[Ask the Chaplain is a new series in which students can pose a question for the Chaplain to answer in the newspaper. If you would like to submit a question for Chaplain Corey MacPherson, email it to Veritas News editor-in-chief Cody Shepard.]
Almost all our chapel speakers were suggested to me by either Chaplains at other schools or members of the ENC community. I receive 75 to 100 requests a year from people and or their representatives/friends asking to speak in chapel. Students can e-mail me anytime with chapel speaker suggestions. There are some non-negotiable criteria when selecting speakers.
We must have a culturally diverse chapel calendar represented by men and women from different backgrounds and different Christian traditions that are faithfully committed to serving Jesus Christ and His Church.
Cultural diversity is a top priority for chapel. We are a very culturally diverse campus and we get to know one another better when we hear from pastors and leaders from different cultural traditions and backgrounds.
It is also important to hear from both men and women in chapel. While hearing a woman preach in chapel may be new for some, the Church of the Nazarene has ordained women since we first began as a church, and we believe their voices need to be heard in chapel.
We also strive to have local pastors speak in chapel because many of you attend their churches. For example, we’ve had Bishop Thompson from Jubilee Church, Aaron Cavin from Community, Roberto Miranda from Lion of Judah, Larry Kim from Cambridge ECC and Stephen Sharkey from High Rock Quincy, just to name a few. It is also a way to introduce students to local pastors and churches in case they have not yet found a church home.
Notice from the list above that we have speakers from different Christian traditions, which are the Holiness, Charismatic, Traditional, Social Justice and Evangelical traditions. Because these traditions reflect our student body we need to hear from speakers representing these traditions. My hope is that students will see someone from their own church tradition either speaking or leading us in worship through song.
In addition to the diversity of speakers from different Christian traditions, I also try to balance the calendar on the topics they discuss. It is important to have spiritual balance so some speakers will focus on our personal relationship with Christ, some on our relationships in Christian community and others on what it means to live as Christians through our relationships in serving the world.
Finally, there is a great deal of time spent in prayer and fasting on selecting our speakers. As I am praying and thinking about speakers, I try and listen to messages from those who have been suggested. It might be noted that perhaps not every chapel speaker will connect with every person. That does not mean, however, that God is not speaking through our speaker. So in those times where you feel like you are not getting much out of the message, I encourage you to pray for the speaker and those who need to hear the message; it may even be you.