift was a response to where the student investment is.
Langlands explained, “With all the evening opportunities for worship such as Rooted, Thursday Night Seconds, Devos and Depth Groups, it just makes more sense to work with and try to make even stronger areas where there is already strong student investment.”
One question commonly asked among prospective students when touring campus is if we have regular chapel. Langland’s vision is that eventually the response will resemble, “Yes we have it every Tuesday, it’s called Rooted,” or “Yes, it’s every Thursday, it’s called Thursday Night Seconds.” This same response could apply to other campus worship groups as well.
In this way, the hope is to eventually turn Chapel into somewhat of an umbrella ministry for all the evening ministries that already have student support.
This process is still in development, but ideas for how to put this into action are already underway. One of these ideas is to bring back the Holy Week traditions on campus. Traditionally, during Holy Week different ministries would combine to do worship and service projects on different days.
The Chapel Team would ideally become a group that does less by itself, but which can host these combined services. These traditions have been absent for quite some time and it is estimated that it would take some work to get them back. Yet, Langlands and the Chapel Team agree this change will be, in the end, worth it.
As for the chapel service itself, Langlands hopes that the shift will actually make Campus Worship even better than it has been in the past. “We’re really trying to do more with less,” he says. “Rather than have several somewhat known speakers, having fewer services will allow us to bring in fewer, but more well-known and impactful speakers.”
This decision was influenced by the amazing turnout for Sujo John’s 9/11 story last semester, which has provided insight into the direction the team wants the chapel service to move towards.
As with all things shifting, Langlands and the Team emphasize that it is important to note that this is still in the process of changing. In the final stages, things may not be exactly as expected or planned.
Whatever the outcome, Langlands and the Chapel Team are hopeful that this will improve the ministry on campus rather than hinder it.