Hillcrest's worship arts program has sent students around the world to lead their churches in worship. Through Friday worship chapels students gain experience organizing a worship service every week, working to direct attention to Jesus Christ through music. Throughout the year students experience opportunities to lead worship in area churches, extending the ministry and training outside of Hillcrest's halls. These experiences push students to consider other avenues to lead worship, which has included hosting a community wide worship night and outdoor worship events.
Hillcrest's Perspective on Worship
Students at Hillcrest are trained in leading worship services. These services equip them to serve and participate in their local church and community in leading them in the proclamation of God's Word through music.
Hillcrest believes that worship includes the proclamation of the Word, stirring hearts, minds, and souls in music acclamation, giving opportunities to respond to the truth of God's word as it is encountered in their daily lives.
Hillcrest meets three times per week for chapel, having a worship time at least once per week. In this full school assembly students lead a time of singing and acclamation of God through shared testimonies, scripture reading, and prayer that join in with the music leading in worship.
It is Hillcrest's belief that the study of God's Word is a transformational process. As God's Word is studied in every class at Hillcrest, the Chapel time offers students one of many avenues of response in adoration, thanksgiving, and praise.
The Hillcrest Worship Program
We value every God-given gift in our school and desire to see our students serving in a capacity that fits best for them
Hillcrest Worship exists to provide a place for students to use their talents to the glory of God while bringing worship in varied forms to the Hillcrest community, the local Fergus Falls community and to wherever the worship team members may be called beyond Fergus Falls.
Additionally, the Hillcrest worship program desires to be used by God to draw all people into His presence, to worship God for who He is and what He has done - expressed in and by the things we say and the way we live. Our heart is to worship God regardless of our surroundings and pray that others will engage in true worship and encounter God through our servant leadership.
We desire to equip and raise up young musicians and leaders to fulfill the call on the Church to be a sending community. We believe that well-rounded leaders will always be more effective than well-equipped musicians, which is why we stress that our identity must be in Jesus Christ and not in our instrument or performance. As worship leaders, we are called to lead people – not to simply play an instrument or sing.
Hillcrest Worship Musicians
Theologian Paul Tripp notes, “Human beings were created by God to be worshipers. You can’t divide people into two groups, as if there are some who worship and others who don’t. Every person, regardless of religious profession, has worshiped their way through every day of their existence. ...Everything you say and everything you do is an act of worship.” Thus, for the Hillcrest worship team, music is simply one of the expressions of worship.
Hillcrest Worship Team musicians seek to holistically honor God: in private or in public, in school or out of school. Team members will abide by the Hillcrest Worship Code of Conduct and seek to be an example through whom others will see Christ.
Hillcrest junior high and senior high students are invited to apply and then selected to participate in the worship program. This philosophy comes from a desire to grow and disciple student leaders through their time at Hillcrest, giving them ample opportunities to improve skills and develop new skills.
Additional documentation: see Hillcrest Worship Code of Conduct & Hillcrest Handbook
Application & Tryout Process
Each student will apply for the worship team through the application process. This process includes the completion of a two-page document obtaining information about the applying student’s relationship with Jesus and their musical abilities and aspirations. The student will then work with the program’s leadership to hold an interview and instrument or vocal tryout, at which time the program leader will consider next steps for that individual, including placement on a team or direction for further practice.
In order to provide the Worship Team members with guidance and opportunities for feedback, a Worship Mentor role has been created. Included in the Worship Mentor’s responsibilities are opening the chapel, setting up the necessary technology and providing feedback to individual members of the worship team or to the group as a whole.
Additional documentation: see Worship Team Mentors document
Practices are scheduled out at least one week in advance. Because of the sports schedule and curfew hours for dorm students, practices happen Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays between 6-9pm.
Wednesday practices are rare as youth group attendance is encouraged.
Friday practices are rare due to other student activities.
Saturday practices are rare because of student activities, but will occur occasionally.
Sunday practices are nearly non-existent due to the program’s desire to honor and allow for sabbath. Occasionally a practice will be arranged for a Sunday in preparation for an event.
The desire is that these practices are arranged to allow for the majority of the team’s members to participate. However, due to the current schedule, primarily due to sports practices and games, an individual may not be able to attend their practice. If this is the case, the worship team member should follow up with the program leader.
Worship practices before an event are held in the chapel unless otherwise noted or due to a special event. If a practice prior to a chapel or similar event is missed for whatever reason, the student missing the practice will sit out that event, not for disciplinary reasons, but for continuity with the rest of the team.
