Worship apprentice program expands by four students, approaches size of past teams



The 10 worship apprentices are split into five pairs to lead chapel along with chapel teams.

The worship apprentice team –– a group of students chosen by Campus Ministries to lead and plan Calvin’s daily chapels –– has expanded this year. While last year’s team consisted of six students, this year there are 10 worship apprentices.

Worship Pastor Paul Ryan, who mentors the worship apprentices, said this is largely due “a great group of applicants.” The worship apprentice program is funded by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, which had initially budgeted for eight apprentices. Ryan liked the pool of applicants so much that he wanted “a couple more.” On request from Ryan, the CICW provided funding for two more apprentices.

The expansion of the number of WAs was also due to the apprentices’ workload. Ryan said the amount of work the six WAs took on was “too much.” The apprentices lead chapel teams, but the structure of those teams is different each year.

Last year, the WAs formed two groups of three, each group leading two chapel teams. Ryan said this resulted in each group of three leading a chapel at least once a week, an amount he considered to be too frequent. 

This year, Ryan has structured the program to ease the difficulty of the WA’s positions. “I’ve conceived a structure [consisting of] five teams, each pair gets to have one team that they can really focus on for a semester.” With each team led by two WAs, Ryan hopes that the weight can be shared between more people, and hopes this model will be more sustainable than past year’s structures.

To assist with the WA program expansion, Nate Glasper Jr., director of the Calvin Gospel Choir, is working directly with the chapel teams, and Ryan now mainly focuses on mentoring the worship apprentices. Glasper is stepping into his second year as a Campus Worship Associate, a role within the CICW. While he held the position last year, he was in the process of consolidating the number of projects he was involved in off campus; this year he is more involved on campus than any previous years. He said that when he initially stepped into the role, Ryan was “looking for more hands, to kind of ease the load a bit.”

Glasper and Ryan are both pleased with the current state of the WA program. Glasper told Chimes it’s been satisfying to see the load spread between more WAs and hasn’t seen anyone becoming overwhelmed yet. Ryan said he’s “excited to have a larger team,” especially as this is the 20th year he has been in the role of worship pastor.