By Kelsay Skaggs and Anna Zetterberg
Picture this: It is a warm night on campus and the stars have just started to illuminate the sky. The palm trees are swaying gently to the sound of strumming guitars and voices are lifting up His holy name.
If you have been on campus around 9 p.m. on any given Monday during the past couple of weeks, this scene is probably familiar to you. Night of Worship, or N.O.W., takes place on the Baxter Green every Monday.
N.O.W. started in the fall of 2008, the brainchild of seniors Dustin Schneider, Dan Fairchild and Jon Spallino. Schneider felt God tugging at his heart for two years to start something on campus, a sort of intimate setting for students and passers-by to come with an open heart and worship God.
After struggling with what to do about this call from God, Schneider said that he had a “Moses moment,” where he finally surrendered and decided to trust God that it would all work out. He talked to Spallino and Fairchild, who were immediately on board to help out.
“We started N.O.W. last year because we saw a need on our campus,” Spallino said. “That need was the encouragement among believers to get out and change our campus. It was founded to encourage believers to seek after God and have a relationship with Him.”
The three agreed that they felt like they “lived their lives appointment to appointment with God,” like so many people do, and that needed to change. They also wanted students to start their week right with God.
When N.O.W. began last year, the number of people that came averaged between 30 and 40 every week. There was one night where close to 75 people came, and that was the biggest turnout of the year.
However, the first time N.O.W. was held this year over 150 students and faculty members were crammed into the tiny space of the Rinker Pit.
Not only was every available seat taken, but people also stood on the grass and behind on the walkways. Some couldn’t even see the musicians and speaker.
“It was an exciting time to see God work,” Schneider said.
The second week of N.O.W. fell over Labor Day weekend, but still 80 students attended. Instead of having a message, they used that time to pray for friends and family members who do not yet know God, the Palm Beach community and a revival to happen on campus this year.
Attendance has been so high that N.O.W. was forced to move from the Rinker Pit to Baxter Green.
“Prayer is such a powerful thing and yet we sometimes take it for granted,” Schneider said.
This year, unlike last, the speakers will have a curriculum to follow. It will mainly be Schneider, Fairchild and Spallino rotating to deliver the message each Monday night.
They want the people who come to N.O.W. to be comfortable and familiar with the speaker, and would love for everyone who goes to feel like a family by the end of the year.
The message each week will relate to Matthew 5, the Sermon on the Mount. They chose this to focus on for the upcoming year because it’s important to learn how to live in the way which Christ instructed us.
Before and after the message is a time of worship through music. Sophomores P.T. Tidwell and Jonathan Phillips lead the music each week.
Because of the recent increase in numbers, Spallino will be helping with worship when needed. Tidwell and Phillips pick the songs for each week.
New for this upcoming year will be men and women’s Bible studies. Though they do not have a start date yet, they’re hoping to begin by October. Right now they are trying to find a male student and a female student who each feel called to lead those Bible studies.
With more people coming to N.O.W. this year, the three hope more lives will be impacted.
“It is my prayer that people who are Christians will leave feeling renewed, convicted, encouraged and knowing that they are not alone in their walk with Christ,” Fairchild said. “I pray that people who come that aren’t Christians will hear the saving message of Christ and walk away with a new relationship with the only one who can save us from our sins.”
N.O.W. is held every Monday on the Baxter Green at 9 p.m. For more information, you can join their Facebook group “N.O.W.”