Clinton College

Rock Hill, South Carolina
2021

Project Director: Dr. Tony McNeill 

To engage in biblical and theological reflection, practical training, and collaboration to initiate chapel worship that promotes individual and collective formation of students around the core values of the institution.

Summarize your grant project and how it will address a need in your worshiping community.

Because we see a need to establish a vibrant, communal worship life that cultivates the spirituality, gifts, and leadership capacity of students at Clinton College, the Design Thinking Worship and Arts Team hopes to implement a chapel program that will provide biblical/theological reflection, practical training, and foster collaboration among HBCU chapel programs. The chapel service will promote the core values of Clinton College and support the individual and collective growth of students. 

What two questions might you ask about worship in the coming year that will generate theological reflection and shape your project?

(1) How might an on-going chapel program, grounded in reflecting the core values of Clinton College, enhance the quality of campus life for students, prepare them for leadership and service in their local churches and the global community, and also be a platform for praxis for all disciplines represented on our campus? (2) What biblical/theological principles and questions are worth exploring to guide students into thinking more deeply about the value of corporate worship and being community? 

How will your project impact the worship life and habits of the congregation?

The project will assist in strengthening the quality and purpose of on-going campus worship at Clinton College. This project will provide the opportunity to develop a substantial, attractive program that is student centered, student led, and highly collaborative. We hope to gather bi-weekly to participate in worship that, perhaps, is quite different from the kind of worship students may be accustomed. We hope to foster an environment of conversation, questions, reflection, and storytelling across every facet of the worship experience. This project will enable us to do this work with other HBCU chapel programs and establish partnerships and resources. We think a chapel program will promote school spirit, retention, and student involvement. 

What might be your greatest challenges (or challenging opportunities)?

Possible challenges: (1) building a core team of committed student chapel leaders to serve for the grant year, given the fact only residential students will be allowed on campus for Fall 2021 and commuter students will have to remain online; (2) carefully navigating the embedded theologies of students (and the students of other campuses) and creating safe space of students to talk, reflect, and respond; (3) developing an appropriate timeline for training, planning, and reflection. 

What do you hope to learn from the Grants Event and other grant recipients?

(1) to learn how we can make the grant year enjoyable for all involved; (2) to learn effective ways of evaluation and reflection; (3) To meet with other campus-based grant project directors to see how we may work together during the grant year; (4) to find resources that will inspire the work we are doing with our students; (5) pitfalls and common mistakes to avoid as a project director.