Baylor Chapel opportunities continue to expand, meeting students where they are in their faith
Since the very beginning, Chapel has been an integral part of the Baylor experience — but naturally, Chapel doesn’t look the same as it did 175 years ago — or even 25 years ago. After all, 20,000 students now call Baylor home, each at different steps along their faith journey — so one size definitely doesn’t fit all.
That’s why Spiritual Life is creating a wide variety of Chapel opportunities that are built around students — working to meet them where they are: in their interests, in their majors, in their giftings, etc. The ideal Chapel is a combination of great content and experience that takes students beyond the classroom; in these spaces, students find people who care about them, not about what they can achieve.
— For students looking to put hands and feet to the Gospel, there’s the “Service Chapel.” In this two-semester Chapel experience, students both serve the community and learn how to lead others in service. With everything from Steppin’ Out to the MLK Day of Service, students will be integral in planning and leading those experiences for the Baylor community.
— “Faith and Arts: Interior Design” helps interior design students think about how design matters for sacred spaces. One example: These students will help design the prayer tent used on campus for the annual worship event, FM72.
— Recognizing that students spending a semester studying abroad may have profound spiritual awakenings and questions, “Chapel Abroad” offers guidance in processing the ways one’s faith may be challenged by such a new experience. Baylor students scattered all over the world can meet online to discuss how their time outside the U.S. is challenging and expanding them.
These are just three of literally dozens of Chapel experiences offered to Baylor students today. Some are based on students’ majors and academic studies (think “Faith and Nursing” or “Faith and Business”). Others bring together students in their residence halls to dive deeper in their faith together. Still others add an extra layer to campus ministries like Vertical and Cru, or common interests like athletics and Greek life. And yet others look more like traditional church services, focused on corporate worship and prayer.
“Every single Chapel is grounded in spiritual formation,” says Rev. Dr. Erin Moniz, Baylor’s Director for Chapel. “Baylor is so rich with all of these experiences and people and ways we’re thinking about our students and their spiritual formation, so for Chapel, it’s not so much about something new as it is about finding ways for Chapel to come alongside existing programs and opportunities.”
With such an expanded Chapel lineup, BU’s Office of Spiritual Life has come alongside faculty, staff, resident chaplains and community leaders to create and lead these Chapels, taking what is already happening on campus and creating a more structured experience for students.
“I don’t know where else this would work,” Moniz continues. “Baylor has a unique identity in that everyone already cares. If we can just provide them resources and support, they’re excited to do it — and that makes this doable.”
Sic ’em, Chapel!