Diversity of worship
Unique styles of worship grow through chapels and student groups. | Aaron Fooks/THE CHIMES [file photo]
Different types of worship have become more prevalent at Biola through spoken word poetry, hip hop and chapels, breaking the traditional mold by allowing students to use their talents to worship God in unique ways.
Different Expressions of Worship
Junior cinema and media arts major Moses Hooper worships through rap music. Last year, assistant director of chapel programs Mike Ahn asked Hooper if he was interested in leading worship as a guest. Recently, Hooper was given the opportunity to accompany one of the chapel bands in leading worship. One of his songs, “Wounded Sheep,” included parts of his testimony.
Hooper said he enjoyed seeing God use his story and music to impact others. He believes rap, like other genres of music and poetry, is an expression of worship.
“Rap is music that, given a heart that’s bent towards worshipping God, can be worshipful music,” Hooper said.
Sophomore computer science major Miles Luders plays guitar in a chapel band and said the Singspiration chapels often incorporate painting and journaling stations in addition to music. He said other forms of worship provide opportunities for students who are not necessarily interested in music to worship God in alternative ways.
“The other thing about other forms of worship in general is that it shows people that you can worship God with all your heart,” Luders said. “Most people, when they think of worship they automatically assume that it’s with music, which it usually is, but other forms of worship shows people that you can worship God in other ways.”
Senior music and worship major Christopher Duncil sees dance as a type of worship. As member of both the Biola Dance Crew and Xopoc, Duncil explained that secular dance groups focus mainly on glorifying themselves through dance. One of the main reasons he enjoys being a part of Xopoc is because they are a team that dances to glorify God.
“We had small groups where we would hold each other accountable for spiritual growth and all of that, and a lot of our goal was to glorify him through our dance and not so much ourselves. In that sense, it was a kind of a way to bring glory to him and not ourselves,” Duncil said.
Although these students have received positive responses to new forms of worship, they have experienced negative responses as well.
Hooper said the students had a positive response to the music he sang during chapel, but he has encountered negative feedback in his life as well, such as when his pastors asked him to change his music.
“Just like any other person that would say ‘dance can’t be worship’ or ‘rock can’t worship,’ I think experience has shown us that God receives all worship, of all types, all kinds, over all generations. God is not confined to a certain musical genre or expression of worship,” Hooper said.
Luders said students often find it difficult to adjust to chapel bands that play a different style of music because they find it distracting when they worship. Because of this, sometimes students will not attend chapels if certain bands are leading worship.
Connecting in Worship
Duncil said different worship styles allow people with various talents to join others in worship, but people who do not relate to that particular talent have trouble connecting.
“I feel like the people who can’t relate to that sort of medium don’t really connect in that way. But I think that’s why it’s important to have different outlets for that — to give more opportunities for that person to connect through worship,” Duncil said.