“As human beings we have a natural desire for community. BAM is a communal gathering that allows you to interact in a way chapel does not,” Jacob Leal said.
Leal, a junior on the baseball team, is just one of the student athletes who regularly attends the Beyond Athletic Ministries chapel. BAM, as it is more commonly called, is a student-led chapel coordinated by Vanguard’s Athletic Department.
Though it is not in the spotlight on campus, BAM has been making an impact for about a decade. Jana Pearson, the Women’s Basketball Coach, said, “ten years ago, several student athletes took their faith very seriously and wanted to reach out and share that with their teammates.”
BAM was just a small Bible study, led by a few students serious about seeking the Lord, but it has grown into so much more.
“BAM is place where leaders are developed,” said Pearson.
Students plan a majority of the content with additional support from Men’s Basketball Coach Taylor Kelly, Women’s Basketball Coach Jana Pearson, and Athletic Administrator, Elizabeth Sheplay.
BAM is more casual and fellowship focused than other various chapels offered on campus that focus greatly on community. This is crucial for unity on our campus. BAM is a safe place for genuine companionship.
This may seem like a chapel held strictly for athletes, but that’s far from the truth. BAM leaders say it is a chapel that everyone is welcome to attend. Kero Makramalla, a member of the track team involved in the leadership, and Rory Mccloy, another student leader and former volleyball player, expressed their hopes for more non-athletes to attend.
“I one hundred percent support non-athletes coming to BAM. Just because it is an athletic chapel does not mean that non-athletes won’t get something out of it,” said Makramalla.
Rory added, “I know there is a stigma that it’s only for athletes, but it was just created by athletes. It’s a great way to try and bridge the gap that we pretend isn’t there.”
The Lord is using BAM to strengthen and develop dedicated leaders for the kingdom. To be a part of this chapel would mean building relationships with fellow Vanguard students who long to know the heart of the Lord better.
So, this upcoming Monday night, if you’re free and need some chapel credits head over to Smith 101 at 9pm with a friend. The expectations and plans this semester for BAM are big and the hope that you’ll join in on them is even bigger.