Chapel attendance should be required for all students, not simply because we are a Nazarene school, but because it’s worth it for all students.
Unfortunately, many of our students do not take advantage of this time to worship as a campus community. We’ve all seen and heard them: the kids who sit while others are standing, who rudely talk during chapel speakers, and listen to music on their phones. I get it. This forty-five minute block of standing, singing, and sitting in really comfortable seats while someone tells you about their journey is really inconvenient.
I don’t think of chapel as something that is forced on me. I think of it it as time that the school has set aside for me, out of my busy schedule, to be in community with my fellow students. It’s a time where I can stop running around and be with people who want to be with God, just like me. Chapel is where I can be still and know that he is God.
In some ways, chapel is already “optional.” You can show up, scan your card, and sit down; but if you’re not listening or engaging, then you’re not really there. Many times we’ve heard that our church is not a building, but made of people. Why miss a chance to be in the presence of people who are really in love with being followers of Christ?
All people worship differently. Some people raise their hands with their voices and sing praise to God. Some stand, quietly singing while trying not to be off-key. Some even worship by sitting and praying quietly. In some way, shape, or form, these people are worshipping. For those who are on their phones or talking, how do you worship? Are you really worshipping while talking about that TV show yesterday?
One excuse that people have for not wanting to go to chapel is that they are too busy or too tired. And this is definitely true of ENC students. Some have full course loads and are busy trying to get homework done, and they are just tired. Some people have been up all night doing homework and then had to get up early to go to practice and only got four hours of sleep, and they are tired. Sometimes, you are so tired that you can’t even stand.
But that’s exactly why I think chapel should be mandatory. You don’t have to stand up and dance and wave your arms around. You don’t have to scream lyrics so God can hear you. Instead, you can just be still.
Psalm 46:10 says, “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’”
Let the community of your peers who are worshipping, who are lifting you up in their hearts, be a comfort to you. Sit, stand, sing, or be silent. The important part is that you are taking time out of your day to be with people who—even though you don’t share the same beliefs with—want to be there for you. They could be strangers who have no clue what your name is. But you are with us. You can rest in the comfort of God.
Chapel is a place where students should all be together so worship together. Chapel is worth the fifty minutes of being away from classes and school work. It’s worth the hassle of standing for a few minutes and singing—even if you’re off-key. It’s worth listening to someone share their story. It’s worth looking into the Word with your fellow ENC students. Chapel should be mandatory because it’s worth it.