SPIRITUAL FORMATIONS AT HILLCREST
Building Faith Forming Habits in the School Day
Loves are built every day for us. Many students build a love for achievement or popularity based on their school culture. Positive feedback drives a majority of students in a specific direction. At Hillcrest we care deeply what habits are being formed for students in the school day.
Hillcrest builds rhythms for students to engage in spiritual exercise. Hillcrest’s chapel program is one of the most powerful forces on campus that drives students to positive spiritual formation and growth.
Chapel is a thirty minute school assembly Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Hillcrest operates a worship program that teaches students how to lead music worship in churches and small group settings. Hillcrest currently operates six worship teams, four focused on the chapel services, and two focused on other spiritual formation events at Hillcrest.
Inside the Chapel period Hillcrest fleshes out a school theme that is decided on by the faculty, staff, and student leadership. Past themes include FreeDone and Practice Makes Purpose. The design of these themes is to unpack salvation, found in Christ alone through faith alone in God alone. The themes help students understand the interplay of the free gift of salvation while also understanding their engagement in faith-formation and good works.
Hillcrest staff often speak on various topics, in addition to local pastors, ministry leaders, and friends of the school. These adults bring perspectives and life experiences into Hillcrest’s chapel program. The most powerful lessons are often delivered on Fridays. Friday holds Hillcrest’s student led testimony times. A senior will stand in front of his friends and share what the Lord is doing in his or her life. The worship teams will work with the message of the student to align worship songs to guide students to consider the way God is real in the speaking student’s life. They also find songs that lead the student body in praise and adoration of God’s work in the life of the student body.
Inside Hillcrest’s Chapel program are faith forming activities. Students gather in huddle groups each month as part of the program. These groups are led by Senior students who are equipped to take the student body through a small group Bible study. The Bible study prepares students for the upcoming Prayer Day.
Prayer Day at Hillcrest is a 100 year old tradition that started in a revival at Hillcrest. Each semester we cancel classes for a couple afternoons or for an entire day to prayer for our school, nation, and world. These days help students understand prayer and form habits of faith formation.
In addition to the Chapel program, many students will engage in small group Bible studies or prayer groups that occur before the school day. Clubs also drive students to have rhythms in their life of faith-formation.
Hillcrest also encourages students to engage in the local church. Hillcrest sees itself as a support for parents and ministry of the local church. We do not replace parents nor the local church. That said, many Hillcrest students attend weekly youth group meetings on Wednesday night where they have additional mentors in the local church. Hillcrest also expects students to attend weekly church services on Sunday mornings, directing students to the worship times as a mandatory aspect of the Hillcrest program. Students begin to develop habits of attending church on their own with their friends, habits we believe will remain as they embark on college and university study.
All of these programs run on the back of Hillcrest’s culture of mentorship. Hillcrest has an expectation that students remain engaged not only in their faith formation but also in the community of faith. Hillcrest assesses the student body each semester to ensure students are finding adult mentors. The benchmark for Hillcrest is to guide each student to have a minimum of three adult mentors. These assessments drive follow-up contact with students, forging habits of faith formation that will linger beyond Hillcrest.
SPIRITUAL FORMATIONS EVENTS
Hillcrest has a 100+ year tradition called Prayer Day. Prayer Day started in 1907 after a group of young men were praying for a friend. In the midst of their prayer the boys were overcome with passion to reach those who didn’t know of Christ, called to confess their own misgivings first. Revival took over the campus the next day, with classes canceled as students and staff were overwhelmed with a passion to seek the Lord.
The revival sparked a Hillcrest tradition of taking one day each semester to devote to prayer and thanksgiving. sof a revival the broke out on campus near the turn of the century.
Prayer Day Highlight
Prayer Day often occurs within Formations Week. During Spiritual Formations Week students take a pause from classes to hear special messages delivered on themes relevant for the student body.