Mythbusting: What chapel is, and what it isn't

Mythbusting: What chapel is, and what it isn’t

By Janelle Higdon

Christian universities and Christian colleges are known for offering frequent chapel services. What they contain, and how often they are offered, vary widely from school to school.

Daily chapel is a unique distinguisher. A Christian university that offers chapel every day is expressing a deep commitment to the spiritual growth of its students.

These are the campus communities where students, faculty, and staff gather on a daily basis to learn about God, worship Him through music and prayer, and more. It’s a powerful image. There’s love in that community. And there’s corporate spiritual encouragement.

Sometimes people get the wrong idea about daily chapel

We took some time to myth-bust the chapel experience. Here are our lists of what you should and shouldn’t expect to experience in chapel at a Christian college.

What daily chapel is not

  • It is not the silver bullet for your spiritual life
    If you’re struggling in your faith, it is very possible that daily chapel will encourage you. But it should absolutely not be the only thing you look to for help if you’re struggling in your spiritual walk.Be sure to take time to focus on reading the Bible, praying, and finding community with other believers outside of chapel. If you haven’t formed healthy spiritual habits on your own while you’re in college, you may also struggle to implement them when you graduate and no longer have chapel every day.
  • It is not supposed to feel like youth group
    If you’re looking for a peppy feel-good experience, daily chapel is not where you should search. Daily chapel at the college level is a step up in maturity from your youth group days.If you don’t feel like you’re being entertained, you’re in the right place. It’s not about that. Think instead about what you can learn. Consider the scripture that you’re being taught. Evaluate the theology. Take notes when you find a point challenging or encouraging.
  • It is not nap time or phone time
    Most colleges build in plenty of opportunities for you to skip chapel if you have an exam to study for or just need to catch up on your z’s. So if you don’t think you can stay awake, you can use one of your chapel skips and take a nap.Regarding using your phone during your chapel. Well, it’s pretty rude. Unless you are tweeting your favorite quote or taking notes, putting away your phone is probably the best course of action. Show respect to the speaker.
  • It is actually not about you
    More about this later, but daily chapel (just like church) should be about Jesus.

What daily chapel is

  • It is a free opportunity for daily spiritual encouragement
    I know that you might be saying, “but I’m paying big tuition dollars for this.” Yes, of course the Christian community is part of the experience that you are paying for at your university. Think of it this way—you are getting to hear distinguished speakers, pastors, faculty, without having to pay an entrance fee.Imagine what it would cost for you to attend a secular university, and also to pay to go to religious conferences and presentations every week. Daily chapel presents you with this experience as a convenient, integral part of your day.
  • It is a time to be united with your peers
    The amazing thing about community on a Christian university campus is that you and your peers (and the faculty and staff) all share a common bond in Christ. Imagine worshiping Him together every day. It tears down walls of petty differences and celebrates the salvation that you share in, by grace. What could possibly be more joy-filled than that?
  • It is about Jesus
    As mentioned earlier, even though chapel is an amazing opportunity for your own personal spiritual growth, if you remain internally focused, you will not find it fulfilling forever. This is because chapel is actually about Jesus. It’s all about Him.Why do we gather for daily chapel at Christian colleges and universities? It’s not student-torture hour. It’s intended to give glory to the King. The God of all creation. He made you, and saved you, and chapel is an hour out of your day in which you can be intentional about worshiping Him.

So next time someone gives you an eye roll about attending daily chapel, don’t go along with the grumbling. Bust the chapel myth and grow in your faith.

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