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Student body chaplain exemplifies Messiah values

Shaun Soliday ’14 acts as an inspiring example of a student who has made the most of his Messiah experience. By assuming the roles of student body chaplain and open house spokesperson, Soliday often finds himself in a position to represent the college and lead by example. Although his college experience is coming to a close as graduation approaches, Soliday has undoubtedly left his mark on Messiah.

The road to Messiah
Although looking back Soliday could not imagine attending another college, his road to Messiah had not originally been so clear. As a devoted soccer player who dedicated most of his time and energy during high school to the sport, Soliday hoped to attend a college that would help him realize his dream of playing at a professional level. After visiting Messiah and two other universities, Soliday was faced with the difficult decision of whether to put his love of soccer before his faith as Messiah could not guarantee him a spot on their team. Arriving at the conclusion that his faith must come first, Soliday pursued his education at Messiah and claims he has no regrets.

Leadership and service
Serving as the student body chaplain and acting as a frequent chapel speaker, most people around campus may recognize Soliday best when he’s behind the pulpit. In his chaplain position, Soliday is responsible for preaching three times a semester at the Kairos student-led chapels, leading an SGA devotional once a week, planning and facilitating meetings for the chaplain team once a week and participating in leadership council.

What initially prompted Soliday to pursue a position on the student chaplain team was his intense love for Jesus and his desire to relate to and serve other people. As he said, “I can’t separate my faith from my life, and I love to be relational with other people. I love to see other people succeed and reach their potential. As student body chaplain, I have the opportunity to do that.”

Soliday is most passionate about the Kairos student led chapels and, specifically, this year’s theme, “Grow Up.” Soliday explained, “Kairos” literally means “the appointed time,” which he and his team members interpret as a time where they expect God to show up and be present among us. Soliday’s team chose the theme “Grow Up” in hopes of presenting students with something that was both challenging yet welcoming. The theme focuses on realizing each believer’s potential through Christ, finding identity in Christ and growing up together as a community.

As to be expected, Soliday’s role as student body chaplain presents both difficult challenges and satisfying rewards. Soliday mentioned the most challenging aspect of his position is sermon preparation because “it requires taking myself out of the equation and listening for God in the midst of everyone else’s opinions.” When considering the most rewarding aspect, Soliday said, “It’s most rewarding when I see people encounter Christ and see God tangibly work in the lives of others.”

In addition to his student chaplain position, Soliday also regularly represents Messiah by speaking at open houses and working with the Admissions Office. As a panelist who speaks about his experience at Messiah, Soliday appreciates the opportunity to help others enjoy the admissions process.

What the future may hold
Moving forward, Soliday remains rather unsure of what God has in store for his future. As a business administration major with a leadership concentration, he believes that he would enjoy working in the business world as it presents a great opportunity to witness in a secular environment. However, Soliday’s undeniable passion for preaching has led him to pursue possible further education at several different seminaries.

Reflecting on how much Messiah has impacted his personal growth, Soliday commented, “I’m so thankful for the school Messiah strives to be and for the people and community here.”

Soliday acts as a great example of a Messiah student who has certainly made the most of his college experience. By acting as student body chaplain, serving as an open house representative and passionately pursuing the Messiah community, Soliday truly exemplifies what Messiah is all about.

Story by Jess Kern ’16. Photos by Megan Dobinson ’16.

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