One of the nagging dilemmas I face as a university president is faculty attendance in chapel.

We require the students to attend 24 chapels per semester. They often ask me why many professors do not attend.

And their logic is pretty good. “If we are a Christian community, and we believe that worship is formative, and we believe that the need for worship does not end when you get a degree, why don’t professors attend chapel?”

I remind them that many do.

Ok; some do.

I remind them that schedules differ. I remind them that ear blasting volume is tough on old people.

And I confess to them that I only get to about half of the chapels due to my work and travels. But their question still haunts me.

So, I think about these things. I tend to be a fix-the-problem kind of guy. I have ideas.

Connect chapel to tenure. No chapel? Don’t even think of applying for tenure.

Or maybe raises. The ceiling for non-attending faculty raises is 1 percent.

Or maybe I just sic the students on them with a “drag your prof to chapel and get a tuition discount.”

I could probably force the issue and count more degreed noses.

And then I read Eugene Peterson: “Worship is the strategy by which we interrupt our preoccupation with ourselves and attend to the presence of God.”

I think I’ll be trusting the human need for worship to alter behavior more than trusting in my presidential power.


  1. A friend of mine teaches at ONU and she admitted to me that her first year there she didn’t make it to chapel very often because she felt so overwhelmed with everything else she had to do but this second year there she rarely misses because she loves it so much!

    PS the years you were my pastor while I was at ONU are some of my fondest years!

  2. Dr. Boone,

    I think the heart of genuine authentic worship arises from our awareness of our desperate need for God’s unconditional love, mercy, grace, and kindness. If we are in a season of our Christian walk where we are unintentionally “self-sufficient”, worship is nothing more than a habit or ritual (opening song, announcements, offering w/ or w/o a special, worship set, message). If I am at a point where I don’t see the need to honor God and pay him homage for all he has done for me, (i.e. Church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:4), I will fail to engage in true worship. Denying self and daily cross bearing, or as Peterson said “interrupting our preoccupation with self”, would definitely assist. Thanks for the post.

    Ernie Ley

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