Written by: Hannah Johnson
If Southern Adventist University’s enrichment credit program collaborated with local churches, students would have more chances to obtain worship credits and would be less likely to push back against the worship requirements.
Due to Southern’s current worship credit requirements, students are attending religious functions they are not interested in because they are worried about receiving a fine. Instead, students should be focusing on their own personal walk with God.
If Southern were to reach out to local churches and partner with them to provide a more diverse list of worship credit opportunities, students could receive credits while attending services with church atmospheres that they prefer. In addition, interacting with that preferred community could encourage students to participate in more religious experiences, including those on campus.
I am not arguing that the worship credit system should be done away with entirely. Students who registered for Southern did so with an understanding of the worship requirements. While I do believe there are issues behind required worship, we have an opportunity to go to a different university if credits bother us so badly. Furthermore, the university gives students numerous opportunities to receive credits by attending various functions through many different organizations and events.
If you are like me and work is a priority and interferes with credit opportunities, you can apply for a reduction on the enrichment credit webpage. While it is important for an Adventist university to encourage its students to strengthen their relationships with God, I have seen some push back against the system because students feel forced to participate and go at a pace in the church they are not comfortable with.
That is why I believe Southern should reach out more to local churches, asking them to collaborate with the university’s worship credit program. I believe students would be better encouraged to attend more religious experiences once finding the church that suits them the best. Plus, it’s not fair for students who have found that atmosphere in an off-campus church to feel drawn away from it at times because they have to return to campus to get worship credits.
Last year, when I attended Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists, I did not feel connected the way I wanted to. Having a close-knit church family is important to me, and the community was way too big to experience that. I started going to other churches until I found a church that fit me best. Now, I’m constantly involving myself with the Adventurer Club, Sabbath School and other church events. Even though I am highly involved within the church, I do not receive credit for it.
The process of collaborating with off-campus churches would not be difficult. If, for example, a student could receive a form from Student Development that could be signed by a pastor or other church leader explaining the church event the student participated in, that would be a great and simple way for them to get credit within a church of their choice.
Southern grants us many opportunities to receive worship credits, but that doesn’t mean students are happy about the requirements. I believe a far smaller percentage of the student population would continue to be unhappy, however, if they could receive worship credits from off-campus churches, allowing them to simultaneously worship in a setting they enjoy and obtain credits.