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Notes from Chapel: Alumni Return to Invest in Students’ Lives

Chapel Service

At 10:05 every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday morning, students hear the familiar sounds: a bell signaling the beginning of chapel, followed by thousands of voices singing “Praise God from whom all blessings flow . . .”

Chapel has always been a key part of life as a Pensacola Christian College student. Focusing on God’s Word together, the student body meets to hear messages from faculty, Campus Church staff, visiting pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and alumni.

Tim zacharias

“Chapel helps to set the spiritual tone on campus,” said Dr. Tim Zacharias (Youth Ministries ’89), assistant pastor of the Campus Church. “It’s a source of regular edification to people who are at a transitional period in their lives, making consequential decisions about the course of their future. Many alumni have mentioned how much chapel was vital to their Christian growth during college. Like me, many remember specific speakers or messages that blessed their hearts or led them to foundational decisions.”

Originally taking place in Ballard lobby, chapel has moved around as the College has grown. Students have trekked across the railroad tracks to the St. John Building, sat on bleachers in the high school gymnasium, watched on the Sports Center screen while others filled the Dale Horton Auditorium, and finally began meeting in the Crowne Centre in 2002. But no matter where the services are held, the goal is still the same: investing in students’ spiritual enrichment and growth.

Ryan Bame

Students often comment about the value of spending time hearing God’s Word in the middle of the class day. “To me, chapel is a time of reflection,” said Ryan Bame (Jr., NC). “I’ve had a full credit load every semester since I’ve been here, so it’s good to have a dedicated time to sit back and focus on the Lord.”

Carley Stothard

“I really enjoy chapel,” Carley Stothard (Jr., MI) said. “It’s a big help for our spiritual wellbeing. It never gets boring because we hear from so many different speakers.”

Joe Shakour

Alumni frequently return to campus and share messages with students in chapel. “Standing in the pulpit brought back many memories,” said Dr. Joe Shakour (Pastoral Ministries ’07). “Chapel was an integral part of my spiritual life as a student. I remember being in those same seats and hearing God’s Word preached faithfully. I still have my Bible that I used for chapel, filled with notes and quotes from messages that spoke to my heart and challenged me in my Christian walk.”

Jessica Riggs

Because alumni speakers have experienced student life at PCC, they have special insight into how to encourage and challenge current students. Jessica Riggs (So., AR) enjoys hearing from graduates. “They’ve been in our shoes, so they know what to preach to help us in college,” she said. “I appreciate hearing sermons specifically geared toward helping college students.”

Ethan Dryden

Ethan Dryden (Jr., Haiti) added, “It’s good to see graduates coming back and sharing how God used PCC to shape them for what they’re doing now. We can look at the people they’ve become and say, ‘Hey, they did this too, and it turned out great for them.’”

Dale Adkins

Dr. Dale Adkins, PCC’s church ministries coordinator, oversees the scheduling of chapel speakers. He encourages students to “allow chapel to be a meaningful time of heart-searching and growth. Not every service will be life-changing, but never shut your heart up to God’s Word. When you least expect it, God will have something special just for you.”