Chapel Program
Chapel Program

Iona Project


About the Iona Project

“The Iona Project chapel immersion program offers internships for those interested in sharing a common life of prayer, scripture and mutual accountability, while conducting youth ministry in a residential childcare setting.”


Iona is a small island off the west coast of Scotland. History tells us that in 563, an Irish monk named Columba and several companions arrived on the island as Christian missionaries. It is said that through their work, Iona was evangelized and renewed, becoming a center of literacy and hope for the world. Columba’s missionary approach, however, was not coercive. Instead, Columba and his small band of companions simply shared their lives with the natives: praying, working, helping and giving. Their selfless living attracted others to the faith.

The Iona Project at Cal Farley’s

Cal Farley’s Iona Project chapel immersion program bears these two defining marks:

  • Interdenominational Christ-centeredness.
  • Prayerful life together for the sake of others.

The Iona Project is a unique opportunity for a small community of interns to live with us for a year of prayerful service. Interns accepted into the program covenant to stay together and pray together for the duration of the program. While conducting a meaningful array of youth ministry activities, Iona Project members will regularly withdraw for brief scheduled times of prayer and scripture reading. So the program intentionally balances the rigors of ministry activity with disciplined solitude.

Let him who cannot be alone, beware of community… Let him who is not in community, beware of being alone.
-Dietrich Bonheoffer-

Program Components

Program Components

The Iona Project chapel immersion program has three primary components:

  1. Intentional Spiritual Formation. Iona Project interns will participate in an ordered life of prayer. Living together for a year in our residential childcare community, interns will participate in four directed retreats, monthly spiritual direction, weekly worship and Communion, weekly scripture meditation, a weekly gathering for nurture and accountability, and daily prayer.

  2. Trauma-informed Childcare Training. Iona Project interns will complete no less than 56 hours of childcare training. Additional training opportunities such as Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI) and Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) are also available.

  3. Youth Ministry Conduction. While working at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch chapel, Iona Project interns will help conduct a rich array of youth ministry. Responsibilities are two-fold, consisting of both program support of our inter-denominational chapel as well as pastoral care of our residents. Worship, Christian education, weekly activities, events, and trips are among the assigned program duties. Pastoral duties consist of discipleship, crisis care, and hospital visitation.

Certificate in Spiritual Formation & Youth Ministry

Those completing all requirements of the program will receive a “Certificate in Spiritual Formation & Youth Ministry” from Cal Farley’s Childcare Institute. The program requirements for certification consist of completing the full program year at Boys Ranch: 1000 supervised youth ministry hours, 700 hours of directed spiritual formation, no less than 56 hours of trauma-informed childcare training, and the completion of a final capstone paper.

Iona Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch?

Cal Farley’s is one of America’s largest privately-funded child and family service providers specializing in both residential and community-based services at no cost to the families of children in our care. Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch is the residential, or campus-based program. At the Boys Ranch campus, 10 to 12 children live in each of the homes with house parent couples providing supervision, mentoring and parenting. If n needed, our basic-care services can accommodate 24-hour supervision.

Where is the campus located?

Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch (zip code 79010) is located in northeast Oldham County Texas. It lies on US-385, 36 miles northwest of Amarillo.

Where will I be living?

Interns will live together in 2 Iona Project apartments: women in one unit and men in the other.

When is the program?

The program runs June 1 through June 1 of the following year.

Is it really important to commit for the entire year?

Yes, the one-year commitment is immensely important. It is vital to understand that the Iona Project is not a customary work program for individuals. Instead, it is a program intentionally designed to form, through prayer, a micro-community of servants for our campus. Interns “become something together” for others through prayer, education, and service. You should think of it as a “together” commitment—not an “individual” pursuit.

What will I be doing?

With days, weeks, and months structured around routine prayer and retreat times, Iona Project interns will conduct full-time supervised youth ministry. Responsibilities will include both pastoral care (such as discipleship, mentoring, and crisis ministry) as well as activity coordination (such as devotional leading, Sunday school teaching, music ministry, events, retreats, and trips). You can learn more about our chapel program by clicking here.

Is this a paid internship?

Yes. Our Human Resources Department can answer questions about wages as well as benefits.

How do I apply?

Contact the Cal Farley’s Human Resources Department by clicking here or by calling 800-687-3722 ext. 2535 or 1253.


Our interdenominational chapel program supports the Christ-centered atmosphere at Boys Ranch. Providing both pastoral care and religious programming, our four full-time chaplains bring a combined 30 years of Boys Ranch chapel experience to our campus. Rooted in scripture, the ministry blends innovation with both ancient and contemporary traditions, proclaiming the truth of scripture in our very unique setting.

Chapel activities are shaped by Four Key Ministry Principles:

Our Four Key Ministry Principles

  • We are Non-sectarian.Our Christian chapel ministry honors the inter-denominational makeup of our setting.
  • We are Patient.We believe hurt people need healing space. In other words, “Coercion obstructs conversion.”
  • We are Unpretentious.We honor difficult questions without shock and shaming. It seems when there’s room to doubt it becomes possible to believe.
  • We are Evangelical.This should not be confused with a political label. We believe prayer and healthy people are the chief conduits of the Spirit’s redemptive movements. Thus the gospel spreads outward as we allow it to sink deeper inward.

