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.
By Elise Miller
In addition to “Big Chapel,” which occurs every day, Oklahoma Christian University provides specialized chapels, such as Missions Chapel, to meet the interests and passions of all students and faculty on campus.
Missions Chapel meets every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. in Judd Theater, which is located in the Garvey Center. According to Bible Professor and Missions Chapel Coordinator Robert Carpenter, the idea for Missions Chapel began in a spur of the moment about seven years ago.
“Our previous Dean of the College of Biblical Studies, Dr. Alan Martin, was teaching up in Michigan and he came here to interview for a faculty position,” Carpenter said. “I knew that he had done a dissertation on the lost boys of Sudan and was on a really tight schedule. We couldn’t find a slot for the students to get to hear him, so we scheduled a special chapel session for him up in Scott Chapel. It started then [and] was not planned.”
According to Carpenter, Women’s and Seekers chapel were the only other options for students other than “Big Chapel.” For students such as senior Rachel Kelley, going to the variety of specialized chapels now offered make the kudos system at Oklahoma Christian more effective.
“I like to go to different chapels every day of the week,” Kelley said. “I started going to Missions Chapel somewhere between freshman and sophomore year. I heard people talking about it and I ended up really enjoying it, so I just kept going.”
The content for Missions Chapel varies from topics such as missions recruitment in the fall semester to general encouragement about fulfilling the Great Commission. Professors such as Ben Langford and students participate in prayers and missions panels throughout the year.
“In the fall, chapel tends to be about missions opportunities,” Carpenter said. “One of the things that was said was that when we have the recruiting Missions Chapels, they are not going to immediately impact a lot of people. Our speakers have been really good and cooperative in complying with that request.”
The organization of Missions chapel has changed since it originated in terms of location and attendance. Currently, the chapel’s average attendance fluctuates between 80 and 100 people each week.
“Along the way, we’ve varied the program,” Carpenter said. “For the first few years, we didn’t have women speaking and now we do. Also, [Judd] is more centrally located and sometimes people on the way to big chapel notice a flyer and get diverted into Missions Chapel.”
Senior Joshua Clements has participated in missions such as Let’s Start Talking in Malaysia and Chile. Despite his particular interest in international missions, Clements said he believes Missions Chapel provides students with local and international mission opportunities, as well as those abroad.
“I think Missions Chapel is one that gives lots of opportunities to serve God and to build His kingdom,” Clements said. “If you’re really looking for opportunities to serve in outreach efforts in the Oklahoma City area, volunteer at a church camp or to go overseas and do mission work. I think that Missions Chapel provides a lot of those opportunities.”
Carpenter said he encourages all students to attend Missions Chapel, because anyone can benefit from learning about what God is doing throughout the world.
“Students should choose to come to Missions Chapel if they have a curiosity about missions, or if they just happen to come, they will find out some things about missions that they didn’t know before,” Carpenter said. “I would say even for students who don’t necessarily have a passions about missions it’s an important way to find out what God is doing in the world.”