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.
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:
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.
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,
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.
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