This semester for Friday chapel services, our students from various student groups and organizations planned chapel services: shared messages and led worship. Every student speaker has edified our community with relevant application of spiritual truths through biblical exposition and through powerful testimonies of surrendering to God.
After a year without large gatherings for chapel due to COVID-19, Leadership Professor and Director of Church Relations, Dr. Greg Carlson, said, “I’ve benefited greatly from attending student-led chapel services, especially in comparison to last year when we couldn’t even meet together. It’s nice to worship together.”
Annie Knowlton, Graphic Design ‘23, shared her delight in the chapels this year, “I like to see my friends on stage. It feels more relatable because they’re going through the same stuff as I am.”
These chapel services have provided students a space to share their faith, learn from one another, demonstrate leadership, and use their talents to glorify God. We could not be more proud of the humble, thoughtful students who led chapel this semester. We’ve compiled some summaries of student-led chapels from recent weeks below.
FREE & ALSO (Student worship group & student service group)
”Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2 NIV).
The founder of ALSO, the new student group: “Always Serving Others” focused on service projects, Soren Halvorson (BA/ MDiv ‘24) spoke on Habakkuk 1-3. Halvorson reminded us that God remains just and all-knowing, even when we don’t understand the events happening around and in our lives. God always acts justly, and we are called to have faith in him and hold onto the hope of justice to come.
To kick off Hispanic Heritage Month, our student group, Latinos Unidos led the chapel service on September 15! Daniel Tobar (BA/ MDiv ’23) shared a powerful message on Malachi 3:13-18, how Christians are differentiated from the world and how God has immense, sacrificial love for his people.
“‘They will be my people,’ says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. ‘On the day when I act in judgment, they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient child'” (Malachi 3:17).
Student Government Association
SGA’s president, Daniel Hill (Biblical Studies and Communications ‘22) led chapel on September 24th. He began by offering time for Trinity College students to reflect upon sin and the assurance of forgiveness. Then, as a further look at reconciliation to God, examples of parables were given, such as the parable of the lost coin and the parable of the 99 sheep and the one that the shepherd goes after, offering a glimpse into God’s heart of forgiveness and pursuit of His beloved children.
Switching focus to how people interact with God’s offering of forgiveness, Hill contrasted two different kinds of misguided people, as seen in the brothers from the parable of the prodigal son. He pointed out that one son emphasizes guilt over reconciliation, while the other perceives righteousness as earned through our own effort. However, God takes the approach of the father in the story as seen in Luke 15:23b-24: “Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate” (NIV). God’s arms are open and welcoming. There is a celebration in Heaven when a wayward soul is brought back to God!
Hill encouraged students to, “take comfort that you were once lost, but now you are found!”
Men’s and Women’s Basketball
Head Men’s Basketball Coach Greg Miller asked Forward Nabil Kone (BA in Sport and Wellness Management ‘25) to share his testimony for the undergraduate chapel on October 1st. Miller said Kone, “is on fire for the Lord, and he wants to share his testimony to others who may be doubting, have questions, or are still searching for his or her faith.”
Kone was born into a religious culture that believes there is a god who is beyond reach and that legalism is the way to earn this god’s approval. Through Kone’s passion for basketball, he was connected with Christian basketball coaches who exposed him to the Christian perspective of God as a personal relationship. Amazed by what they told him about Jesus, Kone says “I wanted to learn. I wanted to know about God!”
When he eventually stepped foot into a church, he felt the presence of God. It was as if “something grabbed me.” Kone knew he could have access to God like his Christian friends promised him he could. “I wanted that relationship. I wanted to have a relationship with Christ.” But it was risky business, his hometown friends and family might abandon him. Kone decided that the gain of salvation and relationship with God was more important. For himself and his legacy for his future family, he needed to choose Christ. “I decided to get baptized, and I posted it on my Instagram. My [hometown] friends started unfollowing me.”
