Published November 27, 2018
In one of our first chapel services this school year, I leaned in to our campus minister and asked, "Do you hear them singing?" We have had a wonderful spirit in our chapel services this school year, but a few years ago one of our visiting pastor friends who spoke in a chapel service told me he sensed such brokenness among our students. After recently speaking in one of our daily chapel services, I was inclined to reflect upon what an awesome privilege it is to present God's Word to our young people. Most Christian schools have chapel once or twice a week, but our students have chapel every weekday. They can be a tough crowd at times, but what an opportunity to share the Gospel with the world.
I typically speak in chapel about 10 times a year, and I must say it can be somewhat intimidating. I am privileged to share the Oneida story all over our state with both large and small groups of people, but no group is anything like our students. Many of our students, as my pastor friend sensed, are broken. Many are seeking, many are hungry for truth, and many are simply existing. If nothing else, it's a tough setting and crowd simply because we have chapel every day. We have a good variety of in-house speakers, staff testimonies, guest speakers, and praise and worship days, but it is challenging to provide a variety of things that will keep their attention and, more importantly, that will get the message of God's love across to our students.
We have about 160 chapel services per school year. About 25 of those services are used for awards ceremonies, recognitions, etc., but the rest are simply the presentation of God's Word. The service is only 25 minutes long, but it is one of the most profound pieces to the Oneida puzzle and program. Over the course of our 119-year history, we have probably had somewhere in the neighborhood of 19,000 school-day chapel services, and this doesn't even include our Sunday and special services. My best guess is those services would push the number of total worship experiences up over 25,000.
Just before graduation, we ask our senior class to write about their Oneida experience, and many of them mention how much they appreciated chapel and also how they grew in their faith through our chapel services. Your partnership enables us to reach our kids through our daily chapel services. Come and visit sometime and be a part of chapel so that you can see for yourself what God does through one 25-minute service at a time. I promise you won't regret being a part of this time-honored Oneida tradition.
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