Worshiping and praising our Father in heaven is not only what we are called to do as Christians, but something we should do often and with exuberance in song and praise. He breathed life into us and, through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, He has given us a way to experience His love and joy for eternity. If that’s not a reason to lift up our hands and worship him, I don’t know what is.

One of the pleasures I experience teaching at Hawthorne Christian Academy is leading the middle and high
school worship teams. Working at a school in which our Lord is glorified and praised each day through prayer,
homeroom devotionals, scripture reading, teacher devotionals, bible classes/apologetics, and weekly chapels
is outstanding and God-honoring. However, I believe our middle school and high school worship teams, with
the help of the Holy Spirit, leading our students and teachers into an intimate worship time with our Lord is
truly where “the rubber meets the road.”

The dynamics of the middle and high school bands are each very different, but serve the same purpose: to
worship God in song and praise, giving others the opportunity to enter into an intimate worship time. Each
year we are blessed with great middle school talents who have a heart for God. During their middle school
years, they perform their hearts out. While the attempt to lead middle schoolers into worship can sometimes
be difficult, I teach my students to never compromise our mission, which is to give Him ALL we have, ALL the
time, regardless of who is or isn’t listening.

The high school team takes on a different dynamic. I’m available for prayer and guidance, but the student
worship leaders take the helm. Our worship leaders pray, choose the songs, set rehearsal times, and decide on singers and instrumentation, etc. We meet during the summer to pray over the school year and ask that the Lord is in all decisions made. Logistically, there is much involved, but without God’s intervention and the
willingness of each member, effective worship during chapels just wouldn’t happen. Even before the school
years starts, the precedent is set – Jesus first and all else will fall into place.

It is evident that our worship leaders and band members have a spiritual maturity which contributes to the
spiritual culture at HCA. Fruit is constantly produced as the Holy Spirit moves. When God allows the music and lyrics to flow through our chapel, I’ll often close my eyes and lift my hands in worship. When I open my eyes, I’ll see many of the high school students and teachers doing the same. When I lower the volume on the mixing board, then I can hear it – a choir of young men and women singing their hearts out to their Father in Heaven. Nothing brings me more joy than to see and hear these young leaders leading their own peers into worship.

Is that my accomplishment? Not a chance. Does God allow me to be a part of that process? Absolutely. God
uses all of us as He wills it. In addition to teaching and preaching Jesus, our mission at HCA (and in life) is to
make disciples. We need to teach our students how to follow Christ unapologetically, how to depend on the
Word of God, how to pray, how to worship, and how to encourage others to do the same. But how much
more powerful is it when it’s our students who are doing the same with other students and we can see and
hear the evidence of God’s love manifesting in our times of worship at HCA?

Sing for joy in the Lord, O you righteous ones; Praise is becoming to the upright. Give thanks to the Lord
with the lyre; Sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with
a shout of joy.
Psalm 33:1-3

Mr. John Peterson
HCA Music Teacher, Chapel Band Leader, Head of Instrumental Program