The Twelve: PUC’s Student-Run Church Service

By Sarah Tanner

For over a year, PUC students have spearheaded a personalized, student-focused Sabbath worship service called The Twelve. Their mission is simple. Summarized by lead coordinator and junior English major, Leah Dopp, “Our goal is to develop an open spirit driven community that reflects the life and teaching of Jesus through discipleship.”

And, after five quarters of student-led worship services, it is clear their mission is a huge success.

Dopp, along with two of The Twelve’s veterans, heads a team of student leaders that meet weekly to create Saturday services for PUC’s student population. In a conversation with Leah over pad thai, she explained what makes The Twelve so special.

To tackle a project of this size, Dopp found it useful to delegate tasks, breaking down The Twelve into nine departments. Her team of student leaders includes coordinators for the various aspects of the service. Welcome and greetings are headed by Valerie Barraza and Hazel Labaco, respectively. Music is organized by Lydia Zebedeus. Nephta Marin heads PowerPoint slides during the service, and sound is coordinated by Nick Borchik. PR and treasury are organized by Stefaan Dick. Emily Castellanos is in charge of prayer, while Jayla Cruse directs stage management. And last, but definitely not least is the ever popular coffee ministry run by Audrey Uyemura, Kelly Kimura, and Jamie Nelson.

“Table meetings are held twice during the quarter to discuss big picture things, like speakers and any changes we want to make to the program,” Leah says. “We organize a list of students, faculty, alumni, and others who we feel would convey interesting messages during the service. Then, each student leader organizes contacts for their corresponding department and teams are formed. For example, music teams choose their songs based on the speaker’s topics so we can create continuity for the whole service.”

A typical Twelve service is fairly simple. Held at noon in Winning Hall’s Dauphinee Chapel every Saturday during the school year, visitors are greeted with coffee at the door and are then welcome to make their way to a seat. The service opens with a song followed by a brief welcome message. The worship team then performs two more songs which lead into a prayer or prayer activity that relates to the sermon. Following the message, welcome coordinators give announcements and the service is concluded.

“Our schedule is always open to changes; we want to keep things moving so we don’t get too sedentary,” says Dopp. “Right now we are playing with the idea of including a discussion time so people can reflect on the message of the service together.”

The Twelve’s name is meant to evoke a spirit of discipleship, as it calls forth the image of Jesus’ original followers. And this spirit of mentorship is present in virtually all facets of the service.

“In addition to the idea of student leaders acting as disciples through their running of the program, we also want to make sure that it is a lasting part of PUC’s legacy,” Dopp explained. “All leaders are constantly mentoring people to fill their position so that there is always someone able to step in and fill that role if needed.” She continues, “We are trying to get lots of people involved to carry on that spirit of mentorship. It doesn’t matter if they don’t have any experience; we’re here to teach.”

As The Twelve is student-run, it is also dependent on student feedback for the program’s growth and development. On this topic, Dopp made it clear, “We are always open to feedback. The Twelve is here to give the students what they want in a worship service, and to do that we need input; we strive to be an event that PUC wants to attend.”

Students looking to share ideas are encouraged to speak to any of the leaders mentioned above and can reach out via email to Leah directly at lmdopp@puc.edu or thetwelvepuc@gmail.com. The Twelve’s team is constantly looking for new speakers, contributors, and students to be involved in all aspects of the service.

“We’re really excited to see where this program will go. Our team’s dedication to creating a meaningful service is incredible.”

Dopp is right; The Twelve is something to be proud of, and it stands as a testament to the ability of students to make a meaningful impact on campus life.

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