The worship leaders of tomorrow are being groomed today at Calvin College thanks to an innovative apprentice program that sees students spend an entire school year learning to lead and support worship.

The worship leaders of tomorrow are being groomed today at Calvin College thanks to an innovative apprentice program that sees students spend an entire school year learning to lead and support worship.

The worship leaders of tomorrow are being groomed today at Calvin College thanks to an innovative apprentice program that sees students spend an entire school year learning to lead and support worship.

This August a dozen Calvin students will return to campus about two weeks before the start of classes to train for their apprenticeships. Then, during the school year, the chosen 12 will serve the Calvin campus as musicians, dramatists, liturgists, artists, dancers, tech coordinators and hospitable leaders in a variety of worship contexts. They will unleash their worship know-how in chapel, residence hall and LOFT services, jazz vespers, campus-wide celebrations and other events. And they will participate in the annual Calvin Worship Symposium, sponsored by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Each apprentice will receive a stipend of $1,000 per semester, to allow them to focus on worship duties without seeking outside employment.

The students who have been selected are excited.
Vanessa Acosta of Grand Rapids is eager to use her gifts, including bilingual singing, to help others to "know the joy of the Lord." Daryl Holmlund, from Loveland, Colorado, looks forward to learning more about theologically sound worship. And James Zwier of Holland wants to be numbered among "a new generation of leaders who are committed to deep worship - nurtured in the wisdom of tradition and voiced in a timeless yet contemporary way."

Such sentiments are gratifying to Calvin administrator Shirley Roels, director of the Lilly Vocation Project at Calvin (funded by a $2 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc.), which includes the Worship Apprentice Program.
"The goal of the Worship Apprentice Program," says Roels, "is to create a perceptive and astute subset of our graduates who both understand and value healthy and deep worship experiences."

She adds: "When the team was picked, it was picked as a team with complementary but varied talents. So some students are very much the up-front liturgists, and some of them you'll never see - but thank goodness they're not up front, or you wouldn't see the technology in the chapel service work."

The new apprentices are eager both to be mentored and to serve the Calvin student body.
Kate Hugen of Norwalk, California, says: "I want to be able to use what I'm learning to help others grow in their walk with Christ . . . as well as building relationships with a group of people that I have never worked with." Adds Erin Westmaas, a music theory and composition major from Marion, Michigan: "It is quite likely that I will be doing some sort of music ministry after college, and I hope that this program will better equip me in this."

Acosta, Holmlund, Hugen, Westmaas and Zwier Hugen join Dan Diephouse (Grand Rapids), Tim Haig (Grand Rapids), Kent Hendricks (Lynden, Washington); Dean Kladder (Holland), Lindsay Kevan (Twin Falls, Idaho), Sarah Steen (Holland) and Nathan Sytsma (Rocky Mountain House, Alberta) as the 2003-2004 apprentices - the second team of worship apprentices chosen under the funding of the Lilly Vocation Project.

Kladder and Haig are repeating as worship apprentices and say the team is in for an eventful year.
"I learned that the actual 'doing' of worship and ministry is much more involved, in-depth and comprehensive than I could have ever imagined," says Kladder, who will spend part of this summer studying worship reform in England. "This is a whole new kind of learning experience. You learn from actually doing, through failure, success, through times of trial and times of joy."

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