Since Bruce Benedict arrived as chaplain of worship at Hope College two and a half years ago, he has urged students to create original worship songs and has helped write EPs including “Fairer” and “The Beatitudes” over the course of the last school year. They have now begun the process of creating a new EP based on the Psalms.
“Over the next two weeks the worship teams will meet a few times to develop arrangements for the songs and on April 1 we will spend the day recording them in the Jack Miller Perform- ing Arts recording studio. After that Drew Elliot will help us mix and master the album,” Benedict said.
There are two student teams that rotate worship throughout days at chapel and Sunday Gathering services, which are around an hour, starting at 8 p.m. Students range from sophomores to seniors, with various majors across the board.
Worship team brings people of all backgrounds together and allows them to lead the student body in worshiping the most high: Jesus Christ.
“I am consistently over- whelmed with how talented the students are and how willing they are to stretch themselves and humbly offer their gifts in service to God at Hope,” Benedict said.
The worship team not only performs a crucial role in the Christian faith, but also allows students on the team an op- portunity to lead and represent the body of Christ. “It’s first and foremost an honor and a privilege that I really believe the members have been ordained to be on that team and in that place,” Jake Helder (’17), bassist on one of the teams, said.
Auditions for worship team have been in progress over the past week and decisions are not taken lightly. Much intricate thought goes into who will per- form onstage and later contribute to the new worship songs; it is not simply based on who plays an instrument or can sing well.
“[I’ve learned] how to have a posture of leading worship, be- cause everyone has an idea of what that might be… I think it’s easy to misinterpret how you should approach that and how you should feel about that in regards to pride and ego,” Helder said. “I definitely am still learning how to lead humbly and to accept a role that is important, but to understand how to shepherd that in a humble way that is giving glory to someone else other than you, which is hard.”
Every individual on the worship team can spread God’s spirit through music and contribute to the melodious, vast library of worldwide hymns.
“I love how new songs capture the work of God in a particular moment, time and space,” Benedict said. “Even though most of the songs that we sing in chapel/Gathering were written by people in other places and times and for other congregations, we want to have some songs that speak uniquely from our people.”
These songs of Hope and spiritual hope are staples of Christian life on campus. Last Sunday, as both bands led the Gathering in one final worship song devoid of microphones, it was clear that they were united in a common purpose and meant every word that came out of their mouths.
“I love this atmosphere and to be able to create original stuff for the purpose of Hope College, especially when you have scripture that commands us to sing a new song,” Helder said. Chapel at Hope is not required, but every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, students fill up Dimnent Chapel from 10:30 – 10:50 a.m.
All of Hope’s recorded EPs and singles can be found on their “Hope College Worship” Bandcamp page.
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