*This post is part of a series designed to document my last semester of graduate school. Bookmark this website, or subscribe by email (check the sidebar) to receive every update.
One of the great new experiences of attending a Christian college is the existence of chapel services. Having gone to public schools and universities all of my life, the concept of going to a chapel service hosted by the school still feels a little foreign to me. For those who don't know, most Christian colleges hold chapel services that can be mandatory or voluntary for the students to attend. Here at Wheaton College, the undergraduate students are required to attend the three chapels services held every week. They are allowed 11 total misses a semester. Graduate students just have one chapel service each week (on Wednesday morning) and attendance is completely voluntary. Ah, the privileges of being a graduate student! On a side note, to hear professors talk about undergraduates is to listen to how parents talk about their young children. Undergraduates just cannot be trusted! (Having been one, I think I kinda agree)
What a chapel worship service typically looks like
The graduate chapel service runs about 40 min. and the first half is primarily a worship service followed by a short message by the graduate chaplain or a guest speaker. One of the unique benefits of being at Wheaton College is that our chapel guest speakers will often be world-class biblical scholars! Check out the Wheaton Grad Chapel Media Page to view some of the recent sermons given. I highly recommend Clayton Keenan's "Jesus: An Acquired Taste" delivered on September 4, 2013. Although there is not much extra space in the undergraduate chapel services (since the entire undergrad body is required to attend), I have sometimes taken advantage of the incredible guest speakers Wheaton brings in for them. Last fall, I got the pleasure to hear Ravi Zacharias and John Piper speak in chapel and then meet them briefly afterwards.
I can't wait to bust these pictures out in the future when I use an illustration or point by them
I have come to really appreciate the existence of chapel services at Wheaton College. The opportunities for the students and professors of different graduate departments to meet are so rare that chapel offers a weekly chance to worship God together, be reminded of our ultimate goals, and to fellowship with one another. We can so easily bury ourselves in our own academic endeavors that chapel offers the weekly reminder that all our endeavors are meant to serve one ultimate purpose, the love of God. After chapel, it's typical for a group to head to one of the school's restaurants called "The Stupe" to share lunch together. It's also a great opportunity to hear the word preached from unique voices, famous or not, that you may never get to hear from the pulpit of a church.
The grad chapel service takes place in the basement of the Billy Graham Center and it can be pretty difficult to find. It's simply impossible to coherently describe it to someone in under a minute. So this morning, I arrived to chapel service early and filmed the long and winding route that brings one to chapel.
So what has your experience with chapel at Christian colleges been like? Do you have any great stories to share? Feel free to share your comments!