Interested in an internship at the Boys Ranch chapel? You can learn about our new Iona Project chapel immersion program at

Link to learn more about the Iona Project


The chapel program provides pastoral care for our residents. This care provided by our chapel staff flows from three ongoing, intentional movements that necessarily feed one another:

Our Pastoral Care Has Three Movements:

  • The gift of loving presence: intentionally accompanying others on their journeys.
  • The gift of withdrawal for prayer: intentional time with God for the sake of others.
  • The gift of intercession: intentionally working and praying on behalf of others.

Deeply committed to these three movements, chaplains live on campus, available not only to provide spiritual care in life crises, but also to offer mentoring, discipleship, and encouragement—praying with others, sharing God’s Word, and cheering at ball games.


As a Christ-centered chapel, we believe it is important for our students to hear the core Christian message believed on by the early church (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). So as an ongoing invitation to Christian faith in our unique setting, this Chapel Belief Statement serves as the touchstone of our weekly chapel services:

Boys Ranch Chapel Belief Statement

Read aloud each Sunday morning in chapel.

“We come together here each Sunday morning in the name of Jesus Christ. We are a colorful group. We represent different ages, different interests, and different backgrounds.”

“We represent different beliefs and different values—some of them are pretty good, and some of them maybe aren’t so good. One thing we know for sure: none of us here are perfect.”

“Many of us here have come to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. We believe He died for our sins, was buried, and after three days rose again from the dead. We believe He ascended into heaven and generously poured out His Holy Spirit to fill the hearts of His believers. We believe His Holy Spirit is a very powerful and mysterious reality. And we believe that He will return again one day to bring salvation to those of us who are eagerly waiting for Him.”

“We are told that Jesus came to set us free. Many of us here believe that. We believe He came to set us free from every addiction. We believe He came to set us free from harmful relationships. We believe He came to set us free from the trap of unforgiveness — the grudges we harbor toward others, and the self-hatred we often have for ourselves.”

“Probably not everyone here has believed this Good News. Some resist. Others are reluctant, but perhaps curious. And yet all of us here, each week, are learning to respect each other as we share our laughter and our lives together. For that we are grateful.”

Let us pray, (“Our Father…”)


All children in our care attend a weekly chapel service on Sunday mornings as well as a home devotional or Sunday school class. Carefully built around our Four Key Ministry Principles, these weekly gatherings honor a true “Christ-centered atmosphere,” treating everyone as Jesus did — with love and dignity.

In addition to these weekly obligations, students are invited to participate in a lively array of optional chapel activities such as:

  • Camps
  • Retreats
  • Weekly youth groups
  • VBS
  • Student praise band
  • Discipleship
  • Service trips
  • Sunset trail rides for prayer

Rooted in scripture, chapel activities are specially designed to be experiential, relational, and multisensory, building “memories that stick” — rich with laughter, color, adventure, and meaning.


We teach the core relationship model that Jesus embodied. In a world suffering from damaged relationships, we believe Jesus has revealed the central blueprint for healthy relationships when addressing the Greatest Commandment:

‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your Neighbor as your Self’ (Luke 10:27).


In collaboration with other programs and departments on our campus, the chapel teaches and nurtures this Christ-centered healthy relationship triad of God, self, and others. You might say it is the portal to “the kingdom” as Jesus taught it. For this reason, chapel activities and teaching are an ongoing invitation to these practices, dispositions, and values.

  • Forgiveness
  • Love
  • Trust
  • Prayer
  • Listening
  • Intrinsic value
  • Accpetance of others
  • Self-acceptance
  • Respect
  • Grace
  • Mercy
  • Compassion
  • Gratitude
  • Generosity
  • Sacrificial Service
  • Healthy boundaries



We all seem to cultivate relationships in three primary ways: talking, listening, and quiet presence together. When relating to God, we call these movements “prayer.”

Following our Four Key Ministry Principles, the chapel program introduces residents to these three primary aspects of prayer.


Three Aspects of Prayer

  • Talking to another: Discursive prayer.
  • Listening to another: Scripture meditation.
  • Sharing quiet moments together without words: Contemplation.

Through teaching and guided experiences, our chapel program introduces residents to a deepening relationship with God through these primary modes of prayer.



Perhaps the most powerful and important function of the chapel program is sowing the seed of God’s Word (Mark 4:13). In a time when youth ministry materials have proliferated, we still believe the Bible is our unsurpassed resource.

Like many folks, we believe scripture is different in nature from common textbooks. While the purpose of common books is information, the primary purpose of scripture is formation. Making this important distinction, we structure our weeks at Boys Ranch around regular, consistent encounters with scripture — seed sowing.

How We Sow a Seed:

  • First, we create a sacred moment shaped by our Four Key Ministry Principles.
  • Next, we read scripture,


    …with trust and presence,

    …without additional clutter,

    …without agenda.

  • Then our voices stop.

We avoid getting marooned on our favorite soapboxes by following a disciplined 3-year cycle through scripture (the RCL). In this way our students encounter a bigger, more complete picture of Jesus Christ through the Gospels. Honoring our Four Key Ministry Principles, each week’s Gospel reading links our weekly devotionals to our Sunday chapel service — seed sowing.


Contact Us

600 SW 11th Ave.
Amarillo, TX
79101 - 3228


Federal Tax Identification Number
Click to verify BBB accreditation and to see a BBB report for Cal Farley's Boys Ranch
Click to verify BBB accreditation and to see a BBB report for Turn Center

Copyright © 2021 Cal Farley's Boys Ranch. All rights reserved.