Campus Pastor's Office Chapel
We believe that loving God is essential to living a good and authentic life. Jesus is at the center of everything, so we gather regularly as a community to be reminded of the God of love, to turn our hearts, minds, and souls towards Him, and to seek Him together. We worship, reflect, pray, and learn from Him as a community.
Our mission is to connect with God and with one another, and to be equipped to engage the world with the good news of Jesus Christ.
We, as a diverse community, gather together to live into unity and experience Christ together. Through diversified worship and teaching, we practice listening to the broad collective voice of the Global Church, and the Church throughout the ages.
We are invited to gather in Murchison Gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday's from 10:30-11:20 am.
Chapel is mandatory for all students of Westmont College (regardless of their class or semester).
Chapel brings the community together for worship. Through exposure to different styles of worship, we learn to appreciate various forms and traditions of worship and expression.
Chapel promotes a community with a distinctive purpose and sense of identity. It is the only time the entire community gathers together on a regular basis.
Students are encouraged to participate in a local church community. Some churches send buses, shuttles and vans to the campus on Sunday morning to help students have access to Sunday services. Santa Barbara has a rich and vibrant Christian community.
The Nancy Voskuyl Prayer Chapel is a place to spend time with God and to pray and meditate in a quiet place away from noise and distractions. Read a history of the prayer chapel.
Please check on our COVID-19 Chapel page for the latest updates.
Chapel & Campus Pastor's Office Information
Our Office is located in the Clark B Cottage!
Elective Chapels are not mandatory, but offer students another option for Chapel credit. Each Elective Chapel you attend counts as one Chapel credit. Elective Chapels are open to ALL classes (except for the Seniors Only Elective Chapels).
Why do we gather together for chapel? Why do we do it three times every week?
When I was a kid I asked a lot of “Why?” questions. Why did I have to eat chard? Why did I have to take a shower? Why did I have to learn algebra? The answer was usually something about it “being good for me.” Hardly compelling to a young boy who believes he will live forever. It turns out they were right. Said activities have been good for me, even if that hasn’t always been the most compelling answer at the time. I would have benefited from some overarching meta-narrative that would have had me running to eat chard in the shower.
So, why do we get together for chapel as a community? Why do we do it three times every week? Good questions.
After one of Peter’s first sermons over 3,000 people committed themselves to following Jesus. Acts 2:42 describes how they responded: “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” When people become captivated by Jesus we immediately get immersed in a community of people who are on a similar journey.
The trajectory of the journey will lead us to become people who have encountered God’s love so much that we become transformed people--people shaped by love. The journey itself is intended to be communal. Encountering fellow sojourners will do more to shape our experience of the love of God than anything else. They will challenge us, sharpen us, annoy us, stretch us, expose us, encourage us, pick us up, and compel us to keep going. So we gather together.
Likewise we have voluntarily chosen as a community to come together and devote ourselves to scriptural teaching, which is meant to introduce us to the incredible love of God in Christ, and inspire us to pursue living in such a way that he will be first in all things and in all ways. We don’t by nature default into wisdom and faithfulness. We are frail creatures often duped by our idols and our own selves. Scripture has a way of connecting us to the bigger story of God, and putting things in their right place. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10). We need to have our minds re-made by the love of God. So we gather.
Growing in love is not solely an academic or intellectual process. It does not neglect the mind, indeed the love of God sets our minds ultimately free and propels us toward our greatest capacity and potential. When people become captivated by God’s love it is a whole-self response and process. When Jesus was asked what the greatest command was, and what was most important, he replied, “Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is one Lord: and you shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-33). So everytime we get together for chapel we are hoping to create space to let the Lord teach us, reach us, and inspires us to love him with our whole selves, and to learn how to love one another, and all our neighbors in the world. So we gather.
