CAMPBELLSVILLE, KY — Campbellsville University has begun an online chapel experience for students.
Developed in partnership with Learning House, CU’s online chapel is the first of its kind in the online educational world, Dr. Shane Garrison, assistant professor of educational ministries and director of theology online at CU, said.
There were no models across the United States for CU to pattern the online chapel upon, so Garrison conceptulized the project with three major sections.
Garrison said beta testing of the online chapel will begin this spring, and a full launch to the entire online student body is slated for either the summer or fall semesters.
Garrison said Dr. DeWayne Frazier, associate vice president for academic affairs, spearheaded the idea with the objective of providing online students with access to the same spiritual growth opportunities the main campus students have.
According to Garrison, Learning House did an extensive survey of numerous Christian colleges, universities and seminaries and no one had created anything for chapel for online students.
“With no prior models to glean from, I asked myself ‘What would an online student benefit from the most to aid their own spiritual growth?’ I thought immediately of worship, prayer and various Bible study options. These three are essential spiritual disciplines that help any person of faith grow in their walk with Christ,” Garrison said.
Garrison used pictures and videos of CU’s Ransdell Chapel and submitted the images to graphic designers to employ virtual reality technology. The result is an online chapel that looks like a virtual match to the Ransdell Chapel.
There are three parts to the online chapel. The first includes the University Chapel Archive and live web streaming of the university’s regularly scheduled programs. By clicking on the pulpit in the online chapel, and any student, in any location, at any time, can watch previously recorded main campus chapel services or a live stream of a current service.
Part two is the Bible Study Center, which is located at the lectern in the online chapel. The Bible Study Center has three options. The Weekly Bible Teaching consists of Garrison leading a three-five minute Bible study that is refreshed every Monday morning. The Life of Christ Q & A is a step-by-step series exploring who Jesus is and what Jesus did for each of us.
The third section of the Bible Study Center is the Hope Project, a 12-part video journey through the Old and New Testaments. Garrison said this section is “very helpful if you are new to the Christian faith or still considering what it means to believe in God.”
Frazier said, “One of the primary goals of the project was to meet students where they are in their faith and hopefully help develop some building blocks for growth.”
Part three of the online chapel consists of The Prayer Center, which is depicted by the candle in the online chapel. Students can post prayer requests or praise reports, and Garrison and other students in the online forum will pray for these requests.
“With these three components as the foundation, we created a virtual chapel environment where students who choose various spiritual opportunities in much like a video game format,” Garrison said.
Frazier said, “I am pleased with the hard work and dedication shown by Dr. Garrison and the Learning House team.
“The virtual chapel will allow more of the sweet spirit that students experience at Campbellsville to convey over into the online realm. It is also great to be at the cutting edge of technology to engage the next generation of learners as well as seekers.”
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,600 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.