Telling the Old, Old Story in a Brand New Way
By Jessica Tracy – Lower School Principal
I am blessed to be part of our Lower School spiritual formation at Hill Country Christian School. As Lower School principal, I plan and lead weekly chapels, along with support from our chapel planning team (music teacher Alice Thompson and Director of Christian Life Craig Bland). We set aside time every week to gather as a student body, listen to God’s Word, respond to God in prayer and song, and send students and teachers back to the classroom to learn and serve in God’s world.
When I first came to Hill Country, I noticed how bright, joyful, and excited the students were to learn and experience God’s Word. I began to pray about how to shape our weekly chapel services into developmentally age-appropriate gatherings. I wanted chapel to be rich in worship and teaching, to integrate student leadership, and to be a place where children experienced the truth of the Bible and the presence of the Lord. Through my work with Christian educators and service in children’s ministry, I learned spiritual markers to point children toward—markers that help them find a lasting faith in Christ.
Hill Country now has three separate chapels. Preschoolers learn, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10). Our hope for our little ones is that they develop reverence and respect for God’s authority in addition to learning the weekly Bible stories.
Kinder–2nd graders learn lessons to grow in wisdom. At this age, we know they begin to apply what they learn to different situations in their lives. We strive to reach students through a variety of sensory modalities. Last year, we focused on building our foundation on the Lord. We demonstrated the difference between a house built on a wobbly ball and one built on a sturdy rock.
We used “mortar” to signify our character, teaching that our character holds us together tightly so we don’t fall apart when the rains and floods come (Matt. 7:24-27).
In our 3rd–5th grade chapel, our goal is for students to learn what it means to receive Christ’s grace and trust Him as their Savior before they become teenagers. Mr. Bland leads this chapel and uses unique ideas to introduce truth to the children. For instance, he taught the importance of listening and obeying by having the students take turns guiding one another across the auditorium with their eyes closed. Through laughter and strategizing, the children recognized the importance of listening carefully and trusting those giving instruction.
Not only do our students learn the Bible, but they also have the opportunity in student-led praise teams to lead worship. With over 75 students participating, they attend weekly worship rehearsals and learn choreographed movements and praise songs.
My prayer is that each of your children will grow up to be, as author George Barna puts it, “An irrepressible follower of Jesus Christ who accepts the Bible as truth, lives by its principles, and seeks ways to impact the world.”
*Read more from The Realm, our annual school magazine. In it, you will find a year in review with a variety of encouraging and insightful stories from those within our school community.