Since 2015, there has been a 4% decrease of students who identify with the Assemblies of God (AG) denomination, according to John Kim, Associate Director of Institutional Research. Vanguard’s population is more diverse in church backgrounds, representing different ways to view worship.
For nearly 100 years, Vanguard has been an established AG university. Being at a private institution, students interact with their student life, academics, and chapels through a Christian worldview. Even though it is done through a common lens, students bring a different aspect of their denominations, traditions, and extra-curricular activities to their college experience.
Junior music major Justin Reed grew up in a non-denominational church and is part of the Jazz Ensemble. He is involved with worship at his home church playing bass. Playing music is a large portion of worship to Reed but is not the only aspect of it.
“I think that’s a part of it, but the main part is to give glory to God through the talents that he has given us,” Reed said.
To other students, worship can be something done through the way they interact with people and within the aspects of life outside of chapel. Some students find serving in student leadership to be a way to experience the Lord.
“Worship is not solely about the singing and the music, it is about the position of the heart,” Vice President of the Student Government Association (SGA), Mireya Lopez, said.
Lopez grew up in an AG church and served in an internship this summer at Hope City Church in San Diego, Calif.
“When it comes to my position in SGA, I believe worship can look like standing up for the students of Vanguard and echoing their voice,” Lopez said.
Many students choose to express worship through everyday activities and conversations just as much as they do at a church or chapel service.
Senior Alyssa Gibbons grew up in an Anglican background. She plays guitar for the worship team at her church and enjoys playing soccer, both ways she chooses to worship.
“I think worship can look like me playing soccer with my friends on a Tuesday night, grabbing dinner with people I love, actually acting on something I feel like the Lord is leading me into, or singing and playing the guitar on a Sunday,” Gibbons said.
While typically worship is singing and playing her instrument, it has recently become a way for her to practice obedience in her daily life, according to Gibbons.
Kayla Harrell, a senior music major, started attending a Baptist church in high school. She came to Vanguard to be a classical guitar major and serves as a student leader within the Music Department.
“Worship is anything with the purpose of glorifying God,” Harrell said.
On campus, there are noticeable differences in how students personally and uniquely experience God in their worship. As this diversity grows, students are finding community together as they discover their own gifts and talents, exercising them as worship before the Lord.