My first semester of college is over, and I’ve already had my share of late-night study sessions and fun on-campus events (I touched on this in my "Why I Recommend Joining The Honors College" article). Likewise, the stress of college set in nearly right after I started classes, and in finding ways to cope, I found chapel.
I’ve grown up in a religious family and attended church regularly starting from a young age. I was active in my home church up until I went to college this fall. I knew that I wanted to participate in some religious activity in college because my religion is important to me and I need God with me every step of the way.
With this priority in mind, I decided to attend a chapel service at school; it was convenient, being a two-minute walk from my dorm, and I was able to get some friends to go with me. Luckily for me, I really enjoyed it. The service was similar to my home church and the music was great, but my favorite part of the service was the sermon.
The reverend, Preston Davis, gave a compelling sermon and his message was relatable to college students. My home church’s pastor had to relate her sermons to people of all ages, and I couldn’t always easily relate to them; however, Rev. Davis could focus his sermons primarily to college-aged students, which, for me, was a game-changer.
In regard to his sermons, the fundamental prayer sermons have connected with me the most. The first fundamental prayer, "please", has helped me realize my dependency on God and strengthened my desire to delight Him through my actions.
The next fundamental prayer, "I'm sorry", has encouraged me to live with an honest heart and genuinely ask for forgiveness. I am relieved to know that God's love overcomes my sin.
The last fundamental prayer Rev. Davis preached, "thank you", was my favorite. I have come to realize that I am my best self and closer to God when I have a grateful heart. I am also tickled that the "thank you" sermon relates with what President Nido Qubein often asserts, which is that "Complaining is the opposite of Thanksgiving." Simply put, we are happier when we are thankful as opposed to complaining.
While I am grateful to be continuing my religious education by going to chapel, I think that the biggest benefit of going is the challenge it offers me each week, and I don't mean that in a negative way. Being triggered by the messages in services help me to continuously exercise a growing relationship with God; I view my faith not as a destination, but as a journey.
I'm not going to tell you all that you must go to chapel (or another religious service) to be a Christian, but I would definitely encourage you to try it out if you haven't already. I have introduced plenty of my friends to chapel services with 100% retention. If your new to attending services (or religion), don't fear judgement from others. I can't make any promises about other schools, but typically, the congregation welcomes new-comers with open arms.