By Kaitlyn Czajkowski
Patrick Henry College
Junior Jensen Near
This group of students makes up PHC’s “Chapel Guild,” a group led by PHC’s music professor, Dr. Steven McCollum. PHC students have led chapel worship since the inception of the college, but in recent years, McCollum and PHC President, Dr. Graham Walker, have worked to reorganize the program to include different worship styles.
The focus of the worship, McCollum said, is to “honor the riches of the past, while still utilizing the best of today’s worship.” For this reason, chapel worship includes both hymns and contemporary worship. Fifteen different students and several members of the PHC staff present music, utilizing their gifts with the piano, string instruments, and vocals.
Interested students audition early in the semester, when McCollum assembles Guild Groups whose members’ skills complement each other. Each Guild Group is assigned a “master apprentice,” typically an upperclassman with guild experience, and teams hold regular practices in preparation for leading worship every two to three weeks.
McCollum runs the program as an outlet for students to serve their peers.
“We hope that we are crafting worship that helps the worshiper see Christ,” he said.
“Jesus commands us to be faithful with the things He has entrusted to us,” adds Zachary Simmons, PHC sophomore, who plays either guitar or piano in chapel. “[God] has blessed those of us in the Chapel Guild with the ability and strong desire both to play beautiful music and to lead others towards pure worship of the holy, Triune God.”
Simmons has been involved in leading worship since high school and was excited to find the guild program at PHC. “Through the Chapel Guild… I have learned important life lessons about pride, servant leadership, and how sufficient and amazing the grace of Christ really is,” he said.
Sophomore Brooke Butler, also a member of the Chapel Guild, says the program has encouraged her to be transparent in all areas of her life. “All of life can be a ‘stage’ for the glory of God,” she said. “When people look at me… I want them to see a window into the heart of Jesus Christ.”
Impressed by the students, their dedication to the ministry, and to the Biblical model of servant leadership, Dr. McCollum observed: “Their hearts are in the right place, and I think that they do a fabulous job.”