Written by Lacey Mayes, Staff Writer
DAYTON, TN – Chapel at Bryan College has been experiencing a shift in atmosphere. Worship events have been met with strong reactions from the students and 20 hearts have been given to Christ. In recognition of the positive changes, L.J Rowden, the Director of Christian Formation, said “I think the driving force behind everything is just us trusting in the Lord, but I have to say I have a great team around me.”
Rowden was quick to give credit to his team, leaning specifically into the worship leaders. To him, the “great humility” and shepherding that is provided by the musicians is invaluable to the success and growth of the chapel sessions. According to Rowden, the team’s responsibilities are to the glory of God and the love of the students and that college has seen a positive change in atmosphere because of these worship leaders and this mindset. .
Rowden also emphasized the importance of student leadership. “Students lead students. I’m a big advocate for culture and we’re getting that culture created here on a campus of students – like students of discipleship groups,” Rowden said. He also explained how chapel provides the conversation starters and the small groups fan the flame.
This year has seen a large increase in the number of discipleship programs. The reason can be linked to the involvement of young adults taking initiative for their own spiritual lives. Rowden and others have challenged students too “go all in. Own what you believe, own your own relationship with Christ.” In his opinion, students are being pushed to find a faith that belongs to them, not their parents.
As Rowden describes it, many students arrive at Bryan College with a “cultural Christianity,” not a personal relationship they had to develop. But now, stepping into adulthood, many have been awe-struck by the initiative to pick up their own crosses and follow Christ.
Above all, Rowden believes that the real reason for the prosperous chapel sessions is the will of God. “We may, as humans, have written the message, created the set list of songs, but in reality, it was the Lord preparing it for that moment. It’s all the Lord. He prepared the songs, he prepared the message. He knew that was gonna happen,” Rowden said.
According to Rowden, future chapel plans include the Serve Ray project and the continuation of the “God is” lesson series along with many other worship and mission opportunities for Bryan students. Looking ahead, the Director said “I think Bryan College honors Christ, and I think as we move forward, I just want to continue to put Christ first.”
Lacey Mayes is a Bryan freshman double majoring in Criminal Psychology and Communications. Her hobbies include fishing, hiking, reading, and writing as well as visiting her hometown in Chattanooga TN.