Worshiping God in the Grace Community: A Glimpse into Student-led Worship Nights
“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)
It’s 9 p.m. on the Tuesday night of finals week. A group of students gather in the Science Center with one goal — praising God.
Worship Arts major Jake Fultz strums his guitar and leads the singing as Carter Schuh backs up the beat with the cajón. Fultz starts in prayer. “God, we invite You into this space, may You be glorified through our praises. God, move in this place. Help us to trust that You are still working and You are still good even when it doesn’t seem like it.”
Fultz, the organizer and leader of worship nights, felt called to start worship nights for the Grace community in the spring of 2022.
“I wanted to open a space to give people the opportunity to praise God,” said Fultz. “A way to come together as a community of believers and know we’re all here for one reason -– to praise God.”
Fultz is inspired by Isaiah’s vision of the angels by God’s throne, crying out, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” It reminds him of how holy God is. God doesn’t need our praise, yet He wants it. We are unworthy to stand in God’s presence, yet He invites us to.
“We should be giving God praise regardless of if He’s moving. He’s going to move because He promised that He would,” said Fultz.
Students sit cross-legged on the floor of the circular classroom. “Waymaker” plays, and everyone begins to sing quietly, “You are here moving in this place, I worship You…” People stand with open arms, and others sit against the wall with their eyes closed. Each person here has their own struggles, their own stories of how God has moved. Their own hopes and fears about how He will move in the circumstances they are facing now. The song continues -– “Even when I don’t see it, You’re working. Even when I don’t feel it, You’re working…”
“Coming into college, there are a lot of changes,” said Cook. “Worship nights are a way for me to breathe — they are a safe space to express my joy and receive support from fellow Christians.”
Cook appreciates the intentionality behind the songs Fultz selects, her favorite being “Waymaker.” She says there is something powerful about hearing so many voices sing the words in unison.
The songs continue as groups of friends sit together and pray. A few girls cross the room to pray with a girl sitting by the wall. Across the room, a few friends join arms around each other and sway to the music. For the final song, everyone claps and raises their hands.
Worship nights are second-year student Anna Kezar’s favorite events on campus.
“Worship nights are a way to put aside everything else in our lives, come together with the Grace community, and praise God with all our hearts,” said Kezar.
Several students, including Donovan Connelly, Caroline Kolb, and Liz Bayert, have stepped up to help Fultz with the music or setup.
“For me to see worship nights grow is to see the same people come back every time and come with a heart posture that says God deserves the glory,” said Fultz. “Instead of how many people come, I pray about who comes.”
This is community — God moving in people’s lives. This is why people come to Grace – to witness a community in which everything is sacred.
A girl stands and reads from Zephaniah 3 (NLT version) with a passionate expression. “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
God is alive and in our midst.