‘The Bible story is our story’: What Baylor Chapel looks like this fall
Chapel has been a tradition at Baylor literally since the university’s beginning — but over the years, it has taken a lot of different forms. It was something every student took every year until the student body grew too big to congregate in one place; in more recent decades, it has transformed from Chapel to Chapel-Forum to Forum and back to Chapel again as the programming focus has adjusted with the times.
This year, Baylor Chapel — like so many traditional gatherings — has gone online. The upside of that is that, for the first time, Chapel’s doors are now open to the entire Baylor Family — and not just for a “camera in the back of the room” situation, but a specially crafted worship service, open to all via Facebook.
For Baylor’s first 100 years, the entire BU community would gather for Chapel, until the student body grew too big for all to attend.
— Baylor University (@Baylor) August 25, 2020
“When you’re in a crisis, you need something that precedes it and outlasts it,” says Matthew Aughtry, assistant director for worship, technology and communications. “It’s a different format, but it’s a reminder saying, ‘The Bible is true. Jesus is true throughout the ages. There’s a solid rock on which to stand.’”
With this new technological approach also comes a renewed teaching approach, moving through the story of Scripture over the course of this year. A combination of of student and faculty voices, art and music, and messages designed to help students grow in their understanding of the Gospel arc is delivered to students twice each week as 15 to 20-minute programs.
“We’re trying to help students understand that the Bible story is our story,” says University Chaplain Burt Burleson (BA ’80). “We know what it’s like to be exiled, to be in covenant, and want to help students see that ‘the stories I read in Scripture have relevance for me.’”
Pastors from a variety of local churches share the weekly messages — a purposeful decision by Spiritual Life designed to connect students to local church bodies. “In this time that it’s harder to visit churches, or they’re more online,” Aughtry says, “maybe you’ll see a pastor preaching and want to visit their church.”
Sic ’em, Baylor Chapel!