Did You Know…?
In the school year now behind us, The King’s Academy created a new staff position and welcomed a new person to fill that position – and what a blessing he has been! Last fall, recognizing the ongoing need to help students develop spiritually and receive Christian mentoring opportunities in the school environment, Headmaster Walter Grubb (who served in this role for the past 31 years until his retirement last month) appointed Reverend Nick Swarthout to be the Chaplain at The King’s Academy. While his first year of service at TKA , Chaplain Swarthout, our students, parents, and staff are energized by what has been accomplished among us in just one school year, and they are excited for what is yet to come!
Chaplain Swarthout is very qualified to lead. “As an armed services veteran – six years of service with the United States Army – he was Communications Operator with the 10th Special Forces Group in Iraq,” Grubb stated. “He has held key youth ministry leadership roles in four churches, including his current position at Grace Baptist Church of Seymour.”
Chaplain Swarthout shares that it was during that six-year period of service in the U.S. military that he felt a call to ministry. He enrolled in Baptist College of Florida and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Ministry Studies there. He then earned a Master of Divinity (M. Div.) Degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Christian Leadership from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He comes to TKA with work experience in youth ministry and has seen firsthand in the lives of youth group members the impact of broken homes and absent fathers, and the negative effects of the world. Chaplain Swarthout maintains an open door to his office in the main building, the Anderson Building. Based on the number of students who have been coming to see him, it is obvious there is a great need for this ministry.
Middle and High School Principal Rex Smith said, “Having a chaplain at TKA is invaluable. Some students have spiritual questions that need more time to resolve than a classroom teacher can provide.” Reverend Swarthout added, “I believe the Lord has called me for this time and this purpose.”
The scope of this position is broad and includes being one of the primary spiritual leaders on campus, cultivating relationships with students through one-on-one and small group meetings, assisting parents in providing Biblical instruction to our children, and working with Chapel Coordinator Craig Connatser to develop meaningful programs and special events.
Already this year, Chaplain Swarthout has met with numerous students to offer personal and spiritual support. He initiated Thursday morning Bible Study for high school boys at 7:00 a.m. in Ashe Cafeteria and he leads a Wednesday evening Bible Study at 7:30 p.m. at Grace Baptist Church in Seymour in which a number of day and boarding students participate. He met with TKA faculty whom he says have a heart for discipleship. He has encouraged teachers to be intentional disciple-makers.
In February and again in April, Chaplain Swarthout spearheaded two special event days in the Seymour community entitled “Project: Love Notes.” Students went into the community to offer helpful services to people at places of business. For example, some helped unload groceries into people’s cars, others offered coffee to shoppers entering the grocery store, and a number washed windshields in parking lots.
TKA students interacted with hundreds of people throughout Seymour, identifying their affiliation with The King’s Academy and asking individuals if there was anything for which they would like prayer. Many students and sponsors were able to pray with community members on the spot. As students greeted people, they handed out “Project: Love Notes” cards which presented the reader with Scripture references and contact information (for Chaplain Swarthout). Both events were great successes and were impactful for students and individuals who received tangible services as well as prayer. Some of those individuals commented on social media about what a great group of students from The King’s Academy they encountered when they went to the grocery store that day!
As we enter into the new school year, Chaplain Swarthout is not resting on the accomplishments of the past school year, but is already engaging students in Bible Study and Christian service. As an institution and a body of Christian believers, The King’s Academy strives to model the teachings of Christ and help youth mature as Christian adults. TKA is grateful for Chaplain Swarthout’s impact and looks forward to the development of servant leaders in the student body in the future.
Dr. Grubb summed up the chaplain’s influence, “In just a few short months, Chaplain Swarthout has made as significant an impact as any individual person could in that length of time. He has fully embraced the academy mission, and has invested himself fully in the lives of our students. And his influence has not been limited to the students. It has reached to the parents and our faculty and staff as well.”
Do you have a son or daughter who would benefit from the spiritual growth and enrichment at The King’s Academy? If so, we invite you to contact Janice Mink or Lori Campbell in the Admissions Office to set up a tour and to learn more. Just call 865-573-8321 and ask for Admissions.
The campus-wide theme for the new school year is “Raise the Bar,” and that is what is intended, in academics, spiritual life, and athletics. The primary goal is to foster a culture of excellence in which there is continuous improvement. With the new theme in mind, Chaplain Swarthout posed a question: “What is one thing I can do today to make The King’s Academy more effective for the kingdom of God?”