Editors Note: To increase opportunities for spiritual development, more than 11 different chapels are offered at Oklahoma Christian University. Assistant Features Editor Cynthia Knox organized this series to provide insight and encourage attendance of alternative chapels available to students. These stories were executed by students in a sophomore-level journalism class. We would like to thank the sponsors for their willingness to share their chapel with the Talon. If you attend this chapel, please comment and share your experience with the Oklahoma Christian community.
Coffee with Christ, a weekly devotional, is an outlet where college students from all walks of faith can come together and learn in a discussion based student-led devotional.
Coffee with Christ is a student-led, open forum devotional held in the Brew at 9 a.m. on Thursdays. Corey Baird, who has been in ministry for more than 10 years and is the college minister at New Hope Church of Christ in Edmond, OK, facilitates the event.
Before becoming the college minister at New Hope, Baird was the youth minister. He said he wanted to give students a place to meet together and share ideas.
“I have loved to see the enthusiasm it’s created,” Baird said. “I didn’t know what it could or should look like, I just knew there needed to be an opportunity to get students involved and let them have a voice. The leaders [no longer] back away from leading but are excited to do so again when they get the chance.”
Each week, Baird asks a different student to lead the group and choose the topic. He said the weekly topics have included current issues, addictions, textual studies, excerpts from devotional books and anything else students want to talk about. According to Baird, 10-15 students usually attend.
“We are a little more inclined to let the Spirit lead,” Baird said. “I try not to be too directing with a sermon. The topics are mostly at the discretion of the speaker.”
“College students need to feel like they can be heard,” Baird said. “They understand there are places they can bring up stuff that matters, and it is not out of the realm to talk about it with other people to have discussions.”
Junior Hannah Harold attends Coffee with Christ every week and has led the discussion in the past. She said she enjoys the discussion-based small group setting because that is how she learns best. Harold also said she appreciates there is not just one “type” of person who comes, but students from all backgrounds.
“I think discussion-based learning is personal and it can become really intimate,” Harold said. “It can be a really encouraging system to have, making a bigger community a little bit smaller. It is welcoming and easy to fit in.”
Senior Caleb Ruff is a member of New Hope Church of Christ and began attending Coffee with Christ when it was still a high school Bible study, and stayed as it transitioned into a student led devotional for college students.
“It is really cool, because the majority of the time, it’s student-led,” Ruff said. “A person who regularly attends will be in charge of the lesson that week. When you lead, you can talk about anything you want. One week, someone talked about a Bible story. One week, someone read from a devotional book. It is also discussion-based. Students lead, but then we have a list of discussion questions we typically answer.”
Ruff said one of the most spiritually uplifting moments he has experienced at Coffee with Christ was when a fellow student shared the “Serenity Prayer” as their devotional thought. Then, others in the group began to share their experiences with addictions — with a friend, a family member or themselves.
“One person sharing their experience with the Serenity Prayer lead to everyone feeling comfortable sharing their experiences with the group,” Ruff said. “Coffee with Christ is a good time to relax with others and grow closer to one another as you grow closer to God.