July 25, 2024

Attending Chapel services is a large part of being a student at California Baptist University as students file into the Events Center every week for praise, worship and a message about God’s word.

Chapel is an opportunity for students to gather together and learn more about God, but few people realize all that goes on behind the scenes to make it all come together.

Brett Vowell, director of Chapel, said there are many teams of people involved in coordinating Chapel to make sure everything runs smoothly from beginning to end.

“Chapel consistently involves the Chapel worship team, media production team, set-up and tear-down team, stage managers, hospitality team, attendance scanners and monitors, plus professional CBU staff members who oversee programming, production, attendance and crowd management. Needless to say, there are a lot of people involved in each and every Chapel service,” Vowell said.

All of these groups play an important role behind the scenes in the making of a successful Chapel service. 

Elijah Hickman | CBU Banner Alex Iannone | Banner | Student workers in the main control room monitor sound and video during the second chapel service

Vowell said Chapel dates are planned at least a year in advance. Once the dates have been decided, invitations are sent out to speakers. When it comes to deciding which speakers to invite to CBU, there is always careful consideration.

“Among the criteria taken into consideration for a Chapel speaker is like-doctrine to that of the university that is engaging, relevant and applicable. We understand our chapel audience consists of varying denominational backgrounds and ethnic and cultural heritages and, therefore, we aim to bring speakers who are a reflection of that diversity,” Vowell said.

Along with the speakers, an important part of the service is worship. CBU’s Chapel worship team works hard to give the school a good experience and a chance to sing praises to God.

Leslie Gonzalez, junior worship arts and ministry major and part of CBU’s Chapel worship team, said rehearsals are Monday nights for both band and vocals. Along with Monday rehearsal, there is more preparation leading up to Tuesday morning Chapel.

“The night that we have rehearsals with all teams, (and) we also have sound check. Sound check is with the band and vocals who are leading on Tuesday. The morning of Chapel we also do another sound check,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez emphasized that being on worship team is a rewarding experience.

“The most rewarding part of being on the Chapel team and being a team lead is seeing the team grow and seeing their gifts flourish. Not only seeing the team grow, but just hearing the staff and student body sing along with us. That’s one of the most rewarding and harmonious sounds and moments that I cherish whenever we lead,” Gonzalez said.

There are many people with many different skills needed to create a successful Chapel experience. Whether it is putting in time at worship rehearsals or tearing down after Chapel is over, each person involved works hard behind the scenes to give the CBU community a memorable chapel service.

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