We invite you to reflect upon your time as a child and teenager. For those of you who grew up within the Adventist Church community, what highlights come to mind? When did you realize Jesus loved you? When did you fall in love with Jesus? Were there church members who made a difference in your life? What was your favorite part of church? What made you decide to stay in church? How did the church engage you? All of these questions and more set the foundation for the Campus Ministries program at Maplewood Academy.
At the time of this writing, Maplewood Academy students are engaged, working and laughing together as the hands and feet of Jesus. They have organized a Week of Prayer for Northwoods Elementary school students to share skits and worship thoughts about how faith grows during trials. Additionally they have packed shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child and filled Thanksgiving food baskets for community members. It is touching to see our students so willingly engaging with each other and our staff on such projects. Inside each of us is the desire to make a positive difference in the world, and we endeavor to provide our students with various opportunities to put their spiritual gifts into practice. Students participate in everything from their academic classes to campus spiritual activities, music groups, student council and sports teams. In church lingo, we would call this total member involvement.
Within the first few weeks of school, the Campus Ministries class interviewed the students and asked them how they would like to serve and be involved this year. Praise teams, Bible studies, Small Groups, Weeks of Prayer, Operation Christmas Child, Class Vespers, Hutchinson church services, creating inspiring videos, skits and games are some of them. Each of these options provides students the opportunity to explore their ministerial calling, gain a variety of skills, and feel empowered to lead in their home churches. We notice their relationships with
God grow as they share what they learn with others. Though most students have favorite activities, each opportunity helps them engage. It is an amazing experience to see them involved in ministry and to hear the powerful testimonies that come from their experiences.
One of the activities students and staff enjoy is when we divide into groups to explore their opinions on different Bible topics. When asked, music teacher Clinton Anderson said, “I like where you get into Sabbath school with different groups and then go around to the different corners of the room and have them share about God, because I get to hear a bunch of different perspectives from the students rather than just one person talking.” Students engage more as they hear the different perspectives on topics.
Sabbath school Small Groups have student leaders who organize different activities such as games with lesson applications or deeper Bible study methods, all catering to a variety of learning styles. Madi Hoffer (Class of 2025) says, “I like when we play games and different things in the library because it is kind of fun to interact with people and have a worship talk to start us off.” Hannah Ruach (Class of 2026) agrees with her. She says “I like when we have a game and then incorporate it with a lesson because games are fun and it also relates to a lesson.” Multiple studies have shown that hands-on learning helps increase student participation, fosters social and emotional learning, and motivates students to remember what they learned.
The students at Maplewood Academy are a part of the army of youth rightly trained. The Adventist church is in good hands, and what a blessing it is to watch our students engage and help others. Whether they pack Operation Christmas Child boxes or teach young children new songs about growing their faith, a spirit of love and service pervades. Engagement is real at Maplewood Academy. It is here now, and we can count on it being here in the future!