Over th e years, the Academy has developed a chapel program that engages participants at all levels. Weekly chapel services are student-led, allowing various opportunities for students to share God’s Word through their words and actions. Three particular aspects of the School’s chapel program are noteworthy because they “Empower and Mentor Children to Serve Christ and Others.” First, fifth-graders serve Christ and others each year through worship leadership opportunities offered in Applied Christianity. Second, students at every grade level take turns sharing a Biblical message with fellow students, faculty, staff, and families during weekly chapel services.
This chapel experience, termed “GLOW” (God’s Children Light Our World), gives students opportunities to minister to others while practicing their public speaking skills. As a result, students better understand how they can apply God’s Word to their daily lives. Finally, Academy students model the love of Christ through a program called “Chapel Buddies.” By pairing third-through fifth-graders with Kindergarten through second-graders each year, the students develop friendships and mentoring relationships among themselves as they worship, pray, and do class activities designed to allow them to express their faith.
Applied Christianity – As mentioned above, this aspect of the Academy’s chapel program empowers children to serve Christ and others. At the beginning of each school year, fifth-grade students complete a survey, expressing their willingness to participate during weekly chapel services. There are many opportunities for Christian service during chapel, including Praise Singers, Confession/Absolution Leaders, Prayer and Pledge Leaders, Acolytes and Greeters, Offering, and Technology Crew. Each area of ministry allows students to share their God-given gifts during weekly chapel services and elsewhere. The following descriptions provide insight into the roles of each of these areas of ministry:
Praise Singers: Fifth-grade students may sing during weekly chapel services. The gift of singing is used both for worship and to lead other students in worship. The Academy is training future spiritual leaders by encouraging them to use their time and musical talents..
Confession/Absolution Leaders: Fifth-grade students may lead chapel services, including a confession of sins and/or absolution. This encourages Academy students to deeply ponder the meaning of God’s word, especially the reasons why Christ’s life and death are so important in our daily lives.
Prayer/Pledge Leaders: Also called “Prayer Warriors,” these Academy students are called by Christ to lead their fellow students in prayer and are willing to fight on their knees to win hearts for Him. As such, they lead the prayers during weekly chapel services. Similarly, the Academy’s pledge leaders take seriously the words and promises reflected in the Christian and United States of America flags, modeling with right hands over their hearts as they lead their fellow students in the pledges.
Acolytes/Greeters: Academy acolytes light candles in the sanctuary as chapel services begin each week. This symbolizes the shining light of Christ in an otherwise dark world. They also extinguish the candles at the conclusion of each chapel service. Faith Community Lutheran Church’s mission is “Inviting People to Know Jesus.” Fifth graders help carry out this mission by smiling, greeting, and seating fellow students, teachers, staff, and families as they enter the sanctuary to worship each week. Greeters make everyone feel welcome in God’s house.
Offering Plates/Money Counters: God loves a cheerful giver, and Academy students, through their generous hearts, offer God a portion of what He has shared with all of us. As the fifth graders gather student offerings, they are reminded of the “Thank You” they will get in heaven when they see Jesus face to face. It is noteworthy that counting offering monies has the added benefit of sharpening fifth graders’ math skills!
Technology Crew: Using technology in weekly chapel services engages students, teachers, and families, and enhances their worship experience. Academy students learn to use lighting, audio and video equipment, a digital soundboard, multiple microphones, computer monitors, PowerPoint programming, the iPad, and video cameras. Significantly, this area of Christian ministry represents another practical application of technology through curriculum integration.
GLOW (God’s Children Light Our World): Academy students at every grade level take turns sharing a Biblical message with fellow students, faculty, staff, and families during weekly chapel services. This chapel experience gives students a Christian ministry opportunity as well as an opportunity to practice their public speaking skills. The themes for these chapel messages come from the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s “Chapel Talks.” Academy teachers have used written screenplays or crafted their own plays based on these themes and/or Scripture passage. This allows chapel messages to be student led. Student-created video and musical presentations also differentiate the Biblical instruction for learners across all grade and ability levels. In addition to student-led messages, the Academy is blessed to have Church staff and faculty from Faith Lutheran Middle School/High School attend weekly chapel services and occasionally present Biblical messages to the students.
Chapel Buddies: Academy students model the love of Christ through this aspect of the chapel program. By pairing third through fifth graders with kindergarten through second graders each year, the students develop friendships and mentoring relationships among themselves as they worship, pray, and participate in special activities designed to allow them to express their faith. Loneliness in a child’s life can be devastating. Accordingly, the Academy strives to combat this problem with chapel buddies. The school’s prayer is that its students will shine the light of Christ and develop bonds of friendship with fellow students that alleviate loneliness.