By Leah Dopp

The Twelve began as a conversation between groups of students, PUC faculty and community members, who felt a need to create a new space for authentic worship on campus. This collection of individuals sought to root the unique church service in three fundamental principles: praise, prayer and preaching. After many more conversations and much planning, The Twelve was brought to life spring quarter of last school year.

Under the leadership of Nick Borchik, Taylor Bothwell, Alex Chang, Kevin Galeano, Taylor Pittenger, Gabe Riojas and Megan Weems, the worship service, held in Dauphinee Chapel, grew.

Riojas, a 2017 graduate of PUC’s theology department, organized the service for the first ten weeks of its existence. He described the vision for The Twelve as such: “a creative laboratory where students could participate, experiment and cultivate a Sabbath church community using their unique gifts, experiences and learning.” He further emphasized the process of developing the service as “a clear Spirit-driven initiative.”

Though the students involved represented various majors and had many other differences, they were united in their conviction of the necessity of a student-led service. They were “ready to plan, communicate, and work with a variety of students to make this service an actual reality.”

Although the service’s meeting time now matches its name, (as opposed to last year’s amusing “The Twelve at Twelve-Thirty” arrangement) the reason for the alteration is not that the church is held at noon. The service’s name is evocative of its mission statement, which is “to develop an open, Spirit-driven community that reflects the life and teaching of Jesus through discipleship.”

Riojas said of his personal belief about why PUC requires a student-led service, “The Twelve takes students seriously because it is led by students” and “growth often happens more in application than in reciting information. The Twelve was made for students to apply themselves. If a spiritual community’s motivation is to invest in students through leadership, programming, music, and so on, then a studentled service will always be a necessity for a college campus like PUC.”

The Twelve hopes to foster a community of mentorship on campus by requesting student speakers to meet with spiritual advisers to aid them in the sermon-writing process. Additionally, alumni, pastors and faculty members are always welcome to preach. Furthermore, members of this year’s leadership team strive to become involved in both mentoring others and being mentored by PUC pastors and professors.

Each member of the team has been tasked with finding a student to train into their own job, in the event that a replacement is required. Mentees share in the responsibility of running the service and are encouraged to attend The Twelve’s organizational meetings that take place weekly.

The student leaders also receive counsel from their own mentors, David Carreon, Johnathan Henderson, and Jim Roy, who meet with the team quarterly to discuss the direction of the service as a whole and other issues not directly pertaining to week-to-week planning.

The Twelve also seeks to provide the student body with a unique opportunity to become the hands and feet of Jesus by actively participating in the entirely student-led service. It takes many volunteers to orchestrate a weekly church service, and The Twelve is endlessly looking for people who are willing to help with any facet of the service.

Last quarter, the service was well attended. And even with fluctuations in congregation size, Dauphinee Chapel consistently feels full. Some community members, as well as PUC faculty and staff, attend regularly, which is greatly appreciated by the students in leadership. Their presence also helps fulfill part of The Twelve’s purpose, which is not to be a service for students, but a service led by students for anyone.

This quarter, the team would like to focus on getting feedback from attendees on ways the service can be improved. If you have any suggestions or are interested in getting involved, please contact Taylor Bothwell (tabothwell@ puc.edu) who serves as this year’s administrative coordinator.