I distinctly remember my first class at Hope College. Dean Frost, my professor for my Freshman Year Seminar said, “What you seek to find at Hope, you will find.” He elaborated that if you seek to further your faith, you will have the opportunity to do so. If you want nothing to do with a Christian education, you can find that too. Looking back on my four years at Hope, his words hold so much more truth than I knew that first week on campus.
Hope is a place where students are given the freedom of choice. Chapel isn’t required, and yet it’s standing-room-only almost every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Students aren’t required to attend bible studies, and yet over 40 bible studies are held every week. Chaplains aren’t required to meet with students, but they meet with dozens per week and know students by name. Faculty aren’t required to bring their faith into the classroom, and yet I have had professors who approach course content from a Christian worldview and diligently pray for their students. An institution alone can never be ‘Christian’ – but the people that make up that institution can be – and Hope is a place whose people direct the trajectory of Hope College toward Jesus.
My faith has personally been impacted during my time at Hope in three distinct ways.
During my first tour of Hope, I remember sitting in chapel and for the first time thinking, “I think I could see myself here.” Chapel every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday has always been a place where I felt a sense of belonging at Hope ever since. Surrounded by hundreds of my peers, chapel is a time where I remember all the people around me who share a common purpose of following Jesus. Even though chapel is a brief 20 minutes long, it provides a space for me to learn, reflect and invite God into my day.
Beyond Campus Ministries, my professors have been hugely impactful to my faith journey. The authenticity and transparency of my professors in the classroom have challenged my perspectives and given me the opportunity to establish what I believe. Specifically professors within my major have intentionally looked at business from an ethical and Christian perspective. From job design in Human Resources to maintaining ethical standards in Financial Management, my professors approach content within the context that we are humans created in the image of God and are valuable to Him.
The last, and possibly most influential, aspect of Hope’s community that has strengthened my faith is the incredible friendships I have made these past few years. When I stepped into my new dorm freshman year, I was met with two roommates who modeled what it looks like to love Jesus and let Him be a part of your day. Their faith was so real to them and every new problem they encountered was brought to God in prayer. Beyond my roommates, I am also thankful for the diversity of faith backgrounds Hope represents. These backgrounds have given me the opportunity to understand God in new and different ways.
Hope is a place where students’ faith becomes their own. And, if you seek it out, you will find a community of believers that love Jesus wholeheartedly and serve Him in every corner of Hope’s campus.