The following excerpt appeared in an article in the Detroit Free Press titled, “Why some small conservative Christian colleges see growth where other schools see declines.” Read the whole article here.
Two faculty members of a small, private Midwestern college are up on stage, one sitting behind an electronic keyboard, the other strumming the opening chords of a song on a guitar.
They sing, “God sent His Son, they called him Jesus. He came to love, heal and forgive. …” The Grace College students scattered around the athletic arena now serving as a chapel join in to raise up the Southern gospel classic “Because He Lives.”
When the last note slowly fades away, students raise their arms high, not in worship but in an effort to get their smartphones to capture the QR code now displayed on the screens — the pandemic’s way of recording attendance at the mandatory chapel service.
Grace College in rural Indiana, like others that dot Michigan and neighboring states, exists in a subculture of the higher education landscape — conservative colleges where students are required to sign lifestyle covenants and attend daily chapel. They also are part of a rare group — small, private colleges with growing or stable enrollment.
A review conducted by the Detroit Free Press, part of the USA TODAY Network, of 34 four-year colleges that are charter members of a new conservative association of Christian colleges — to which Grace belongs — shows total enrollment at those schools up nearly 8% when comparing fall enrollment in 2020 with fall enrollment in 2010.