The School Chaplain Program

Adapted from FAQs:

How does the School Chaplain Program work?

Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries rarely provide counselors of any kind for public schools. Mission Generation fills the gap by training teachers, parents, or church members to use the Word of God to counsel and pray with students, school faculty and parents. Providing this much needed service is deeply appreciated by school officials and parents.

Teachers, parents, or church members take two 128-hour online courses to qualify as school chaplains. There is a 63% success rate. Those who pass the courses are awarded a Post Baccalaureate diploma qualifying them as a spiritual school counselor or chaplain. School counselors/chaplains are recognized by teacher unions and school boards. This recognition allows chaplains to have designated rooms in schools for counseling and prayer. They lead school gatherings with prayer and conduct special campus-wide assemblies where Biblical values are taught and the gospel is presented.

(Special note: Presenting the Gospel during school assemblies is a huge opportunity for mission trips. There is an open invitation from schools for visitors to tell their story and invite others to make Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior.)

Over 80% of spiritual school counselors or chaplains are teachers, which means they are already present on school campuses as part of their everyday routine. The balance is made up of concerned parents and evangelicals who consider school chaplaincy their ministry. Evangelical chaplains serve all manner of schools including Catholic and secular private and charter schools.

School administrators are quickly discovering the value of Godly counsel and prayer; thus, they allow a teacher who is certified as a school counselor or chaplain to work at least part of their day in that capacity. In larger schools, spiritual school counselors or chaplains work full time in that capacity.

The response to the School Chaplain Program

What do the recipients of the SCP say about it’s effectiveness? In a sense, Mission Generation’s spiritual school counselors and chaplains are competing against vacant chairs, so the score is always 100 to 0. Parents are the most appreciative and supportive demographic. Whenever the School Chaplain Program has been challenged, the parents have responded en masse.  

In the early days of the program when it was small enough to snuff out, the Bolivian government sent a team of people to close down the ministry and remove the program from all schools. They locked our office doors and then proceeded to the first school. Around a hundred parents met them at the school yard gate and dared them to cross the line. A conversation ensued, both sides presenting their case. The government team was persuaded to reopen our office and requested a meeting.  

We discovered that the group sent from the government was composed of Cuban and Russian-trained Communists who reported directly to the Minister of Education. They voiced concern that the program would be politicized. They also strongly objected to religion in school. We promised to never align ourselves with a political party and also came to an agreement on Jesus.  

As communists, they did not believe in God. We asked, “If God is not real where is the threat? Why create a national scandal if Jesus was nobody special? If you kick God out, that means you believe in God.” They saw our point and we formed a bond. Bolivia became the first nation to certify and accredit the School Chaplain Program. This gave us the green light to replicate it throughout Bolivia and eventually Latin America. 

How is the Program received by the local church? What about locals of non-Christian faiths like Islam, Buddhism, etc.?

As unbelievable as it sounds, announcements that schools will be providing spiritual counselors and chaplains have been received with enthusiasm and thanksgiving. Parents and teachers know that there is more to education than academics. Research proves that economic, social, and personal success is the result of Emotional Intelligence (EI), a topic addressed by spiritual school counselors or chaplains. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord (Prov. 9:10). 

We have found great commonality with parents when it comes to concern for their children. We have yet to run into a parent who did not want their children to receive a good education, to be safe in school and to graduate. The School Chaplain Program delivers great educational outcomes which makes its case.  

  1. Teen pregnancies are down by up to 85%. 
  2. Graduations rates are up by 37%. 
  3. Graduates that continue education are up 300%, 80% returning to the community.   
  4. Parent participations in school meetings increased up to 500%.  
  5. Students average up one letter grade. 
  6. Student attitudes improve toward authority.   
  7. Dropout rate is down by up to 45%. 
  8. Bullying and in-school violence is dramatically reduced. 
  9. Disciplinary actions and suspensions are dramatically reduced.   
  10. Gang participation is down or eliminated. 
  11. Teen suicide dropped to zero in every school using the program 2 years or more. 

Campus culture changes when Jesus is invited to school,. While there are almost always a few who reject Him, once the campus Body of Christ (Ekklesia) is established, everyone benefits. To date, there has been only marginal resistance the School Chaplain Program from any group, religious or not. 

New areas and distribution

How does Mission Generation get the School Chaplain Program into a new school, district or country?

The marketing strategy for new schools, districts, and countries is the same. The marketing team facilitates word of mouth promotion. We encourage participants in the chaplain program to post their testimony. We then repost their stories on our network and paid links targeting their geographic areas. People in new districts or countries come on board when they see testimonies from neighboring districts or countries. Thousands of people have responded by requesting information. Offering the program at no cost greatly facilitates the strategy.   

