Dorm Meeting has nothing to do with the dorms. Yet, it’s the most important thing happening on this campus that you’ve never heard of—unless you are or have been a Boyce student. The students of Boyce College don’t need me to explain why Dorm Meeting matters. However, if you are like me and you consider yourself part of the Southern Seminary community, read on to get a glimpse of the true heartbeat of Boyce College.
At 9 p.m. every Monday, Boyce College students assemble in Alumni Chapel. Seminary students and employees have returned to their homes or apartments to be with their families, serve their churches, or catch up on their hermeneutics assignments. But the campus comes alive.
I’ve been on the campus of Southern Seminary since 2017. I’m working on my second degree here, and I’ve been an employee for three years. But this was my first dorm meeting experience. I say experience because it’s an event to be experienced. It doesn’t make sense on paper.
The band strums their first chord, and Alumni Chapel fills with singing. Loud singing. Building up to the chorus, hands raise and voices erupt to declare:
“I won’t be formed by feelings; I hold fast to what is true
If the cross brings transformation, then I’ll be crucified with you.”
As they look across the room at one another for encouragement, students are reminded why they came to Boyce College in the first place.
“My favorite aspect of Dorm Meeting is that I get to look around and see my peers and professors all worshipping the Lord together,” said Emma Cann, a student at Boyce College. “I love being able to look around and intimately know the hard things people are going through and then simultaneously see those same people still declaring that Jesus is better. It’s made me cry in awe at the beautiful and counter-worldly power of the gospel.”
Macie De Vight, another student at Boyce College, also pointed to the beauty of singing with her classmates and professors.
“Although it is not a replacement for the local church, we are blessed and encouraged to live, worship, and walk together with our peers. It is amazing how the truth through song will minister to a weary heart. It is amazing to think that those in the room are using the truths we are learning and reciting the songs we are singing to fruitfully serve Christ.”
These moments have an impact longer than the semester.
“My first Dorm Meeting experience happened before I had ever considered Boyce as a college option,” Alumnus Drew Watson said. “I was invited by friends at church who went to Boyce. I was close (or so I thought) to wrapping up my college decision and only went to be with these friends. I assumed it meant a meeting in the dorms. I soon realized it was essentially Boyce College’s own “chapel service.” The speaker preached a great message about perseverance for the start of a new semester and the privilege of attending a school full of believers. I loved seeing the hundreds of students just a few years older than me in the chapel and going to Dorm Meeting made me consider how I wanted to grow as a Christian while a college student. The next month, I officially visited the school and then committed to attending.”
Cann likewise recalled her first Dorm Meeting experience as a pivotal moment, not just in college, but in her life.
“I remember my first dorm being one of those quintessential college moments,” Cann said. “I was a nervous freshman, not sure what to do, and the beautiful relief of being able to sit with the warm, friendly people in my new hall, and then declare together that Jesus is King, made me feel like I wasn’t in a new place anymore. I was with my brothers and sisters.”
After the first song, Chris Smith, Director of Student Development, takes the stage to a stream of cheers and applause. It’s just a thing the students do. I don’t know how to explain it. But a student told me that one of the things she will remember most about Dorm Meeting after she graduates is “clapping for announcements from Chris Smith,” an unwritten Dorm Meeting tradition.
The announcements mattered, though. They reminded me that this campus isn’t just for training pastors or producing PhD students. There are basketball games, Cross-Country meets, and volleyball tournaments. The students at Dorm Meeting cheer after each of these announcements because those are their friends out there competing by God’s grace and for his glory.
“Pack the gym and let’s cheer on our Bulldogs for the first basketball game of the season,” Smith said.
And the crowd goes wild.
The energy soon changes as the band transitions to the next set of full-blown Christ-centered worship songs. With hands lifted high, students representing all parts of the globe burst into a harmonious chorus—spirit always paired with truth.
After singing, the students sit and click their ballpoint pens, twist the caps off their fountain pens, or ask their neighbors for a pencil in preparation to consume the late-night preaching (at least it’s late night for me).
A guest preacher manned the pulpit on this particular night, as every week, the students hear Christ-centered expository exaltation from trusted friends and teachers of Boyce College and Southern Seminary.
The speaker didn’t mince words. The gospel thundered from his message, and students remained glued to their open Bibles. This seriousness about the gospel makes Boyce College distinct, and the students want you to know about it.
“Other rhythms of worship and biblical teaching are special,” Cann said. “But there is something unique about all the Boyce students coming together for an evening of worship and teaching to start our week. I wish people knew what a sweet opportunity this is for fellowship and how well it serves our soul to have another time set aside to behold God with his people.”
What amazes me as I learn more about Dorm Meeting is how the students I interview keep saying the same things. Dorm Meeting is a time for togetherness, loud singing, spiritual formation, and an excellent reset to prepare for the coming week of tests, coffee meetings, and the day-to-day life of a college student.
Dorm Meeting is the heartbeat of Boyce College, keeping the students in a rhythm.
“There have been dorm meetings with tears, ones with laughter, ones of doubt, ones full of faith,” Cann said. “I have gone up and down in my own spiritual life, but dorm meeting has been a rhythm of grace my entire time at Boyce.”
Boyce College is indeed a college. It’s not a “seminary for younger people” or just an expedited pathway to an MDiv. There’s all the things that make college college. There’s vibrant campus life. There’s school spirit. There’s energy. But there’s also grace. There’s a recognition that we can’t be conformed to the world but must be renewed daily by the transformative power of Christ.
I think I finally get it.
The human heart beats close to 100,00 times a day. It pumps blood to the body with a regular rhythm and gives life, but don’t see it unless we’re looking for it. I couldn’t see the heart of Boyce College until I went looking for it. What I found wasn’t a personality or an “in-group,” or even a tradition that gives the campus life.
At Boyce, it’s students, serious about the gospel, gathered in a chapel to worship God and grow together. This heart shows itself every Monday at 9 p.m. in Dorm Meeting.