One of Grove City College’s most distinctive features – Chapel – is undergoing an important transformation this year to provide students with a more fulsome experience in Christian formation.
“We want to better serve students and provide some fresh ways to help them become the people that God has created and called them to be,” said Rev. Donald D. Opitz, chaplain and senior director of Christian Formation.
Traditional twice-a-week 25-minute Chapel services are being superseded by multiple opportunities each week that are designed to help students develop a deeper understanding of Biblical truth in a nurturing Christian community while earning 12 Chapel credits per semester.
The new schedule includes a worship service each Wednesday in Harbison Chapel that Opitz said will be “anchored in the Word and that exalts Lord Jesus.” In addition to singing and preaching, the longer service will make it possible to incorporate components such as testimonies, reflection, and more music and prayer into the experience. This revision is being considered on a pilot basis and will be reviewed at the end of the academic year.
“In order for Grove City College graduates to provide wise and creative leadership in the church, we are convinced that we need to model and include students in the leadership of robust, biblical worship,” Opitz said.
Another weekly opportunity will be Formation Fridays, in which students can participate in campus wide group Bible studies and other gatherings focused on Scripture, reflection, and prayer addressing important issues of the day. The program will be augmented by an array of smaller groups led by faculty, coaches, administrators, and leaders from Student Life and Learning centered on a particular discipline, book, or spiritual practice.
Also in the mix, is a convocation-style Faith for Life lecture series on Wednesday evenings. The series, which was launched in the fall, features a mix of speakers, including faculty and nationally known Christian thinkers who consider the implications of Christian faith for life in God’s world.
This spring the series focuses on “Faithfulness in Full Bloom” with a lineup featuring: Kevin DeYoung, senior pastor of Christ Covenant Church, Matthews, N.C.; Brian Bolt, dean for education and professor of kinesiology, Calvin University; alumna and author Diana Gruver ’12; Susan Van Zanten, dean and professor of humanities and literature, Christ College of Valparaiso University; and singer-songwriter Joy Ike.
The changes reflect the College’s 2016-21 strategic plan goals and objectives, including a comprehensive study of programming and student opinion surveys conducted in 2019 by College administration and former Chaplain D. Dean Weaver. Under the direction of Opitz, the Chapel program has been reorganized and renamed the Christian Formation Office.
For more about Christian Formation at Grove City College, visit gcc.edu/formation.