All lessons, courses, and content are distributed via phone apps (some programs are available on desktops as well). With relatively few hardline phones in developing countries, market penetration of smart phones has been higher there than in the U.S., and devices are cheaper than their American counterparts. The School Chaplain Program training courses, Bible lessons, classroom applications, and topical references are delivered through websites and social media. 

Once a person signs up to become a spiritual school counselor or chaplain, they are given schedules showing when courses will be offered. Training modules have a start and end date. Assignments must be completed on time in order to graduate. The courses are managed with an LMS (learning management system) so that online activity, quizzes, tests, and assignments can be tracked. 

Representatives of the School Chaplain Program also speak at conferences and give customized courses to national and state level education departments. Our staff members also offer spiritual and educational consulting as well as personal follow-up to courses and lessons.  

Overcoming legal and political challenges

Governments challenging the School Chaplain Program have been shocked when presented with their own data showing the cost to them of teen pregnancy and school dropouts. The program has proven to be very effective at reducing government entitlement spending and not just when young people are in school but over the course of their lives. Once this fact is understood, the government view softens. 

This common ground approach of “We help you if you help us” strategy has been very effective. A case in point occurred in the early days of the program when the Bolivian government denied the ministry access to public schools. In response, we offered to help them with a huge problem.  

Like most developing nations, there are no formal addresses in Bolivia. People use landmarks or hand-drawn maps. Our technical team built a website that gave the government, for the first time, a Google Earth-generated map system with the exact location of every school in the nation. In exchange for this service, the School Chaplain Program was given indefinite and unlimited access to every school in the country. Once the Bolivian National Education Department accredited our program, other nations soon followed. 

Who creates the Program’s material?

Mission Generation adopted Billy Graham’s discipleship and training courses as the core of the School Chaplain Program. The Reverend Graham is well known and respected by a broad spectrum of Christianity. Pastors, chaplains, education psychologists, child psychologists and classroom teachers have built on this platform to create training and support materials. The ministry has also employed professional program evaluators to critique the program from several points of view which has proven to be very valuable.   

The training program is online and is offered as two 128-hour courses divided into 4 modules each. Each module has a start and end date requiring assignments to be completed on time and is supported with webinars. Reading material, tests and grades are monitored and recorded on a learning management system (LMS). With few exceptions, people who sign up for the course do not expect to be graded, and there is a 37% failure rate of the people who begin the course. 

Verification and evalutation

Pastors and professional program evaluators are used as “secret shoppers” to evaluate the School Chaplain Program. The evaluators take all of the training courses, read all published material, and randomly call schools and chaplains to solicit their responses and opinions about the program.  

Evaluators help insure best practices as well as the highest standards of integrity and efficiency.  Observations, edits, improvements, discrepancies, complaints, and praises are collected into templates to structure reports. The executive team and the evaluators meet on a regular basis to discuss reports and make appropriate improvements or changes to the program’s training, support mechanisms, and/or protocols.  

Program acceditation

What does accreditation of the School Chaplain Program mean?

Accreditation means the School Chaplain Program is officially recognized by at least one governmental or educational entity in the country of deployment. The program is accredited or officially recognized as being qualified to train adults to perform the duties of a spiritual school counselor in every country where it works. Accreditations generally come from universities, teacher unions and/or boards of education.  

Everyone who completes the training courses receives a post-baccalaureate diploma. Licensed teachers who complete the courses are credentialed as spiritual school counselors, which qualifies them for increased compensation, additional benefits, and promotions.  

Evaluation numbers

Where do the numbers come from that allow Mission Generation to claim millions of people are in the program?

The numbers are dynamic in the sense that they are adjusted every quarter. In 2020, the average number of people per school was 898 which includes students, parents, teachers, administrators, and staff. The formula for the total number of people in the school chaplain program is:  

Number of schools in the program  x  average number of people per school = total number of participants.  

The average number of people per school is re-evaluated at the end of each calendar year. In 2018 for example, there was a major revision to the average number of participants per school which significantly dropped the overall numbers. 

Support

How does the School Chaplain Program address questions, personal needs and urgent requests?

The Program operates a call center 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. Call center service is increased to 16 hours on days when webinars are hosted. WhatsApp allows all texts and calls to be made to the call center without cost.  

Because of the training and support apps, there are very few urgent requests. Of the several hundred texts and calls a week, most are requests for technical support. 

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