By Brooklyn Dance
A brand new, student-led worship service kicks off tonight.
SOMA, a completely student lead worship service, starts at 9 p.m. in TSAC.
Jacob Bell, a junior religion major and student body chaplain, has had the idea of a worship-based gathering since the fall semester of 2015.
“There is a lot going on in our city, state and country, and we want to be a part of what the Lord is doing,” Bell said.
Searching for a name to call the worship gathering, Bell headed into the library asking random people for their opinions on names. Bell took in all sorts of ideas but wasn’t sold until Ashley Pickens, a junior, explained her dream of people coming together at a church named SOMA.
Bell loved the name, and so did everyone else. SOMA is Greek for body, and perfectly captures the meaning of the service, Bell said.
Towards the end of the summer, Bell met up with Shawna Songer Gaines, university chaplain, to discuss plans for this year’s chapel and theme.
They had both been praying about the same “body” theme.
“I’ve been spending all summer praying and thinking about this theme, ‘This is My Body,’ and [Jacob] has been spending his summer praying and thinking about these SOMA gatherings,” Songer Gaines said. “He and I had no idea that God had laid similar things on our hearts, and we come together at the end of the summer and realize that we had both been praying about a lot of the same things.”
“I couldn’t say it’s a coincidence,” Bell said. “The Lord is doing something crazy in our midst.”
Bell calls it a “diversely unified worship service,” in which there will always be someone different leading worship and bringing the message.
There are four difference aspects to SOMA: Discipleship, Community, Missions and Scripture.
As part of the Missions facet, SOMA is planning mission projects on campus every other week, and mission projects in the city once a month.
“Message and ministry go hand in hand,” Bell said. “We want to apply what we learn to our city.”
“I’m really excited to see what’s going to happen this year, I’m excited to have an opportunity for students to worship that is something that they just elect to do on their own. It’s not for a chapel credit, it is really just wanting a space for students by students to come together and worship.”
There is no chapel credit given for SOMA, but that is intentional. It is designed for students who want to be there, not because they have to.
“I’m praying for a revival,” Bell said. “This is more than just a service. It is what we see in Matthrew 6: ‘Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.’”
SOMA was originally intended to be held every other Wednesday in TSAC. However, this semester the facility is busy on certain Wednesday nights, so the services are more sporadic.
This Wednesday, those who attend will hear from three students who went on the TAG trip to China: Jared Callahan, Samantha Newman and Amanda Johsnon. Alumni Andrea Richardson will be preaching, and the night will end with an ice cream social.
Sept. 21 Oct. 26
Sept. 28 Nov. 9
Oct. 12 Nov. 16
Oct. 19 Dec. 7