Revamped campus worship captures student curiosity

Members of the praise and worship team. Photo by Jaden Hostetter, Hesston College Marketing and Communications

The doors open, and Hesston College students grab their glow bracelets and begin to dance to “Alive” by Hillsong, played by the praise and worship team. Chairs are added to the room as students pile in, and campus worship begins.

People are coming out to campus worship in great numbers this year.  Attendance is up, and the music and atmosphere add a new twist from past years. Chapel/forum credit is offered. Worship teams dedicate hours of practice, and Ministry Assistants brainstorm new themes and ideas for each Sunday night. Luke Hertzler, an MA, was a part of the changes made this year and reflected on his experience so far.

By Luke Hertzler – Guest Writer

Every Sunday night you’ll find students gathered around a campfire discussing plans for the year and fears about the year, or listening to our beloved science professor Jim Yoder relate water to our lives, or hear one of our own peers share vulnerably, and then worship God with great music about power and love.

As an MA, I have a hand in planning campus worship. This year, we, as an MA team, wanted the campus to get hyped about campus worship because we believe that campus unity and support is important, and there’s something special about worshipping the Creator with your peers.

President Joe Manickam speaks about race. His daughter Faith, a freshman, stands to his left. Photo by Jaden Hostetter, Hesston College Marketing and Communications

We thought, “Why not offer chapel credit to those who come for the first ones?”

We came up with this idea because a lot of people probably don’t even know what campus worship is and when and where it’s happening. So our goal was to just get people there, and then they can see what it’s like for themselves. I like to compare it to Jesus feeding the five thousand. He used food to bring people together, and then he weaved his ministry into that.

We’re feeding people with chapel credit, but then hoping that they get something so much more out of the experience on top of that.  These events get people interested and curious, and then it’s our job as a community to  follow up on that interest and curiosity.

Campus worship is a gathering of the student community to worship together, listen to speakers, and discern what God is calling us to do in our own lives. But the vision of campus worship is something that needs to be continued throughout the whole year.

Our goal as an MA team is to provide space for spiritual growth on campus, but I like to say we’re here mainly to hang out, make relationships, and listen.

I’m involved because I love God and love people. I want to see people live out their greatest potential. Even before I got on campus, I felt as though this year would be special in the ministry realm. I prayed for hearts to be opened and for a revival to happen.

After the first campus worship, I felt my prayers coming to life. The Holy Spirit’s presence has been felt by a lot of people at the campus worships so far. As I sat listening to voices coming together to sing songs of praise around the campfire that first Sunday night, I saw a vision of us being the church. I saw us growing in numbers to reach out to all cultures, backgrounds, and ethnicities. Chills ran down my spine. I stopped singing for a moment to thank God for what He was doing on campus and what he would do in the future. It has truly been an incredible first few weeks in terms of spiritual growth for a lot of people, and I know that others and myself have felt the Holy Spirit telling us that more is to come.

I invite you to be a part of this revival on campus by seeking out and joining campus worship, prayer groups, accountability groups, and Bible studies. The Holy Spirit is moving, so we might as well follow and see where it takes us.


What’s happening at the next campus worship?

When: September 24

Where: Campus Worship Room in Keim Center

Speaker: Luke Hertzler

Topic: Pursue Your Purpose

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