Chapel Crowd Shows ‘God Is Doing Something Awesome at GCU’
Story by Bob Romantic
Photos by Darryl Webb
GCU News Bureau
The only thing more inspiring than the packed house of 3,000-plus students and employees at Grand Canyon University’s first Chapel service last week has been the outpouring of comments and reaction that have come since.
The opening Chapel service of the school year, led by GCU’s dean of students, Pastor Tim Griffin, included floor seating for the first time and a stage that was pushed back to allow for expanded seating at GCU Arena.
Every bit of it was needed as people flocked into the Arena — some of them sitting on the opposite side of a full-length curtain behind the stage and watching the proceedings on the big screen in order to be part of the event.
“We were wondering if we were being overly ambitious,” Griffin said of the expanded seating capacity, “but they just kept coming and coming.
“My initial reaction was that we have a lot of great kids who have enrolled this year who value their spiritual experience and follow Christ. That was more than evident at Chapel.”
Unlike many Christian schools, GCU does not require students to attend Chapel. Instead, it tries to create an environment on campus where students want to follow the Lord.
Exhibit A came during last Monday’s Chapel service, when Griffin announced that there would be no Chapel service this week because of the Labor Day holiday. That drew boos from the enthusiastic crowd.
“Good answer!” Griffin replied.
Photos of the first Chapel service were posted on GCU’s Facebook page, which drew 790 “likes” and a bevy of comments. Some examples:
- “When I see pictures likes this it warms my heart to know my son chose GCU as his college.” – Kelley Potter
- “God is doing something awesome at GCU!” – Marybeth Meek
- “Awesome pic I am so happy and brings me much needed peace to know my daughter is in good hands. I dropped her off this weekend I’ve been crying ever since but this pic just brought tears of Joy. Thank u.” – Cynthia S. Galarza
- “After a 1,900 mile drive from Illinois last week, we were impressed in this great school for our daughter! Can’t wait to visit again soon.” – Ned Rocks
- “That’s so awesome seeing how many people went to chapel and the gathering last year then seeing this is amazing. I really wish I could still be a part of this amazing school. GCU is seriously such a blessing and it’s worth the tuition because the people you meet and the event are seriously priceless thank you for providing such an awesome opportunity, no one there is forced to go to chapel everyone has the choice to accept God and its not shoved in their face like other places. I love GCU.” – Taylor Anne
- “I am so grateful that my granddaughter and her best friend chose to go to this college. It is truly a blessing for them both.” — Sharon Lee Kewish
- “I am so proud that my son chose GCU this was the first time he went to Church in a long while and hopefully not the last time. I read a comment from another parent that she has been crying the whole time I have been doing the same thing I miss my son so much feel more at peace knowing he is a part of this wonderful College look at the pictures words cant explain how at peace my heart is knowing he is a part of this. I feel so blessed.” — Eleanor Rubalcaba
- “How wonderful to see these great college kids praising the Lord!! I’d love to be there. Love you Nate!” — Virginia Dodd
Griffin said that kind of Christian spirit is evident in many places on campus.
During Chapel and a job fair on campus, more than 2,000 students volunteered to serve during weekly ministry opportunities. In addition to the Canyon Kids program on Saturday mornings at Little Canyon Park, GCU also is starting new children’s ministries at Serrano Village on Camelback Road and the Imagine School on 35th Avenue.
And last week’s Gathering – a student-led worship service on Tuesday nights at Antelope Gym – drew 1,700 students.
“To be that well-attended for Chapel and the Gathering, and with that much enthusiasm … it was humbling, it was exciting and it was overwhelming for everybody involved,” Griffin said.
The speaker for next week’s Chapel service on Sept. 9 will be GCU President and CEO Brian Mueller.
Contact Bob Romantic at 639.7611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.