Written by Johnathon Goodenow. Media by Kayla Morton.
To some students chapel credits are a source of stress while others get all 36 in the first half of the semester. But why do they exist? Are they fair? Does anything need to be changed?
Students should be well aware that Greenville is a Christian college who’s goal is to strengthen their relationship with God while receiving an education. The chapel credit system is a part of that goal. Three options are available to get chapel credits on a regular basis: chapel, vespers and prayer and meditation chapel. In addition, up to five chapel credits can be earned by participating in student-led Bible studies. With the many opportunities available to receive chapel credits, failing to do so is most likely due to poor planning by the student. Does chapel have an impact on the students, though?
During chapel, it’s easy to spot students who are on their phones or working on homework. This most likely means that those students are not getting much from attending the service. Greenville College can provide opportunities for students to strengthen their relationship with God, but they cannot force them. Any reflective thought after hearing a message is up to the individual. However, student-led chapel services and worship is meant to get peers to think about important concepts.
A question that many ponder is why Bible studies led by Resident Chaplains and sports teams are limited to only five credits per semester when student-led services aren’t. Especially when these studies are likely to involve students on a more personal level. By limiting the amount of credits that students can earn, the system is disincentivizing students from continuing to attend once they’ve reached their maximum number of elective credits. Since vespers is a student-led service that occurs weekly, it seems odd that Bible studies are viewed as less valuable.
Another valid question may be why RC’s are not allowed to count more than five of their Bible studies as chapel credit. Especially since they are hired to be a good, Godly example to those in their dorm. It could even be argued that Bible studies have a greater impact on students than chapel because of the personal interaction that prompts dialogue during that time.
Since Bible studies do not carry much weight in credits, a way for students to achieve a similar interaction would be to take notes during services and then discuss the content with other students afterwards. This allows the service to develop the community that Bible studies do, as well as help the students pay attention to important points while listening. This method may even strengthen their relationship with God through gaining new insight.