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Christian Union: The Magazine
December 13, 2019

Penn for Jesus Hosts Edifying Event 

By Avery Johnston, Penn ’23


Colossians 3:16 proclaims the fullness of joy and wisdom that can be gleaned from worshiping with other followers of the Lord: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (ESV)


The Scriptures make it clear how worship and fellowship will be used for building up one another. The All-Campus Worship Night at the University of Pennsylvania on September 28, 2019, certainly worked to rejuvenate the local community of Christians. The event, held at beautiful Christ Community Church, was hosted by Penn for Jesus, an organization with a mission of connecting and unifying all Christians on campus, irrespective of denomination, participation in any specific on-campus ministry, and church background.


The worship night opened with prayer and the New Spirit of Penn Gospel Choir, which serenaded listeners with brilliant classics. This was followed by introductory games and friendly competition to break the ice. 

Worship ensued. Voices raised up the name of the Lord from both the stage and the pews, where students squeezed between friends with their hands up in praise. Bethel Music’s “Raise A Hallelujah” echoed in the chapel:

“I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm,

Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar.

Up from the ashes, hope will arise,

Death is defeated, the King is alive!”

A “Yes, God!” could be heard from among the congregation, and the vocalist closed her eyes in reflection. The praises of the students declared the living hope of Jesus. Immediately following worship, Chris Jackson, Penn ’20, delivered a message on the importance of sharing the Gospel, particularly in Philadelphia. On witnessing to others, he said, “When we get to share Christ … we get to share hope.”


Jackson discussed the presence of hate groups on campus, and other spiritual evils facing the local community. He said, “In Philly I have seen a vast ignorance of who God is.” Those ignorant of the truth of the Gospel are those who most need to hear of the richness of life with Christ. It is the calling of a Christian to make disciples of the nations, whether that is in Philadelphia or beyond. All-Campus Worship reminded students of the pressing nature of this call.

In addition to providing an exhortation for evangelism, the All-Campus Worship Night also showed that exaltation of God does not come solely in the form of singing. His praises can be sung out loud or from the depths of hearts. All-Campus Worship provided a space for Penn students to do both—to declare their faith in the form of lyrics and psalms, and proclaim His love through fellowship with others in the community. Laughter and conversation rang through the room as the night came to a close. Students who had not known each other prior to the event made dinner plans and discussed what churches they attended. The night had strengthened the community of Christians at Penn; worship had strengthened the body of Christ.