By A.E. Sarver @GG_Sarver
Jonathan Burkey’s role in chapel will soon be put on hold as he takes time away to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Chicago.
He has served the student body as chapel worship leader for five years.
Burkey led chapel for the first time in August 2007. He said he may be the only person who can say that he has not missed a chapel service in five years.
“I love the privilege and responsibility of helping to form services where the spirit of God is present,” Burkey said.
Chaplain Holcomb has enjoyed working with Burkey. There is a consistency and quality that Burkey brings to the service, Holcomb said.
“He’s amazing. I never have to worry about a thing.”
According to those close to Burkey, he is the same person on stage as off.
Sophomore Caleb Burkey, Jonathan Burkey’s younger brother, described Burkey as someone who focuses on a solid relationship with Christ.
“In high school, he was never a person that would succumb to what other people were doing. He wouldn’t give in,” Caleb Burkey said.
Burkey will still work with Olivet as the director of ministry teams at Olivet. He directs the outbound groups that travel for the university, serving not only as the liaison between the students and the coordinators, but also ensuring that the purpose for ministry teams remains as a ministry.
His work on campus has been a means of encouragement for many students.
“He has helped me connect my songful worship with my life and how worship is not just on stage, but in everything you do. Watching him on stage helps me realize how much of an influence I can have on other people,” said Hannah Cheney, a singer on The Narrow, one of the school’s ministry teams.
Chapel is the start of many students’ day and they appreciate Burkey keeping the worship focused.
“He gets the students involved,” freshman Jon Aldrin said.
“He does a great job of providing a platform for students to worship,” freshman Mark Fleschner said.
Chaplain Holcomb said their goal for chapel is to “try to create space for God to work.”
“He tried to get to the heart of what we do,” Holcomb said.
While Burkey is excited to study at the University of Chicago, he will miss being part of the university’s chapel services.
“Though his name and face are associated school wide specifically with chapel services, the worshipful spirit he brought to campus life in general, will be missed,” sophomore Katie Gajewski said.