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Spiritual Life

Spiritual Formation

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you. Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around-life – and place it before God as an offering.”

Romans 12:1, The Message

Spring Arbor University encourages students to pursue an ‘ordinary life’ as a Vibrant Christian. Through our Spiritual Life program, we affirm the three marks of life as a balanced and thriving Christian life. First, we recognize faith begins with “knowing” we are saved through Jesus Christ. While the “knowing” is an intentional cognitive choice, knowing and being known by the Savior and by others is the focus of this first mark of a Vibrant Christian. As we stand together in the light of Christ, “we have fellowship with one another (1 John 1:7), which reflects the type of loving relationship we are called to as Christians.

The second mark of a follower of Jesus Christ should be evidence of a life daily surrendered to His Lordship. In order to “live in the world, but not be of it,” it is important for individual Christians to “grow” in their faith through the understanding and application of biblical principles.

Finally, for a follower of Christ, the natural fruit being known relationship with Jesus Christ and others, and our growing knowledge through His Word, is to “go” and engage in the world around us. It is our goal to help SAU students, faculty and staff to represent Christ to our neighbors whether they live around the corner or in the uttermost parts of the world.

In order to be the “salt and light” to which we are called to be, we commit ourselves to Know, Grow and Go as we strive to serve our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

As a community committed to Christian thought, behavior and Christ-centered relationships with others and with God, Spring Arbor University has certain spiritual life expectations and many opportunities for personal and communal growth.

Along with campus programming, students are encouraged to make personal choices that will reflect their desire to grow in their relationship with Christ. If students need help in setting up or organizing an effective devotional life, they are encouraged to contact the chaplain, the SGA Spiritual Life Director or the Spiritual Life Leader (SLL) in their residence hall for help and direction. 

Students are encouraged to take part in campus activities that nurture vibrant Christianity such as: DEEPER, Spiritual Life Retreat, Spring Break mission trips, accountability groups, small groups and periodic events organized by the SGA Spiritual Life Director, and pursue involvement in a local congregation. 

Sunday morning worship is encouraged and available at the church of the student’s choice. If students need help finding a church, the Chaplain’s Office can be of assistance.

Chapel at SAU

One of the primary reasons students choose to come to Spring Arbor University is the focus on encouraging a vibrant Christian life offered within the context of earning a university degree. Along with the nurture provided by Christian faculty and staff, the support that comes from Christ-centered relationships and the opportunities for service are integral to a student’s progress in the know, grow, go formation process. The chapel program is provided to encourage spiritual growth and worship by drawing the students into a transforming relationship with Jesus Christ. Chapel services are held Monday and Wednesday morning at 10:05 a.m. in the Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church. There are a few times when chapel is held on different days, and students will know of those changes by referring to the semester chapel schedule and checking the SAU app. There are 26 chapels per semester.

Because the University considers chapel an essential part of the Spring Arbor University Vibrant Christian experience, attendance is required and recorded, just as it is in the classroom or sport practices. Other informal spiritual life activities or worship experiences do not meet the chapel attendance requirement. Each student has an attendance record that is kept by the Office of Student Development and Success.

Chapel attendance is taken through the Spring Arbor University App as students enter Chapel. There will be a station for students who do not have a functioning smartphone. Scanning continues up to 10:10 a.m. Students arriving after that time are welcome to participate, but will be counted as absent. Early departure from Chapel is considered an absence.

Students can attend a formal Wednesday evening “DEEPER” gathering to make up for a chapel absence. These gatherings are not required. There will be seven each semester.

Please become familiar with the following chapel attendance guidelines:

Chapel Attendance is Required for Full-Time Students

  • All RESIDENTIAL STUDENTS living in the University’s residence halls, villages, and K-houses.
  • All full-time COMMUTER STUDENTS living in the 49283 ZIP Code.
  • All full-time COMMUTER STUDENTS living outside the 49283 ZIP Code that have class either before or after chapel. 
  • All students who are not required to attend as an outcome of this policy are still encouraged to attend whenever they are able to do so. 

Exceptions to the Chapel Attendance Policy

For circumstances relating to regular employment or childcare, petition forms are available in the Office of Student Development and Success. Students may petition to be excused from chapel because of a regular employment schedule that conflicts with the chapel schedule for one semester each academic year. A chapel petition will not be approved for two consecutive semesters spanning different academic years. Petitions are considered on their merit and are subject to the final decision of the Office of Student Development and Success. Observation hours for teacher education and substitute teaching are not conditions for petition.

Appeals of decisions regarding chapel attendance or petitions are to be made in writing to the Office of Student Development and Success within 48 hours of receiving the decision. After this time frame, the decision will be final.

If You Need to Miss Chapel:

Six chapel misses are permitted during each semester for such reasons as class trips, athletic events, illness or other personal circumstances. Required attendance for class activities that would force a student to miss chapel are not considered over and above these six misses, but one of them.

The Accountability Plan as follows applies to students who exceed the six misses that are provided:

  1. Absence 7: Chapel probation for the following semester, with a maximum of four allowable absences.
  2. Absence 8: Chapel probation and dismissal warning; appointment with a Student Development and Success Staff Member.
  3. Absence 9: Eligible for semester dismissal from the University beginning the following semester. 

A student is placed on Chapel probation when they exceed the maximum six Chapel misses the previous semester. If a student exceeds the four allowable absences while on probation, they are eligible for dismissal the following semester. 

If you have any questions about Chapel attendance, they can be answered in the Office of Student Development and Success.