1. WHO'S IT FOR?
Chapel speakers direct their messages almost entirely to the students in the room who are very familiar with the Bible and Christianity. Our international students are just learning how to navigate a Bible. Their Bible knowledge is almost non-existent, so understanding a sermon built on that kind of prior knowledge is impossible.
2. WHAT LANGUAGE IS THAT?
There is a whole Christian-lingo. People who aren't Christians or haven't been a Christian for very long easily get lost with the catch phrases used in sermons. When my international students hear someone talking about being "on fire," "washed in the Savior's blood," and hearing the Spirit "talk" to me, at best they are confused and at worst they are FREAKED OUT!
3. SPEED OF LIGHT SPEAKING
In order to keep the attention of a group of high school students on a Thursday morning most chapel speakers are fast talkers. They are up-beat, energetic and fun, but that speed of speech makes it challenging for English language learners to keep up.
4. WHY IS EVERYONE LAUGHING?
Chapel speakers also keep teens engaged by using humor and slang. It requires significant language acquisition to keep up with a speed-talking-joke telling chapel speaker! Our international students give up pretty quickly.
What do we do?
Every time we have chapel (well, ok, almost every time) I spend some time deconstructing the experience with my international students. Here are few questions I try to cover: