Image Courtesy of Caitlin Mclaughlin
Pepperdine students have the opportunity to take part in a revamped worship experience Sunday, April 10, as The Mountain has returned once more to campus for its third year. Beginning at 5 p.m., students can either walk or shuttle from the dorm roads down to Alumni Park, and can expect food trucks, coffee and tea, and a night of celebration.
Student performances from campus organizations such as The Well Worship Band and Dance In Flight will open the night, as students can peruse the food truck options or take a seat on the grassy lawn. The Mountain’s headliner, Phil Wickham, will lead the students in a night of worship beginning at 7 p.m. and ending at 8:30 p.m.
The Mountain is co-led by Pepperdine graduate student of Religion and Office of the Chaplain intern Steven Zhou, and Pepperdine junior and International Studies major Jonathan Kwok. He is the president of The Mountain, and Zhou assists in the overall development of the project. Advisers include Lauren Leatherberry from the Office of the Chaplain, and Nicole Taylor and Camila Pupparo from the Vice President of Administration Office. Kwok and Zhou, involved with The Mountain since 2014, lead seven students on The Mountain’s team.
The Mountain was originally a push for unity between Pepperdine students and university ministry organizations, but now has taken on a new emphasis, Zhou said.
“This year we sat down and looked at The Mountain and asked, ‘Is it all about unity or is there something else?'” he said. “We don’t want to throw $50,000 at something that is simple and just a regular concert.”
Kwok and Zhou have been working on the development of the project since summer, organizing funding for all of the project’s costs through approaching university departments and finalizing contracts, Kwok said.
The Mountain’s new description is, “A Culminating Worship Celebration,” Zhou said.
“The idea is this is a culminating experience at the end of the year looking back at everything God has done in the past year and saying, ‘How can we praise him and celebrate together in worship?'” Zhou said.
The leaders plan on revealing this message through the performances of several seniors who will demonstrate how they celebrate, including spoken word poets, Dance In Flight dancers and artists.
The team is currently recording student leaders’ stories about how God has worked in their ministries, Kwok said.
“The stories will play between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., and will show how God is working,” he said.
“I personally think that when you reflect back it makes things a lot more meaningful — especially in a culture like Pepperdine,” Zhou said. “It’s always one thing after another.”
The leaders have envisioned this year as a transformational graduation ceremony because of this message, Zhou said.
They hope that the experience will provide encouragement for students on campus, and generate a sense of love and adoration for God, Kwok said.
“I would love for people to walk away knowing that God is doing such great things, and that this is a source of hope and joy,” Kwok said.
This particular emphasis has created a unique excitement for the event, Zhou said.
“This year is the one I am really excited about,” Zhou said. “I am really excited about the new vision that has been cast. It gives it purpose; it gives it a specific message.”
The event is free to Pepperdine students aside from food and drink, but tickets are $15 for non-Pepperdine students, who are welcome to come, worship and see what God is doing at Pepperdine, Kwok said.
To get tickets, visit pepperdine.edu/themountain, and if you are interested in following The Mountain on social media, follow their Instagram and Twitter @themountainpepp and Facebook “The Mountain at Pepperdine.” If you are interested in volunteering at the event, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
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