The Chapel Office has opened up more ways for students to receive credits this year. Now called “spiritual formation credits,” these 55 credits can be earned in more ways than in years past.
Chapel still will be offered Monday through Friday in Moody like it has been, but now faculty- and staff-sponsored events may be considered for credit.
Mark Jackson, associate director of student organizations and programs, said Chapel has previously been limited to events happening in or around Moody at 11 a.m., with some forums every now and then. After looking at what all is going on among faculty, staff and students outside of that time slot, the Chapel Office and the Office of Student Life began thinking of more ways to offer credit.
“We have had some good things in the past that we said no to,” Jackson said. “Dr. Robert Rhodes does a dinner and devo for students at his house. For years, Dr. John Willis has done Sunday night milk and cookies and prayer time, and we have never given credit for that.”
But now with the new spiritual formation credit system, students and faculty involved in spiritually forming activities can submit an application for credit. Besides being faculty- or staff-led or sponsored, the Chapel office has a few other criteria to consider: Is the event about connecting with God, Christian community, Christian practices or Christian service?
Chris Riley, vice president of student life, spent time listening to students, faculty and staff on Chapel concerns.
“While Chapel was a big part of campus spiritual formation, there was not a holistic opportunity for students to do other things,” Riley said. “We’ve had all of our eggs in one basket.”
Over the last year, Riley and Jackson have looked at schools like Oklahoma Christian and Biola that operate on similar spiritual formation credit systems.
As a part of the new model, every activity and event will only be one credit. That means no more two, three or even four credit for forums.
“There won’t be any multiple credit events,” Jackson said. “Our hope is that we have 150 to 200 plus opportunities for students to receive credit, where in the past we have had 85 or 90.”
As for the name change, Riley said the name Chapel had lost some of its meaning.
“It was thought of as just a credit, and that cheapens it,” Riley said.
Jackson added, “With the term ‘spiritual formation’, we’re hoping to shape and mold students to seek Christ. We want that to be the primary focus of all of these events.”