May 23, 2024

I enjoy worshiping in chapel. It is a wonderful opportunity to focus on God without thinking about the horde of assignments waiting to be completed. But what if I do not know the songs?

Every student is required to go to chapel 15 times each semester. What some students see as a drawback, others see as a privilege. Writing off this opportunity when others cannot worship or acknowledge God publicly is insulting to those who place great value on it. The chapel band puts a great deal of thought and effort into assisting students with worship.

However, song choice has a major impact on students’ spiritual experiences in the Van Dyne Gym. Lately, I have noticed I do not recognize half the songs sung during worship. It is not usually a problem, as I learn songs quickly, but I cannot help but wonder how this affects worship for other students.

Singing a song, especially one that means something to the worshiper, has the potential to impact his or her worship experience.

That should be enough reason for the chapel band members to choose songs both they and their peers love to sing.

I realize the chapel band reserves the right to choose the songs with which they want to lead worship. There are songs that help them connect with the Holy Spirit more than others. As students, we must be cooperative and at least attempt to worship with the songs they choose.

Still, one component the chapel band needs to keep in mind is a song’s relevance with students. There are songs that students will know and love more than others. And there are songs like “You Are My All in All,” “All the Earth” and “Shout to the Lord” that I rarely hear in worship services, period. If I want to hear them, I have to seek them out.

That is not to say the chapel band cannot introduce new songs to students. That is a great way of educating them on new ways to communicate with God.

Introducing one new song in a two- or three-song set in each chapel and repeating it for memory is a great way to expand the audience’s ability to worship with the band.

The difference is this: If students know the songs, they are more likely to engage in worship, which will encourage the chapel band to engage with them. In this scenario, real fellowship with others and God takes place.

Ultimately, the focus should be on God. This is a time set aside to worship God without distractions, and that includes singing praises to God that everyone knows and enjoys.

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