Friday morning chapels at Greenville University are under construction again! We have had speakers that share their message just as they do on Monday’s and Wednesday’s, then we adopted the Alpha Course last semester. The Alpha Course’s purpose was mainly aimed at anyone who didn’t already know about the basic principles of Christianity. This format, however, welcomed anyone with open arms to participate in a video followed by small group discussions led by Residence Chaplains. When I heard there was a new chapel formation for Friday mornings, I wanted to talk to someone personally on the staff to see why it was in the making and how it could help students.
I met with Lori Gaffner, and she explained that more sporadic small groups are in the making. According to Gaffner, many members of our staff have interactions with students through the classroom setting, but this would give a chance for others who didn’t have that connection to work with and get to know students. “They jumped to it,” she explained. A great idea to get many people involved and to open the door for them! There are also many ideas for small groups lined up, and they branch off everywhere to capture interests of all kinds.
Many of these groups will be meeting at the regular 9:30 a.m. chapel time every Friday, but a few groups meet at other times to provide flexibility. “Bible Conversations” led by Jennifer Dunkley and Faith Nava will meet on Thursday nights at 8:00 p.m. in La Casa Cultural, “Good, Evil and, oh, Current Events” led by Nathan Jenkins will meet on Thursday afternoons at 2:00 p.m. in Dietzman 215, and “Be the Bridge” led by Katrina Liss and Kareem Watts will meet on Friday’s at 12:30 p.m. in the Krober Room. Categorization happens slightly in the groups. For example, there’s one group called “The Power of Prayer” taught by Catherine Burge and Kim Brannon that is recommend for music students in the pamphlet, but still applies to and welcomes anyone. I love the ideas behind all of these groups and how most of them welcome anyone with any interest.
Gaffner explained that there are still many instances where students in UNIV 401 (the senior-level requirement course) do not get to participate in chapel at least one out of the three days it occurs on due to class being in session during the usual running time of 9:30 a.m. These new Friday groups will provide more flexibility for students who have this issue and will hopefully spice up something new. Monday and Wednesday chapels are always the same: there’s worship through music, prayer, and a speaker. While this is a great organization and method for connecting people to Jesus, small groups will allow for more intimate time between the GU staff and students and allow for conversation and questionnaire during the time spent together. Having one speaker in front of everyone does not open the door for the possibilities that small groups do, so Lori’s hope is that students will at least try out this new Friday organization.
In my opinion, this will be a great addition to GU. I am very excited to try a group (or maybe even a few) out and see where the discussion goes. I am also looking forward to getting to know students and staff more and developing a feel for a Bible study group session.
Media by Antwon Knight.