Students are frustrated about getting enough Chapel credits, and they are disrespecting Chapel speakers.
Although students need to respect university requirements, it may be time for the university to bring the 55-credit requirement down and start respecting students needs as well.
Women’s basketball coach Julie Goodenough presented one of the funniest and most practical Chapel talks of the year on Monday – and hardly anyone heard her. Buy 11:26 a.m., people began swiping out, and the little beeps of the card readers drowned out the coach’s bold words.
To some students, the 55-credit requirement is seen as a motivation to grow in faith, but to others it is a burden on their highlighter-filled, organized planners. Meanwhile, the infamous “slide and gliders,” who swipe in, leave and come back just to swipe out, are essentially cheating the whole system.
Our university has taken pride in fellowship, worship and community since 1906, but as the university grows, more students see attending Chapel as just a requirement rather than a time to grow spiritually. Lowering the number of Chapel credits required each semester would allow for more respect for the speakers and for the people attending. A reduction would benefit the students who actually want to be there, by changing the attitude that Chapel is a “burden.” By making Chapel a place of respect and worship, we believe that more students will want to attend.
There’s a tension between the time-honored tradition and the changing attitudes of students. While 30 percent of students claimed to be Church of Christ in 2016, that number dropped to 27.8 percent in 2017. This number drops every year, as more and more non-Church of Christ students come to a Church of Christ-affiliated school.
What is the purpose of Chapel? According to the university website, Chapel requirements come from a “desire to ground our students in Scripture and spiritual practices that lead to transformation into the likeness of Christ to bless others through leadership and service in every corner of the world. With these thoughts in mind, we’ve integrated Chapel into the curriculum: full-time undergraduate students are required to earn 55 spiritual formation credits each semester.”
Our problem is not with how Chapel is run because we know the university is trying to be more engaging to students from various denominations. Our problem is with the 55-credit requirement. While students must respect the requirements of the university, the university must also respect our time and commitments. Students will not focus on even the most engaging speakers if they’re distracted with homework or frustrated by time constraints.
Reducing the number of credits could lead to a smaller attendance in Moody, but it would greatly improve the respect for worship. The university should emphasize quality over quantity. They should do things that draw a quality group of students who want to be there, more than a large quantity of students playing on their phones.
Changing Chapel may not change the mindset of every student, but it could change the atmosphere of the space.