Why Attending Chapel on Campus Is Crucial for Student Success

by Tobin Perry

There’s no doubt about it: When you head to college, you’ll have all kinds of new experiences. You’ll explore new academic topics. You’ll meet new people who come from all around the world. You’ll tackle new challenges and stretch yourself in new ways.

Along the way, you’ll likely find a need for guidance and opportunities to explore and deepen your faith. Azusa Pacific University understands this, which is why a critical part of the student experience is regularly attending chapel on campus.

Shaping Your Future, Faith, and Character

College isn’t the time to put your faith on the back burner. In fact, it’s a time to further develop your faith.

Coba Canales, EdD, dean of spiritual life at APU, noted that the lessons taught in chapel aren’t peripheral to students’ lives—they play a vital role in shaping their faith and character. He said that regularly pausing academic study, work, and other activities to focus on spiritual matters brings the APU community together.

“Chapel is part of the co-curricular learning experience for students,” said Canales. “The curriculum that is designed for chapels serve as a significant component of APU’s mission to transform disciples and scholars who participate in God’s work in the world.”

Since 1899, APU has been committed to keeping God First. That means students’ spiritual preparation is an essential part of the university experience. Just like students must attend classes to meet academic expectations and grow intellectually, the chapel requirement is integral to a student’s spiritual formation.

Types of Chapel Experiences at APU

To prepare students spiritually for their work in the world, the school requires all full-time undergraduate students to attend chapel on campus three times every week, offering several chapel experiences for students engagement:

  1. Morning Chapel: Held on both the East and West campuses, these chapel services draw the largest crowds each week. APU invites speakers from inside and outside the university to deliver messages focused on students’ spiritual formation.
  2. Kaleo: This is a reflective, visual, and open-ended chapel experience held on Wednesday nights.
  3. Liturgical: These experiences focus on prayer and responsive readings. They offer students corporate worship opportunities that follow the liturgical calendar and the Revised Common Lectionary.
  4. Evening Prayers: These chapel experiences allow students to focus on corporate prayer at the end of the school day.
  5. Senior Chapel: Designed specifically for seniors in their final year of college, these chapel gatherings allow students to celebrate their impending graduation and focus on their continued spiritual development after college.

Regardless of which chapel experiences students choose to participate in, the Office of Spiritual Life designs each service to encourage them to grow spiritually through biblical, challenging, and diverse experiences.

“We desire that students engage in corporate worship together with an open-heart, open-mind posture of worship and a desire to be transformed into the likeness of Christ,” Canales added. “If that is the approach, students can find ways to be shaped through any speaker, chapel band, or theme that may be covered in any particular chapel.”

Interested to see what attending chapel at Azusa Pacific University is like firsthand? Explore the archive of past chapel services.