Practices are assisted by the Worship Music Mentors who help open the chapel, guide and instruct during the practice session.
Practice behavior is noted in the Code of Conduct document that all worship team members must sign before participating on a worship team.
Additional documentation: see Hillcrest Worship Code of Conduct & Worship Team Mentors
Songs for the school year are chosen primarily by the worship program’s leadership team, which includes the student body chaplain and interns. A “Top 40” will be selected at the beginning of the year based primarily on the theme for the school year with songs occasionally added throughout the year.
Songs are chosen based on the following criteria:
For the theology set forth in the song
For the complementary relationship to the school year theme
For the application to a speaker’s message
This master song list for that school year is to serve as the backbone upon which to build the chapel experiences for that school year. In facilitating worship, the program desire is for (1) the student body to become familiar with the majority of the songs so that the students are singing the truths from these songs over themselves and for (2) the musicians to build familiarity and confidence beyond just knowing the songs, but to become so familiar with the music and words as to fully enter into the worship experience without the distractions of remembering song structures or chord progressions.
A worship team/intern is allowed 2 “divergents” (songs that are not in the predetermined top 40) per semester. These divergents are subject to the approval of the worship program leadership.
Songs will be selected three weeks in advance of a team’s scheduled performance in order that the team members have time to practice the songs ahead of time. This ensures that practices are a time to bring the song together and not a time to necessarily learn the song, thus making practices productive.
If and when the students are asked to lead outside of the Hillcrest student body, songs outside of the top 40 will be chosen as appropriate for the occasion.
Additional documentation: see Spotify playlist, see Planning Center
Worship Arts Class
Hillcrest Lutheran Academy recognizes that having a sound theological understanding of worship is vital to participating in and inviting others into musical worship. At this time, the Hillcrest worship program offers ad hoc opportunities for learning. Future structured and formal classroom experiences may be available.
Additional documentation: See Worship Arts Class (in development)
The role of leading and facilitating worship is for the purpose of encouraging the congregation in worship, not to worship “at” them. Thus, students should seek to find ways to invite the congregation into the worship experience - to help the congregation prepare to hear from the Lord. These simple acts of invitation include smiling, making eye contact and wholly engaging in seeking God while leading.
God is the standard of beauty and excellence—our worship should seek after biblical excellence and objective beauty, goodness, and truth. We will seek to improve individually and as a team how we utilize our instruments and lead our congregation, regardless of who or where it may be.
Generally, students are preparing to lead their fellow students in worship in chapel and during prayer day gatherings. Because these opportunities are internal student body events, these bands are created utilizing students of all ages and skill levels.
In all cases, the students that are a part of the worship team must abide by the Hillcrest Student Handbook. Additionally, students should consider the Hillcrest Worship Code of Conduct contract that they signed after trying out for the worship program and, while acknowledging we are all sinners, remember that we are seeking to live in Biblical integrity. Students should seek to (1) live spiritually disciplined lives, (2) communicate with the worship program leader or worship intern about potential absences, (3) commit to living like and for Christ in all facets of life, and (4) commit the appropriate amount of time to both practicing their particular instrument(s) and to full band practices.
Occasionally, the Hillcrest worship team will play for a special event or a church congregation. At all times, students should wear appropriate dress. We value modesty and we never want to be a distraction to the people we are serving. However, especially when playing outside of the Hillcrest student body, additional dress requirements may be dictated.
Additional documentation: See Hillcrest Worship Code of Conduct document
Additionally addressed on an as needed basis.
As previously stated, Hillcrest Lutheran Academy desires to equip and raise up young musicians and leaders to fulfill the call on the Church to be a sending community. One way of accomplishing this goal is through sending a small group of worship members. In the future, Hillcrest hopes and plans to send a select group of students on a short tour to encourage and support local churches.
See Hillcrest Academy Worship Team Tour Amendment document
Worship Intern Position
The Hillcrest Worship Program looks to foster proficient worship leaders during their time at Hillcrest and for leadership in future venues God has for them. The worship intern position was created to provide opportunities for students to lead from the front and organizationally. The worship interns are expected to model Christian behavior, maintain trustful relationships, and ensure timely execution of work.
See Hillcrest Academy Worship Intern Application document
Upon the student completion of the school year, each student will be asked to take a short exit survey to assess the overall worship program in order to make incremental improvements.
Students should also consider adding worship leadership to their resume.
Additional documentation: See Chapel Room Training document
Additional documentation: See Chapel & Worship Needs Priority List