When we gather we are going to move beyond any one of our personal preferences, styles, and comforts. We are hoping to include many expressions of how God’s people worship him, learn from him, and express ourselves back to him. We will learn new songs, and belt familiar ones. We will learn old prayers and pray new ones. We will learn from one another, bless one another, pray for one another, and learn how to worship God next to one another, as a community. We were made for relationship with God, so we are going to pray. Augustine said that, “When we sing, we pray twice.” So we are going to sing. We were made to worship God. So we gather.
We will also be hospitable hosts to a myriad of guests who will come to bless, challenge, encourage, and teach us. Some will have a profound impact on you, and you will remember them as long as you live. Others you will quickly forget, but your neighbor will be impacted. Either way, we will warmly welcome those who have come to share their hearts with us. We will endeavor to transcend the culture’s lack of tolerance for differing voices. We will hear from brothers and sisters who are like us, and those who are different than us. So we gather.
God has a plan to transform us into people that look like Jesus--people whose lives have been overtaken by love. He wants to teach us how to live lives that reflect the school motto--”Christus Primatum Tenens” (Christ first in all things) that reflects the foundational truth of Colossians 1:18, “So that in everything [Christ] might have the supremacy.” This is hard work and it is beautiful work. It is slow work, and the journey is never a straight line. So we gather, and we gather regularly. For thousands of years God’s people have put regular rhythms in place to help draw them back to being available to being shaped by God’s love. So our community gathers three times a week to make ourselves available together. It is a unique opportunity. We encourage you to lean in, and enthusiastically enter the time expecting that God will use it to bless you, bless others, challenge and equip you to bless others. It won’t happen every time, but there is a power in making yourself regularly available. So we gather, and God is pleased to be with us.
Chapel services are like the family meal, the one gathering to which everyone is invited. In chapel we encounter the value of the various and diverse members of the Westmont family, past, present and even future. Day to day, amid the busyness of a packed schedule, chapel can be a way to ground ourselves, remember, belong, and become available to the overwhelming love of God.
We will gather, and it will be good for us!
"The Lord Bless You and Keep You"
A Note from Dr. Michael Shasberger
We have begun the process of teaching the entire student body the Peter Lutkin setting of the benediction from Numbers 6, "The Lord Bless You and Keep You," so that our community can sing it in Chapel and in other settings. We sang it last semester in the Student Award's Chapel and again at Baccalaureate and it was beautiful. In preparation for singing it together this year, please feel free to download the attached pdf to rehearse on your own whenever you would like. If you want private coaching, I'd be happy to help, or you can visit one of these youtube postings to learn it from your personal computer:
Music will be provided whenever it is sung in Chapel, but you are welcome to print and bring your own copy with you.
Download a pdf copy of the benediction.
May the Lord truly bless and keep each of you,
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be in a small group? Capax Dei (loosely translated, "Space for God"), is the name for the community of small groups that meets during the school year, sponsored by the Westmont Campus Pastor's Office and the Westmont Center for Spiritual Formation. These groups are designed to be a place where you can learn to hear the voice of God in Scripture, make lifelong friendships, and find peace in the midst of sometimes busy and hectic lives. Want to know more? Check out this short informational video!
Sign ups for Spring 2020 are now closed.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact Eben Drost (Worship Team Director) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Groups are built on a first-come, first-served basis.
Campus Pastor's Office Staff
“We have been absolutely captivated by Jesus, and invested in by a community of faith. Our passion is to lead people into vibrant authentic relationships with Jesus Christ and with each other. It is our joy to be available to and invest in leaders and seekers alike.”
"My desire is to encourage a culture of worship that is faithful to Christ, in harmony with Westmont’s mission and values, theologically rich, multicultural, and artistically creative. I hope that the work I am a part of will stand as an "Ebenezer" -- an enduring monument to God's faithfulness (1 Sam 7:12)"
"My heart swells when I read in the Scriptures that Jesus had compassion for His people and therefore He brought healing and set them free. My prayer is that I will see God redeem and renew communities and His people through compassion, mercy and justice."