After 175+ years, here’s what Chapel looks like today at Baylor
Chapel has been a significant part of the Baylor experience since the very beginning, and it remains an important part of each Baylor student’s experience. But after 175+ years, the size and setup of Chapel looks different than it did in 1845 — and probably different than when you attended. Why? Because campus now is home to some 20,000 students, each at different steps along their faith journey — which means one size definitely doesn’t fit all.
Chapel is now really chapels — plural. Students can choose from multiple options, from a traditional worship service, to a daily time of communal prayer, to a more small-group-style gathering. Each option aims to help students mature in their Christian faith.
Chapel options for the upcoming semester include profession-specific small-group chapels (like “Faith and Business” and “Faith and the Healing Professions”); chapels designed for creatives (“Theology Through Art,” “Faith and the Arts-Filmmaking”); and chapels designed for people with similar experiences (“Faith and Athletics,” “Faith and the Veteran”).
“It allows me to reflect on, ‘What do I believe?’, ‘How do I strengthen those beliefs?’, and ‘How do I really live out my faith?’” says Mari Sanchez, a junior finance major. “The Lord longs for a personal relationship, and I think Chapel does a great job of helping me look beyond Baylor.”
Each is designed to, as President Livingstone says, “really engage students spiritually and help them begin to think critically about their faith, and to begin to own their own faith.” Many choose to do so in a relational, small-group-style space, utilizing different types of learning and discussion, in a format that builds community and encourages deeper thought about their faith journey.
[Hear President Livingstone discuss the new formats on a Fall 2022 episode of Baylor Connections.]
The new approach began last year, spurred by insights gleaned from Baylor’s Faith and Character Study, a longitudinal study (meaning they survey each student over a period of time) gathering insights as students enter Baylor, when they graduate, and five years after graduation, examining spiritual growth and formation. The data helped the University determine formats that would really serve the spiritual development of today’s students, pointing them toward a deeper walk than where they arrived.
Sic ’em, Baylor chapel experiences!