The University is concerned with each student’s personal spiritual development, and the spiritual growth of the whole community. For this reason, the University Chaplain seeks to introduce programs and activities that nurture this spiritual growth in the context of a Christian faith community at the beginning of every semester. Students are expected to take full advantage of these opportunities by participating with enthusiasm in the various activities and disciplines.
It should also be noted that the Olivet community is distinguished by a culture of shepherding, even among its student body. More senior students are expected to support and facilitate the emotional-social, spiritual, and academic maturity of newer students in accordance with University ’ s mission and core values.
Wednesday and Friday Chapel Services
Olivet University students are required to attend Wednesday and Friday Services, (as well as Sunday Service) and should have a participatory attitude towards worship.
Olivet University holds regular retreats co-sponsored by OA USA, GnIT and/or other mission fellowships featuring sustained time for prayer, discernment, and fellowship. These gathering usually take place seasonally and are led by a selection of OA USA pastors, worship leaders, and administrators at Olivet University. Olivet students frequently assume leadership roles at these gatherings, and hold responsibility for organizing event activities. Participants often testify that retreats encourage a deeper experience of spiritual life at Olivet, and stronger community bonds. Retreat locations vary. In-person participation is required to pass Chapel class.
Olivet University recommends that its students attend regular prayer meetings at their local churches. As previously mentioned, on-campus Olivet students attend Friday prayer meetings at Olivet University Chapel.
Small Group Spiritual Discipline – The Cell Church
Olivet University community members practice faith and discipline as participants in small groups, known as cell churches. New cell churches develop at the start of each year, when entering Olivet University students are organized into groups of five to eight students led by an Olivet University administrator, alumni, graduate student or local OA USA pastor.
This opportunity is intended to help prepare students for the challenge of serving as spiritual leaders in their own respective contexts of ministry.
Students who study on-campus at Olivet University must participate in the cell church system organized through Olivet Chapel. The Olivet University Chaplain coordinates cell church formation with Olivet University Chapel leadership.
As previously mentioned, each cell church is comprised of roughly five to eight members. Once cell churches exceed eight members in total, they usually split into two groups comprised of four members each. Cell churches designate a name for themselves upon formation.
Students who take courses online are required to join a small group organized by their local OA USA churches. Online student participation must be documented by a letter sent to Olivet University’s Dean of Students each semester from the head OA USA pastor of the church hosting the small group confirming the student’s participation.
Online students also assemble once per week by Colleges, country/native language, and educational-level (in some cases) in an online conference room developed by Olivet College of Information and Technology for use by the Olivet University community. Online students sign up for Olivet online group meetings at the beginning of each semester according to their region, language, or interest. Online small group meetings are headed by Olivet University administrators, senior undergraduate or graduate students.
“BREAKING BREAD” DISCUSSION
Olivet University students get together once a week in small groups for the purpose of “ Breaking Bread, ” – or sharing the grace received from reflection and application of biblical teachings.
On-campus students gather following Sunday Service at Olivet University Chapel by cell church to “ break bread, ” for thirty minutes to one hour. Online students assemble in a similar manner in OA USA congregations and GnIT and other mission fellowships at least once every week.
FELLOWSHIP AND CELL CHURCH LIFE
Close interaction among cell church members is facilitated by the small group structure and nature of cell church activities. Olivet University strongly encourages students to fellowship at the cell church-level, with the goal of forming a continuously expanding circle of lifelong relationships in Christ.
Fellowship time is allotted for students who attend Olivet University on-campus after Sunday Service at Olivet Chapel. Following a period set aside to “ Break Bread, ” cell church members often eat a lunch prepared on a rotation schedule by individual cell churches.
EVANGELIZING WITH CELL CHURCH MEMBERS
Olivet University encourages students to evangelize with the members of their cell churches. Cell church leaders are responsible for setting evangelism standards and schedules, with input from cell church members.
Students are encouraged to communicate openly, but respectfully with all Olivet University staff members, and to seek spiritual guidance at any time, especially from the Dean of Students, the University Chaplain and the Director of Christian Service. Personal counseling is intended to help students better adjust to their University experience and to provide support for their personal walks of faith. Olivet University also encourages students to maintain ties with OA USA church leaders throughout their tenure at Olivet University, especially students who attend online.