This semester, Oklahoma Christian University received a grant to help support chapel and the spiritual life of students, staff and faculty. Since chapel plays a major role in student spiritual life, this grant will act as an opportunity to improve it.
Assistant professor of Bible Alden Bass has been guiding the grant process, as it is a new concept for Oklahoma Christian. Bass said there are various aspects such as worship, Bible studies and community builders which provide the basis for chapel time.
“They’re all spiritual works,” Bass said. “I’m involved in this because I want to see how all these pieces fit together. But chapel is primarily worship, and when I say worship, I mean primarily acts which engage our heart to our body.”
The proposed grant was modeled after other universities like the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship who spend time giving money to churches and universities which then goes to the project of spiritual empowerment and lifestyle.
Bass said the grant will contain a twofold process as chapel evolves.
“One, we want to think about what our university campus looks like, as opposed to both but they’re very different. University worship, at least where there’s church worship,” Bass said.
Oklahoma Christian is in the process of hiring someone to handle the grant and the structure chapel will take after it is applied.
In the meantime, Bass and other faculty in the Bible department will ask the student body how they feel chapel can be improved. Multiple open meetings have already been held in the Brew to discuss these matters.
Freshman Sydney Byers said even though this is her first year, she feels this will be a good opportunity for Oklahoma Christian.
“I’m really excited. It seems like a good opportunity if there’s more funds to do different things,” Byers said. “I think it’s great because there are people like you and me who will show up and want to improve it.”
Bass said this grant also allows for more aspects in chapel which appeal to audiences who might not be from a Church of Christ background.
“The university is quite diverse, with a lot of different backgrounds,” Bass said. “So thinking through some of those challenges of what was working, what wasn’t really just a bigger philosophy, ‘what are we doing?’ ”
The grant was given to cater to different aspects and backgrounds at Oklahoma Christian. It also provides an avenue for new ideas from students, faculty and staff to improve chapel overall.
Byers said if there are more options for students to share their ideas and opinions besides meetings, then it will foster major improvements.
“I know some people are shy and don’t want to speak, even in small groups,” Byers said. “So that’s the only thing I can think of which might be better.”
Spiritual life at Oklahoma Christian is gradually adding more aspects to chapel in an attempt to revive it.
“It’s overwhelmingly one way or another, but often the most valuable thing is hearing the Gen Z perspective on things I might not even take into account. That’s really important for me to hear,” Bass said.
For more information on the chapel grant, or if there’s any suggestions or questions, email Bass at email@example.com or attend the next open meeting on Oct. 20 in the Brew.