Comets Unite in Student Organized Huddles for Chapel

Second period stalled during the announcement portion. The class period holds a handful of extra time for teachers to communicate announcements to their classroom. Teachers in second period on Friday read their announcements and turned students’ eyes to screens to watch a short video from Mr. Ryan Garvin, Hillcrest’s Chapel coordinator. The video introduced Hillcrest’s huddle group program, a program where seniors lead small group Bible studies during the chapel period. The program is one of the many facets in Hillcrest’s training and discipleship program that carries eternal significance.

Mr. Jahr aids in directing one of the breakout groups from the Local Missions class that organized the Huddle Group Bible study.

Weeks before the huddle groups were announced Hillcrest’s Local Missions class was outlining the program. The daily Bible class is learning how to organize and coordinate Bible studies. In their class they outlined the format for the study. Student body leaders helped to organize the format and structure, how the Bible study would be communicated to the individual groups. The class experienced their first exam of sorts in the huddle group meeting. Their assessment is how well they communicated the Gospel in their study on faith. They’re turning to surveys to learn what they can do better next time.

The huddle groups were communicated and organized by a band of students participating in a worship and chapel mentorship with Mr. Garvin. The group meets daily to assess the chapel program and work on events that help communicate Hillcrest’s theme in chapel. Huddle groups were organized to break the ice for groups that will meet together in November for the all school prayer day. In meeting a few times for focused Bible study the mentees believe the huddle group program make the small group prayer time during prayer day more effective because lines of unity will be established in the huddle time.

When the bell rang to mark the start of the thirty minute chapel period on Friday students walked to their groups. Lists of student names were posted the week prior outside the chapel. Bold headings read “Old Gym” and “Chapel”. When students walked into their respective room they found chairs in circles with numbers taped to the backs. Senior leaders sat in each circle, some looking lonely, waiting for their group of fellow students to arrive.

Inside the group sat a small sampling of the Hillcrest population. Students from Norway were flanked by junior high students. Students from Korean pulled out Bibles that weren’t sharable in the group because the characters didn’t make sense to those who aren’t native to South Korea. The mix of age and ethnicity was drawn together in a simple opening prayer that followed with an introduction from the leader who explained their highlight from the school year thus far. The sound of voices rose in the rooms as each member in the group followed the introduction and discussion prompted by the leader.

Almost in unison the groups fell silent. Bibles opened and pages fluttered before the groups leaned in. Almost speaking in a hushed voice, as if the next portion of the study was a secret, each group read the account of the Centurion and Jesus, found in Luke 7:1-10.

The Storyboard above was created by student body president Elise Wutka to visualize the study the Local Missions class created.

Leaders unfolded a storyboard they received earlier in the week. The work from the local missions class was communicated in a drawing that reflected shapes from Hillcrest’s theme image. The storyboard idea came from student body president Elise Wutka. Groups started listing five key elements of how the Centurion expressed his faith. The noise of voices rose steadily again, as groups moved from sacred reading of Scripture to expressing their ideas.

Bible pages started fluttering in the midst of the growing conversation. Hebrews, James, and Ephesians were cast open around the group. Students started identifying faith components around the themes of confidence, objective faith in God’s grace, and active and tangible faith expressions. Some in the groups looked into the distance. Portions of the study called for synonyms of Biblical faith. Trust, belief, and assurance were some that were scribbled in the lower section of the storyboard. Understanding the Bible’s reference for faith, students took the waning minutes of the huddle group to join the synonyms to their own definition of what faith is before reflecting on their own story and a time they held faith in something. Some mentioned times when God upheld them. The time in small groups expanded the concept of Biblical faith for many students.

In closing, the groups leaned in for prayer. The goal of their time, as outlined by the mentees, was to build a comfortability in praying together. The local missions team’s study directed minds to God’s active work in the lives of people who desperately need him. The closing of the first huddle group marked a uniting of the student body around Biblical study and confidence in the character and person of Jesus Christ.

Wayne StenderComment