At the beginning of the semester, all students had the opportunity to choose to attend Ministry Chapel every Tuesday in place of chapel in FMA. Ministry Chapel focuses on topics relevant to both full-time and vocational ministry.
For the past few years, Dr. Nathan Crockett, director of Ministry Training, encouraged students interested in learning about ministry to attend the Ministry class (a forerunner of Ministry Chapel), but conflicting schedules made attending impossible for most students.
“We were trying to find some time in the schedule when anybody of any major could come and have a specific focus on ministry training,” Crockett said. “And the time we kept coming back to was during chapel.”
He said he took this idea to President Steve Pettit, who was encouraged to hear of a group of students desiring vocational ministry.
Sam Horn, executive vice president for enrollment and ministerial advancement and dean of the School of Religion and Seminary, said the idea of a Ministry Chapel came out of conversations he and others were having with students who were interested in going into ministry.
He said President Pettit has a vision to see all students make ministry their lifestyle whatever their major or future vocation. Horn said the Center for Global Opportunities and Ministry Chapel are two ways the University is realizing that vision.
Horn said he desires to create passion for ministry in the hearts of students. He said he hopes this burning passion will spur students to accomplish extraordinary things for God.
Crockett said he believes Ministry Chapel is going to change the face of ministry training.
“Every student who is training at Bob Jones, their life is to some degree about ministry,” Crockett said.
David Bell, a sophomore accounting major, said he goes to Ministry Chapel because he has considered going into ministry for a few years.
He said this semester’s theme, “Lay Down Your Life,” has reminded him that God wants him to seek first His kingdom, which means to spread the gospel, and be busy doing that until He comes back.
Patricia Duarte, a sophomore cross cultural ministries major, said although she is required to attend, she enjoys the much more interactive chapel style.
Duarte said participating in Ministry Chapel has been encouraging to her because everyone attending has a similar desire to serve God.
Crockett said the initial response to Ministry Chapel has been positive. He said he especially enjoys students’ passionate singing.
Seminary students also have a special chapel designed to meet their particular needs.
Horn said when he first arrived at Bob Jones University around three years ago, President Steve Pettit asked him to give attention to two areas: chapel themes and seminary students.
Horn said seminary students face different pressures because they are in a different stage of life.
“[Pettit and I] wanted to have a time that we could pull those men and women together and speak more directly to them in ways that would minister grace and the Word to those needs in their life.” Horn said
Horn also spoke about the need for community within the seminary programs.
“Theological training happens in the context of a community. When I came, there was very little space in the life of a Seminarian for community to happen,” he said. “So the chapel became that for us.”
Seminary student Jairo Villegas said it is exciting to have a more close-knit chapel with faculty. He also said he finds it helpful that faculty members address topics more pastorally, instead of just academically.
Villegas said seminary chapel unites the seminary students together with each other and with their professors.
Suzanne Villegas, another seminary student, said she likes the setting and the insight each professor gives.
“You learn things you would not necessarily learn in class,” she said.