Although Goshen College is a Christian school, students ultimately choose the spiritual experience they want to receive. Students can fulfill their spiritual needs with chapels, worship gatherings or prayer times and are encouraged to seek out the fulfillment they need.
For a personal type of spirituality, the role of ministry leader (ML) began three years ago.
“The MLs are there to be a presence and organize programming for their floors,” said Bob Yoder, campus pastor.
As a presence, they are there to talk to students who want spiritual guidance. After getting to know the people on their floor, they can plan activities like Bible studies, small groups, retreats or service projects that suit the interests of the dorm residents.
Karina Rohrer-Meck, a sophomore ML, enjoys the role on her floor. “It’s a fun opportunity to talk to the girls about stuff they wouldn’t normally talk about,” said Rohrer-Meck. “A lot of this stuff wouldn’t get brought up if you didn’t have a leadership role.”
The most successful thing she’s started is a Facebook page for her floor. She posts devotionals, music videos from YouTube, or Bible verses as a way to offer spiritual support for the girls on her floor.
“Bible studies are hard to organize due to scheduling, but the Facebook page has been good,” says Rohrer-Meck.
When it comes to campus-wide worship opportunities, Yoder and Tamara Shantz, assistant campus pastor, organize events and support students to organize their own spiritual experiences. Yoder views his role as one that helps students as they take the lead in creating opportunities for spirituality that they see fit.
A recent example of a student-led spiritual experience was the 24/7 prayer week that happened last semester. By the end of the week, 90-100 people had signed up for at least one shift in the prayer room.
“There were lots of positive comments on that week and how neat it was to walk by the prayer room at night and see the light on,” said Yoder. “There’s only so much we [campus pastors] can do, most of it will happen with students. I’m much more excited about helping students develop their ideas and let things bubble up at the grassroots level.”
Besides the spontaneous opportunities for spirituality that arise from the students, there are also regularly organized worship opportunities. On the first Wednesday of each month, there is Campus Worship Night and on the other Wednesdays there is a student-led Midweek Faith. Both of these Wednesday activities are held in the Recreation-Fitness Center 104 at 9:45 p.m.
At 11 p.m. on Friday nights there is student-led Midnight Worship in the Music Center in room 153. And generally at 9 p.m. on the third Sunday of the month (date variable depending on other activities) is the Taize worship in Newcomer 19.
According to Shantz, who is in charge of the Taize worship, “There has been a marked increase in attendance at Taize this year.”
From Taize services to quiet prayer rooms, there are a variety of opportunities for worship that can appeal to different types of spiritual expression. There are even priests who come monthly to perform a Catholic mass in NC-19. For all these activities, check the announcements for updated information about dates and times.
“As for broader spirituality, I would say that we have noticed an increase in student interest around spiritual life at GC,” said Shantz. “This has been seen in some of our activity numbers rising, but I think also just a sense that students are craving conversation around themes of faith.”