Hesston College creates an atmosphere where choices can be made that are consistent with the life and teaching of Jesus Christ.
Recognizing that Hesston students are at different places in their faith journeys, the college offers a variety of activities and leadership opportunities to all students, encouraging them to participate where they feel most comfortable.
The campus pastor is a vital resource to students, faculty and staff. The pastor is available for counseling and help in spiritual development and is responsible for religious life programs and ministry, Christian growth, leadership and worship. The following Campus Ministries activities fall under the leadership of the campus pastor.
Bible Studies and Small Groups
Small groups for fellowship, sharing, Bible study and prayer are available for students who desire a more intimate setting in which to experience personal growth and accountability. Each group is led by student leaders. At the beginning of each semester, the campus pastor recruits and trains leaders for this ministry. Also available are Bible study groups in different languages (as leaders are available).
This weekly informal gathering includes singing contemporary choruses, sharing, prayer and a time of teaching from the Bible. The Campus Worship Team, which is comprised of students, plans and leads these gatherings which take place at 9 p.m. each Sunday. At the beginning of each semester, the campus pastor recruits and trains new leadership for this ministry and continues to meet with them regularly.
Chapel and Forum
The college community gathers from 11 to 11:30 a.m. each Monday and Wednesday for chapel and Friday for forum.
Chapel is a time for worship, renewal and encouragement for integrating faith in all of life as well as for the sharing of announcements and concerns of importance to the college community. The format of chapel services will vary to reflect both the heritage and tradition of the Mennonite church and the diversity of the student population. Chapel services involve speakers and dramatic, musical or multi-media presentations. Leadership in chapel is given by students, faculty and staff as well as other resource persons. Responsibility for chapel services rests with a planning committee chaired by the campus pastor. Please direct questions of a spiritual nature to the campus pastor.
The community gathers at the same time on Fridays to consider topics related to the well-being of the Hesston College community and to our academic outcomes. Like chapel, presentation format will vary, with leadership provided by faculty, staff, student contributors and guest presenters. Announcements, worship and congregational music are typically not a part of forum, which is coordinated by a faculty member appointed by the vice president of Academics.
All full-time students are required to attend chapel and forum to obtain chapel/forum credits. Full-time on-campus students are required to obtain at least 15 credits each half semester (15 before midterm; 15 after midterm). For full-time off-campus students the minimum is eight per full semester. Third- and fourth-year students, students holding previous college degrees and part-time students are encouraged, but not required, to attend chapel and forum. For those obtaining credit, attendance is recorded by scanning the barcodes on student IDs. It is each student’s responsibility to keep a record of how many chapel/forums he or she has attended. All appeals for credit should be made to an RD within two weeks on official forms. This information can be found through a link on the Moodle community page.
In the event of an occasional activity that conflicts with chapel/forum (field trip, music performance, athletic trip), no excused credit is given. It is up to the student to plan for such events to still meet the credit requirements. Students will be contacted only if they are in violation of the requirement. If a student does not meet the chapel/forum credit requirement, a make-up activity will be required as well as a fine assessed. The registrar will not release grades or transcripts for students who fail to meet these chapel/forum credit requirements. Students will not be allowed to return for another semester until they meet the requirements.
Appropriate dress and conduct are expected. Chapel/forum attendees may not wear headphones or use computers, mobile phones or other electronic devices during chapel/forum. Please respect presenters and others in the audience by refraining from studying and talking during chapel and forum. Credit may be revoked at the discretion of the Residence Life team.
Audio files of most chapels and forums are available on the Hesston College website under Student Development > Chapel and Forum Schedule.
Missions and Service Days
Twice each year, representatives from various mission and service agencies come to campus to provide information about the needs and opportunities within the programs they represent.
Camp Ministry Days
Each year during the spring semester, representatives from various summer camps come to campus to provide information about the needs and opportunities within the camps they represent.
The campus pastor leads group prayer times on an occasional basis. Individuals are invited to form prayer groups or to call the pastor for specific prayer needs.
The campus pastor provides spiritual counseling and discipleship training, both on an individual basis and in small groups.
Stutzman Retreat Center is available for off-campus retreats which are scheduled to provide students with the opportunity to break from their routine, meet other people or concentrate on a particular project or issue.
Spiritual Renewal Weekend
This student-planned weekend offers renewal meetings for the college and surrounding community. The campus pastor serves as an advisor for the planning committee.
Students are invited to take part in the worship services of area churches. Some congregations provide transportation and special classes for students who attend their services. See congregation listing in the Services available off campus section.
Voluntary service options are available in the area. The Peace and Service Club plans activities related to mission, service and peace. Other volunteer options include M2 prison visitation, Big Brother/Big Sister program, Mennonite Disaster Service, Schowalter Villa and spring break service trips.
Students can check the service board in the Larks Nest for one-time and ongoing service opportunities. Students can log their service hours for their service transcript through the service learning link on Hesston College’s Moodle site. Cleo Koop is the service learning coordinator.