What are you doing differently in chapel this year?
Do your students enjoy chapel?
Are your chapels effective?
Recently I gathered with a group of Christian school heads, and these questions arose not to anyone's surprise. When I have the privilege to meet with my fellow leaders of Christian schools it is inevitable that we will discuss three topics - dress code, enrollment, and chapels.
In my 20 years of Christian education, I have had the privilege of serving at four schools in four different states. Over 20 years I have interacted with hundreds of school leaders and I have drawn the following conclusion - there is no fool proof or perfect chapel plan. Many school leaders, if honest, will say that they struggle explaining the purpose and intended outcomes of chapel.
So, if we struggle with how to do it well and students, parents, and teachers at times complain- why do we keep doing it?
We have to reconcile what chapel is and what chapel is not to fully understand why we should keep chapel as a priority in our school schedules.
Chapel is a chance to pause in the midst of our busy academic schedules to worship together as a community.
Chapel is not a revival service, we cannot expect students to react in a deep and spiritual way each time we have chapel, similar to how revival does not break out at every Sunday morning church service.
Chapel is an opportunity to reflect on the truths God has revealed in His word.
Chapel is not a church service, thus we should not expect chapel to look the same as the services our students attend on the weekend.
Chapel is a time for students to learn about the traditions and denominations represented in our student body.
Chapel is not a Baptist, Presbyterian, or any other denominational service so it will look different than many of the services our students attend on the weekend.
Chapel is the time we can focus on our community's theme for the year, for 2013-14 that is humility.
Chapel is not the time to focus on one church's or ministry's particular service opportunity or need.
Chapel is in a gym so at times our students will be distracted or not completely focused.
I speak often in all of our division chapels. I love to see our students worshiping God together. I am encouraged by their participation and find them to be mostly attentive.
I try to never be discouraged by the response I receive in chapel, because it is in God's hands. Our job is to present the Gospel and an opportunity for our students to grow spiritually. God's job is to speak into the students' lives.
We all need to remember that we are in the business of planting seeds. Not too long ago I received a message from a student who I taught more than 10 years ago. She is in the corporate world now and she asked, "Mr. Giller do you remember when you said..." I honestly had no recollection, but it certainly had an impact on this particular young lady. My guess is that God used that moment in time to whisper in the ear of that one particular student. I further surmise that none of the other students in that class remember that statement, and that is okay because God used one moment in one student's life to make an impact.
My caution to parents who question the effectiveness of chapel is to remember why we have chapel, what chapel is and what chapel is not. We have more than 1,000 students attending chapel each and every Thursday, and I truly believe God will use each of those chapels for His purposes and that may be only in the life of one of a 1,000 but praise God that we can be a part of that amazing plan.
Chapel is a time to pause and allow God to speak into our children's hearts and minds.
Mr. Barry Giller
Head of School
on Friday November 1, 2013 at 09:43AM