STUDENT LED WORSHIP MINISTRY
One of my first memories of youth ministry as a teenager growing up was being a part of a student-led worship team. I can still remember our youth pastor taking a bunch of us out to breakfast one Saturday morning at Tom’s #5 Diner (I think we had waffles) and telling us that he had a vision for students leading music in our youth ministry services during the week. My friends and I were so excited! All of us LOVED playing music, and now we were going to be able to use our gifts on a weekly basis by leading worship at our church.
Over the next year or so, our youth worker poured time & energy into us, developing us into worship leaders. We learned how to choose songs for the service that would supplement the sermons, we learned how to run rehearsals and put song slides together (back then we used our good ol’ overhead projector). In fact, it was because of the opportunity given to us by our youth pastor that most of us eventually went into ministry in the first place. Our youth pastor saw something in us that we didn’t yet see in ourselves and the rest is history!
Now back then we had a bunch of students in our ministry who played music. We had guitar players and drummers, keyboardists and singers. But what about smaller youth ministries out there who don’t have very many musicians? Maybe you are in a youth ministry setting where you don’t really have any musicians at all. Maybe the majority of the students in your ministry are into sports. Here is my suggestion: START SMALL! If you want to develop a student worship ministry in your setting, start with what you have. Maybe you only have one student who can sing or play guitar. Start small and start developing them. Ask around and see if anyone in your church is a musician who would be willing to teach students how to play guitar or piano. Ask your worship leader at your church if he/she would have time to help get a student worship team off the ground. Simply figure out what you have and then build slowly from there. Here are just some of the benefits of having students lead worship in your services:
1) STUDENT BY-IN GOES WAY UP! Even though the quality will always go down when teenagers lead versus adults leading, the teenagers in your ministry will love it WAY more because they get to see their peers serving in the services.
2) IT’S A HUGE WIN FOR THE LARGER CHURCH. When you begin developing teenagers into worship leaders early on, they have the potential to be great worship leaders by the time they leave your youth ministry. This means that the larger church will have a bigger pool of worship leaders to utilize when they graduate from your ministry.
3) STUDENTS WHO SERVE TEND TO STICK. This principle works for any type of ministry students are involved in, but the truth is that students who are serving will tend to stick around longer in your ministry. Students who serve move from being a spectator to a champion in your youth minsitry.
Maybe your reading this and saying “Yes! I can’t wait to launch a worship ministry for my students!”. If so, I found a GREAT resource to help smaller youth ministries sound awesome in the interim while you get things moving. A company called LOOP COMMUNITY creates professional sounding loops (background tracks of guitar, bass, drums, etc.) that you can use to make your student worship band, or solo singer, sound terrific! You simply choose the worship song, download it and play it through your sound system as your students play along. It’s super simple and they work great. Let me know what you think!