If you’ve never visited Grove, you might not know about the every-Thursday-night, student-run worship tradition here. It’s called Warriors, and it brought me to tears the first time I experienced it.
I come from the greater New York City area. I grew up going to a very secular public school where most of my teachers wouldn’t even mention God. When they did, it usually wasn’t positive. It was often derogatory, in fact. People have asked me since if it was tough going through a school career like that, but honestly, it wasn’t. It was a bit annoying at times, but for the most part, it was so normal that I never really thought about it. I thought that was just ‘the way things were.’
All that changed when I visited Grove City for the first time and the girls I was staying with on my over-night brought me to Warriors.
Like I mentioned, every Thursday night, students flock to worship together at Warriors. It’s run by students, for students. Well over a hundred come every week. From 9 to 10 p.m., we turn off all the lights in the on-campus chapel, and just sing worship songs for an hour. It’s a beautiful and overwhelming experience.
When I went there during my first visit to Grove City, I didn’t know what to expect, but I certainly wasn’t expecting what it turned out to be. I went to a small church in New York. I’d never seen so many people come together in worship before, especially not so many young people, and all by their own choice. Looking around at what could have been hundreds of eager faces in the dim-lit chapel made tears come to my eyes before we even started singing. And then, when the first song came on, I lost it. All of those individual faces turned into one, powerful voice. Goosebumps raced through me. To put it plainly, I was changed.
I came into that service feeling so many things at once. I was a highschooler in the midst of my college search, getting ready to make a huge decision, and I felt like I had a lot on my plate. Going to Warriors melted all of that away for me. Looking back, what it left in my anxiety’s place was a huge sense of gratitude. I felt so grateful that a place like this existed—and that it existed in a college I could call home if I wanted to.
It’s hard to choose the ‘one moment’ I knew I wanted to be at Grove City College, but if I had to, this experience would probably be it. It still gives me chills to think back on. Now as a junior, I still try go to Warriors every Thursday, no matter how full my schedule is. Even though I’m at a school where my professors pray before class and I see Bible study groups on the grass when I walk out of buildings, I can remember my public school in New York. I think back at its antagonism and how out-of-the-ordinary Christianity was to people there. I can’t help but be filled with gratitude at the contrast. I can’t help but cherish my first Warriors experience—my first time seeing what a prayerful, thriving church looks like.
So the point of all of that is to say this: If you get a chance to visit Grove City at some point, I hope you’ll make time to go to Warriors. Try to visit on a Thursday night. You won’t regret it. And if you’re used to big churches and faithful Christians being around you at all times, cherish that. Whether you go to school here or not, surround yourself with that. It is beyond important, and not something that ever ought to be taken for granted.