By The Echo Editorial Board
The Echo Editorial Board consists of Co-Editor in Chief Chrysa Keenon, Co-Editor in Chief Gabby Carlson, Opinions Editor Drew Shriner, Features Editor Grace Hooley, News Co-Editor Rayce Patterson and News Co-Editor Holly Gaskill.
There are few things more intimidating than walking into a congregation that you don't know.
Some students argue that being a member of a local church is one of the most important parts of the Taylor Community. Perhaps this is why we put such an emphasis on Local Church Week. However, is joining a local congregation that important when there is perfectly accessible chapel three times a week on campus? This week, the Editorial Board discussed the differences of going to a church and attending chapel, and came to interesting conclusions.
Finding a local church can be difficult. You might have to church hop a few times before you find one that's right for you. However, the Editorial Board agrees: participation is important. Thomas Jones, chair of the department of history, global, and political science, is also a pastor of a church in Fairmount, Indiana. Jones points out that the notion of participation of local churches is following God's instructions to all of us."The Lord has called us to go into all of the world, sharing His truth and love, and there is no better place to begin going that than in the churches that are in Upland and in and around the nearby towns," Jones said.
He said local churches give students a glimpse as to what other churches and worship services look like. We at the Editorial Board believe it's important to expand on the way you look at your faith. Simply going to the same congregation because you're comfortable there is good, but we pose this question: how are you to grow if your ideals are never stretched? You may go to a church that you haven't tried before and don't agree with the pastor. You may attend a chapel service and the speaker hits a wrong nerve with you. But how will you ever know if you don't expand your horizons?
Building stronger faith is a slow process, according to Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion Kevin Diller.
"Growing in Christ is our being given a fuller participation in our union with Christ," Diller said. "It happens in the slow and often painful process of dying to our self-fixation and fear while becoming more alive to what is true, right, just, pure and lovely. That involves every axis of relationship humans experience. It cannot be an isolated individual process."We certainly don't feel isolated during chapel, when we are surrounded by our peers. Perhaps this is why it's sometimes easier to attend chapel than attend a local church. But going out of your comfort zone to attend a church as well is a good way to give back to the community we inhabit for four years.
Rev. Jon Cavanagh, campus pastor, said it is often a concern of students who wish to attend a local church regularly, but can't due to breaks, going home on the weekends or other wing or floor activities. According to him, there is no reason to feel guilty for this, as members of local congregations understand we only have four years here. Sometimes life pulls us away from being able to attend every single week, and that's okay.
Cavanagh pointed out how the age difference between attendees of the church can be beneficial. You might be learning something about faith from an elderly person, or from a middle schooler. God works in mysterious ways, and you never know who he may move to help you through your next step of life.
Go out and try a church. Go sit in on some chapel speakers and see what they have to say. You never know what might stick with you.
The opinions expressed in Our View columns reflect the views of The Echo Editorial Board, and not necessarily those of Taylor University.