Spiritual Vitality at Asbury University

Published 12:24 pm Thursday, January 17, 2019

Asbury University reports students are challenged to engage in thoughtfulness and deep inquiry not only in the classroom, but also in living out the Christian life in community. Alongside academic excellence, spiritual vitality touches every aspect of campus life, from classroom lessons to dorm life to Chapel services at the university.

Rooted in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition, Asbury stands strong in Christian practices. The University was founded on the firm belief that an act of God’s grace, upon which one receives the offer of salvation through the sacrificial life of Jesus Christ, can transform a human heart so that they may experience holiness of life, have a heart that exhibits His love and become an agent of His grace for the advancement of God’s Kingdom on earth. Over the years, that rich Wesleyan-Holiness tradition has spilled over into revival.

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The University infuses this distinctive spiritual vitality into the lives of traditional undergraduate, graduate, non-traditional and online students alike.

Chapel is the touchstone of spiritual life on campus. Three times each week, students gather in the historic Hughes Auditorium to hear from faith leaders as well as Asbury faculty and staff on topics that nourish the soul. Students are encouraged to examine theological themes and connect with God through worship, community and scripture. Chapel is a mandatory tradition and oftentimes a catalyst for deep spiritual reflection, individually and communally.

During the spring semester, Asbury hosts several notable Chapel speakers, including musician Andrew Peterson during February’s Faith & Literature Chapel, as well as former Asbury President Dr. David Gyertson and author Nik Ripken (“The Insanity of God”) later in the semester. Dr. James K.A. Smith, a philosopher and professor at Calvin College, will speak in Chapel and serve as the keynote speaker of the SEARCH Symposium, an annual academic competition, in April.

At several points throughout the academic year, a time of deeper reflection and communal worship is held on campus. These week-long events include Great Commission Congress and Holiness Emphasis Week which focus on missional living and Wesleyan-Holiness traditions.

Asbury University’s InReach Ministries creates space for student chaplaincy and intentional pastoral care within the residence halls. Each floor, unit and apartment has access to a Spiritual Life Coordinator (SLC) and Spiritual Life Assistant (SLA). These student workers help foster an environment conducive to spiritual growth and receive special training to better serve their peers. Residents meet each week during “Gather,” a time of prayer and kinship led by the SLAs.

Residence halls also come together several times throughout the year for times of testimony, reflection and to hear from guest speakers.

Additionally, Asbury’s Worship Arts program hosts events like Asbury Worship Night and Encounter. Asbury Worship Night takes place in the Student Center and provides a time for students to worship together as a community through song, prayer and testimony. Encounter services are held in Hughes Auditorium and have included experiences like stations set up around the Chapel (such as a feet-washing station and an art-as-worship station).

Banded Discipleship Groups were introduced to campus earlier in the academic year and allow students a chance to connect with God and each other in a small group setting. These gender-specific, student-driven groups of three to five serve as safe spaces of accountability and prayer.

In addition to the plethora of on-campus opportunities for spiritual growth, students also have access to a wide variety of local churches during their time on campus. Many students, especially those in the Christian Ministries and Worship Arts Program, find great joy in serving the local church through leading small groups, working in children’s ministry, media and more. On-campus leadership opportunities are also available for students in a variety of areas as well.

But it doesn’t stop there — spiritual vitality envelops the classroom environment as well. Students are required to take several Biblical studies courses to fulfill their Liberal Arts Foundation requirements. Professors care about the life of each individual student and take time to pray for our student body in classes. In both on-campus and online classes, it’s not uncommon for professors to set aside time to take prayer requests before or after class time.

Asbury’s unique combination of academic excellence and spiritual vitality enriches the lives of students and prepares them to impact the world for Christ.