Olivet Students Building Community in Christ

Student chaplains reflect on the impact of the Olivet community on their lives.
Hannah Priest headshot

Hannah Priest

April 2, 2020 Admissions, Campus Life

The impact of the Olivet community stretches beyond what happens within the campus setting. For the last two weeks, faculty, staff and students at Olivet Nazarene University have experienced a whirlwind of changes and transitions during the coronavirus pandemic. Despite life on campus transitioning to an online setting, the influence of spiritual life within the Olivet community is more vibrant than ever.

In this feature, senior Abbie Anderson and sophomore Nathan Gonzalez reflect on the importance of fostering community through their individual experiences serving as student chaplains with the Office of Spiritual Development at Olivet.

A Compelling Community
For Abbie, a children’s ministry major, the journey to Olivet began with her community back home in Cincinnati. After visiting the campus with her church youth group, Abbie knew as a high school senior that Olivet was where she wanted to continue her academic career. It was a place she felt instantly welcomed. “I could tell there was a good community here. People really cared and loved being at Olivet.” 

Nathan, a pastoral ministry major, also loved his first visit to campus. “What really brought me in was the close-knit community and how much people care about each other,” he says. “I love people and caring for others, so to see that people wanted the same thing is what kept me here.”

Together in Christ
The community aspect that both Abbie and Nathan felt during their first visits to campus has continued throughout their Olivet journey. As a university, Olivet emphasizes the importance of connecting with faculty and staff as well as other students throughout the four-year academic experience. 

Both Abbie and Nathan serve as leaders on campus. Abbie serves as the Executive of Spiritual Life within the Associated Student Council and Nathan serves as the sophomore class chaplain. As a campus focused on Education With a Christian Purpose, Abbie confirms that “Everything is working together for one purpose which is together in Christ for the students.” As she looks back at the last four years at Olivet, she reflects,“Through student ministries I’ve seen the really personal side and impact that the Olivet community has on people. Students come together and come to know Christ and are able to grow together in Christ.”

The Office of Development provides engaging experiences for students through six outreach and six in-reach campus ministries, weekly chapel services and mission trip opportunities.

“What makes Olivet unique is just how invested the campus is in itself and the community around it.” Nathan continues, “Events, classes, and campus activities are all geared for the betterment of the students, staff, and the surrounding community. I love how much Olivet creates an atmosphere for people to be real and connected, understanding that the campus has a common foundation of Christ. God’s presence on this campus is what makes Olivet remarkable.”

Building Connections While Apart
As a community, Olivet has experienced many unforeseen changes to the spring semester of 2020. Yet, as a body of believers, the focus on Christ is what brings hope to faculty, staff and students. 

“The spiritual life on campus helps create an understanding that amidst the chaos that seems to surround us, Jesus is still King,” Nathan says. “Knowing that our campus supports and believes in that stability helps to build strength within our community and encourages us to help each other in these difficult moments.”

Abbie notes that even as the campus community is finishing this school year apart, “We have hope because even when things feel up in the air and kind of crazy, the one thing we always have is Christ. He is never changing.” 

Her encouragement to the student body is simple. “Even when things seem dark, He is consistently the light that we can set our eyes on.” 

Both students have seen the community of Olivet come together to love and encourage each other during this time of transition. They have received support from professors, staff members and friends all working to establish a new form of community. 

“The Olivet community means everything to me,” Nathan says. “We are in this together. We may all have different backgrounds, but at this point in our lives, God planned for our paths to intersect.” 

While the campus community may be separated for the moment, the essence of Olivet prevails. As Abbie points out, “At the end of my four years, I consider Olivet to be my home because of the people that filled this place. When I’m talking about the Olivet community, it’s the people that have become like my family.”


To learn more about life at Olivet, contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@olivet.edu or 800-648-1463.

Published 4/2/20

Hannah Priest headshot

Hannah Priest

Hannah Priest ’21/’22 MBA is passionate about people and sharing their stories. After graduating from Olivet with a degree in Public Relations and Strategic Communications, she has found much joy in serving as the associate director of Alumni and University Relations at Olivet and a freelance writer. In her role, she has the ability to celebrate the accomplishments of those in the Olivet community and share stories of their meaningful experiences from their time at ONU and beyond. Outside of her work at Olivet, she is also a feature editor for SPLENDEUR magazine, an up-and-coming small business aimed at encouraging, equipping and empowering women to find their God-given purpose in whatever season of life they are in.

Student on main campus wearing pink sweater and holding water bottle.

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