Though students have only been back on campus for a month, Reverend Greg Dyson, Taylor’s newly appointed campus pastor, has been working hard through the summer to make sure this year’s chapel services are “Greater than” ever.
A pastor for over 35 years and an employee at Taylor for five, Dyson credits his journey to following God's voice.
“It’s about walking with him and long enough that you get to know what he wants you to do,” Dyson said.
This walk has led him to thrive in pastoring and invest in people’s lives.
That same love for people and openness to God’s word directs him not only in his current role but also in the past role as vice president of intercultural leadership and church relations.
“All of it fit together nicely…It felt more like an extension of the work that I have been doing than taking on a whole new role,” Dyson said.
Starting afresh in his new role, Dyson’s first hope for the coming year is to get more students involved in chapel, not merely by serving on the worship teams and giving chapel introductions, but through teaching. His desire is that this deepened participation will create a space for gifted students to share before they continue into the world.
“We want to help people be prepared to serve even now and those who are spiritually ready to engage in the care of others,” Dyson said.
Dyson’s aspirations for student engagement do not end at campus borders but extend to the local community.
As a Christian college, Taylor has the opportunity to connect with local churches through a shared mission. Taylor’s partnership with local churches has the potential to become something even greater. Dyson seeks to strengthen this bond through matching students with the needs of local churches through service opportunities.
“Our goal in a sense is to match people with churches who have communicated they want to have students there and want to help them grow,” Dyson said. “What we have in chapel is great, but the local church, they’re all around, and so you end up with this symphony of a campus family and these other people who are a part of our life.”
The outcome of this deepened connection will help students to recognize the power and joy that comes from worshiping together, whether as a student body or in the community.
An easy way to get plugged into a church is happening this week on campus with “local church week” — a week that will turn attention to local churches through bringing pastors from the community on campus to share. This event is in tandem with Dyson’s wish that students would find connection in the local church as well as on campus.
“I hope that people will learn from the opportunity to be a part of the local church with people of different backgrounds and experiences. It’s a beautiful thing,” Dyson said.
More details about local church week can be found in the campus announcements.
Dyson’s aim for involvement is mirrored in this year’s chapel theme. “Greater than,” taken from Psalm 147, came through an examination of what chapel could and should look like.
“One of the questions we asked was, ‘How do we provide spiritual direction and how can we help their journey with the Lord through the chapel program?’” Dyson said.
By asking these questions and through fervent prayer, it became evident to Dyson that this year's chapel theme should be focused on acknowledging who God is and his presence.
Following that thought process, two words became clear: “Greater than”. This phrase does not mean “Greater than” in an earthly sense, as in one thing is greater than another, but in the way that God is so great that a third word is not needed.
“We should be calling on God out of our biggest accolades and our greatest hurts,” Dyson said. “He is greater than all things, good or bad.”
Throughout the coming year, Dyson desires that “Greater than” would not merely remain a theme but would transform the lives of those who interact with it. One way for application is through the fall semester lineup of chapel speakers. This year’s theme has been communicated to all incoming speakers in hopes that as they prepare to speak, they will keep “Greater than” in mind.
A final hope of Dyson’s would be that by the end of the semester, students would see the change lived out in their lives with evidence that God has been greater.
“If they say, ‘I had a great semester,’ ‘I had a hard semester’ or ‘I worked hard,’ the hope is that they would walk away and go, ‘The one thing I do know is that God is greater than all of it,’” Dyson said.
With new leadership comes change, and the changes Dyson plans to bring have set a precedent for growth. From student involvement in local churches to understanding the depths of God’s greatness, the Taylor community can expect to meet this “Greater than” God alongside Dyson.