Oklahoma Christian University

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Project Director: Alden Bass

To develop a vibrant, meaningful, an.d formative worship program for daily chapel in order to develop a shared communal identity in Christ which is rooted in the University’s acapella Church of Christ heritage and is also hospitable to all worshipers

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

We are working to re-envision daily worship on our Christian university campus to be 1) more intentionally rooted in our acapella Church of Christ worship heritage; 2) more hospitable to students from outside our heritage; and 3) to clearly connect to our emphasis on calling/vocation. We will form a study group and bring in an expert consultant to clearly define that heritage; organize student and faculty focus groups; and host a songwriter/leader workshop to foster a fresh worship culture. 

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

How can daily chapel worship form undergraduate college students into citizens of the kingdom of God who joyfully live out their personal callings? 

How can we be inclusive of students from a variety of worshipping traditions while remaining rooted in our particular tradition? 

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

We are accustomed to meeting daily for worship or some other spiritual activity - a highly formative activity. By focusing on hospitality, we hope to engage a wider range of the student body, some of whom do not feel welcome, and thus build community in diversity. Chapel liturgy will also be a focal point for connecting intellectual work on Christian worldview with embodied spiritual practices; in our context, those are explicitly linked with calling/vocation. 

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

The form of our university chapel has remained static for almost 75 years, so any proposed changes may encounter suspicion or resistance. On the student side, it may be a challenge to generate enthusiasm for worship reform, especially if leadership is perceived as tradition-bound. Chapel worship is one piece of a larger ongoing reform of our spiritual life program, so an additional challenge/opportunity is to integrate the goals of chapel worship with the overarching program. 

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

Innovations to worship are a challenge for any community, so I hope to be encouraged by meeting others facing this common struggle. In addition to sharing strategies for implementing reform, I also hope to be inspired with new ideas for worship itself and an expanded imagination for what's possible in worship.