Men Under God (MUG)
On October 8th, MUG President Jon Leffingwell (BA in Biblical Studies ‘23) painted a picture of how God pursues us by referencing the book of Exodus after the Israelites leave Egypt. Leffingwell said, “It’s in the hard place where I need to know the most that God is with me, and if God is with me, who can be against me?”
“God removes obstacles to draw near to us. Being in a hard place may make us feel like God is not with us, but “God can be found – in fact, it’s often in the hard place where we find God,” says Leffingwell.
God made ways to connect with his people under the leadership and mediation of Moses in the book of Exodus, and through the first tabernacle. As Leffingwell aptly put it, “the purpose of the tabernacle was so God could live with them.” The same God who pursued the Israelites pursues us today with the same zeal.
Baseball and Softball
Dominik Olech (BA in Sports Management ‘22) led chapel on October 29th. He drew diagrams on a whiteboard and explained the application of the gospel message step-by-step. It was clear, simple, and yet profound. He read John 10:7-10 and explored what the end of verse 10 means for us, which says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” God has our best interest in mind, but we need to put him on the throne of our lives, allowing him to reconcile us by Jesus’ death in our stead on the cross. We need to recognize that we need to be reconciled to God in this way because sin separates us from God, but when we have been reconciled, we can rest assured that we will spend eternity with God in Heaven.
College Union (CU)
College Union Vice President Makayla Boyd (5-Year MDiv ‘25) shared her testimony for Trinity College’s November 5th chapel service. First, she talked about a life-changing experience when she went on a mission trip that ended with her in the hospital. “God brought me to my knees in Guatemala, and I’ve remained dependent on him to this day.”
However, she had greater hardship coming. Boyd decided to find out who God was calling her to be and what God had in store for her. So, she applied to Trinity, where she was accepted into a supportive community where God used other people to love and care for her. “I wish I could count all of my blessings here today for you, because it’s amazing how much God has done for me these past 11 months that I’ve been here at Trinity.”
Women’s Ministry Community (WMC) & Emerging Leaders (EL)
Head of Emerging Leaders, Ryan Mueller (Bible and Ministry ’22) gave a message for chapel on November 12th. His message entitled, “A Tale of Two Trees,” dug deep into what it means to be like a tree in Psalms 1:3: “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither– whatever they do prospers.”
Then, Mueller shared how at this time in life, he, like other students, is at a crossroads and must determine where to go after graduation. Mueller asked the looming question: “Which path are you going to take?” As we are given the responsibility to make choices, our options should be considered with care.
Running Back Javier Acosta (Sports Management ’24) gave his testimony at the chapel service held on November 19th. Acosta emphasized the reality of the relationship between prayer, patience, and God’s faithfulness amid the hardships of life. As it says in Romans 12:12, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” (ESV) From his own experience, Acosta said, “Be patient with everything in life. [Sometimes] God’s not going to answer you immediately. Sometimes he’s just not going to help you yet.”
To illustrate how we need God and how God rescues us, Acosta likened life to a bench pressing. It’s full of weights like crushing responsibilities or hardships, and God is the spotter, there to lift the weight off. “(God) saved me from who I was going to become, and from the path I was going down” says Acosta. To remind himself how God rescued him, Acosta has his life verse tattooed on his arm:
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalms 34:18 (NIV)
Stephen DiDomizio (5-Year BA/MDiv ‘23) exegeted James 1 for chapel on December 3rd. The book of James was the first full book of the Bible that Stephen read when he was a child, and it guided him as he grew older and went through many trials and tribulations. “One temptation in trials is to believe that God doesn’t care about us, [but] we have everything we need to overcome trials and temptations,” says DiDomizio. God equips us and guides us through those hard times, and the bible contains a wealth of advice and encouragement. For him, the book of James has offered reassurance that God has always been there for him. James 1 encouraged DiDomizio to find joy even in the midst of hardship. As it says in verses 2-3:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (NIV)
Learn more about