Student-led Campus Worship services aim to build a stronger campus community
Story by Billy Liggett
For Heather Grantham, it’s more about doing something for her fellow students than it is about any personal gain. For Joel Grobbelaar, it’s about building a stronger community of students.
And for Cameron Hunt, it’s a hope that everyone can find their voice when it comes to speaking to God.
The new Campus Worship service means something special to each of the students who are making it happen Sunday nights in Butler Chapel. And each say the service’s success will be measured more by the impact it has on those who attend than the number of students who attend.
“We get so caught up in the daily rush of school work and activities, and I hope that Campus Worship will be a time for us students to just be still and listen to God and feel his presence in our lives,” said junior Lauren Gannon, one of the students selected by Campus Minister Faithe Beam to lead the program. “Even though I am part of the leadership team, I hope to learn and grow and improve my walk with God so that it reflects the Christ-like life I wish to lead.”
The idea behind the creation of Campus Worship, according to Beam, was to create a worshiping community on campus and educate students about worshiping … all while avoiding competition with churches and school schedules (hence the Sunday evening start times).
“We know students have a lot going on, but we spent a lot of time asking them what’s important to their college experience. From this, we created Campus Worship,” Beam said. “Students yearn to worship on this campus or in their homes, and it is our hope and prayer that this service will allow them this opportunity.”
The services will be led by students chosen from applications and interviews conducted in the fall. The heavy student involvement is what attracted Hunt, a native of Hamlet, N.C., and led him to sign up.
“We have many opportunities around Campbell to be involved in some form of worship, whether it’s Bible study, Campus Ministry groups or Connections,” Hunt said. “The thought of having a worship service that really tries to set itself apart and is able to connect with people in a special way … that sounds like an amazing opportunity for outreach on our campus.”
Grobbelaar, of Apex, said he hopes the services result in a “new culture of love.”
“A greater sense of community, a new passion for worshiping God, a better understanding of who Jesus is … These things have been burning in my heart over the past year and a half,”Grobbelaar said. “And now to see them taking on hands and feet and coming to reality? How could I do anything else but jump at the opportunity?”
Beam said the students chosen to run the services are offering a “pretty substantial commitment” to the program, and she hopes it will equate to large gatherings. Students like Grantham, a sophomore majoring in religion, meet weekly to choose the message, who’ll present it, the musicians and more.
The first service on Jan. 20 drew a crowd of approximately 120 students and members of the Buies Creek community.
“When you think about what Christ has done for us, it’s easy to want to put time into something that may be what brings others to him and his amazing love,” Grantham said. “For me, it’s not a chore or something that I look at as ‘What can I gain from this?’ It’s more, ‘What can we give to students that is invaluable?’ (We can give) a friend consistency and, most importantly, the love of Christ.”