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: Elizabeth Killough
Ready To Speak chapel at Oklahoma Christian University encourages students in the College of Biblical Studies to practice bringing the Word of God to an audience, specifically their peers.
Implemented over 10 years ago, Ready To Speak chapel is one of the oldest specialty chapels on campus. The chapel meets Tuesdays at 11 a.m. in Scott Chapel, and the purpose and drive is the same as when the chapel first began — to provide an opportunity for Bible and ministry majors to speak publicly in front of a different crowd of listeners.
Jim Baird, professor of Bible and philosophy, is the coordinator and organizer of the chapel. He schedules the speakers and greets those who enter Scott Chapel. A schedule is sent around the first Tuesday meeting of the semester, and students are given the opportunity to sign up for dates to present during the chapel time.
“I really do think that the chance to speak the Bible into others’ lives is a privilege in the church, whether you’re doing that in a super high format or in a simple Bible study in your house,” Baird said. “It is exciting, to me, to see men and women who are serious enough about wanting to be good at that that they are willing to get up in front of their peers and take a stab at it.”
Baird said he loves Oklahoma Christian’s break-out chapels, because they give students a chance to make their faith their own and to have unique opportunities to live out active faith.
“We have classes that give them some practice in that, but we thought that if we had a chapel where they could do that, and their peers could participate, than that would be an extra venue to hone their skills,” Baird said.
The chapel begins with songs led by a student, and then the speaker is given eight minutes to present a short lesson. Following the speaker, another student leads a closing prayer. Junior Bible student Sam Bogan is the student chaplain in charge of orchestrating the participants for each meeting. He said he participates and attends the chapels to encourage his fellow students.
“I really love that it is one of our peers speaking and that it is someone who is striving to do something in ministry someday,” Bogan said. “They are learning how to share a thought from their heart and how to give a message.”
Following the lesson, faculty members present a live response with constructive feedback. In addition, audience members are sent an invitation to provide electronic feedback on the presentation. Bogan said he enjoys being able to give critiques and comments to those who present, so the students know what they did well and on what they could improve.
Senior Bible major Rett Parker is a regular attendee of Ready To Speak chapel and said he does not miss an opportunity to participate in some way. He attends the chapel each time it meets and speaks at least once a semester. Parker said he has done this every semester of his college career and is glad he made this his habit.
“I try to go every time I can, because I feel like if they are going to listen to me, then I want to be there to listen to them,” Parker said.
Parker said he appreciates this chapel, because it is a place for Bible students to practice their skills and to receive feedback, not only from their professors but the Oklahoma Christian community.