We had just gone to a maximum security prison for juveniles and now at a half-way house one of my student choir members was face to face with a person easily twice his size. Not more than 2 feet apart from people assigned to the rehabilitation program, this red-headed, t-shirt and shorts-clad 10th grader was sharing his testimony about how God was alive, working in his life, and how his listener could find a new life in Christ.
I love the boldness of students and especially the way they express themselves in worship. Some of my best memories and most moving moments have been watching as a student gave their shared their testimony or in some way led in worship for the first time. As worship leaders, we should always be on the lookout for opportunities to involve and develop others as we “equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” (Eph 4:12)
Guiding, instructing, and providing a place for students to lead is not only good stewardship but points the ministry of the church to the future.
Here are 8 simple steps to involve students in worship leadership. Take the time to talk about the purpose of each action and how it fits within the time of worship. Not only will the student leaders become more engaged, but your entire congregation as well.
- Be a part of the praise team or choir. Of course, you could use all students on the team, but mix students and adults on the same team. Either way, you do it, it will build confidence with every opportunity.
- Be a part of the band. This is a great place to engage multiple generations.
- Sing a solo, or a “step out” solo at the beginning or in the middle of a song. This is the perfect way for vocalists to lead out without having the pressure of a full solo. Many modern songs are written this way, so it is an easy fit.
- Have a student lead in prayer. If the prayer is for a specific part of the service talk about this with the student. It’s ok to write the prayer out and read it in the service too. Help them to avoid “programmed” prayers and speak to God in their words and their own voice.
- Help with the offering, be a greeter or utilize them in a similar way in worship. Not all service is done from the platform. What a great impression it is when church members as well as guests see students involved in service. Never underestimate the power of someone being greeted with a smile as they come into the church!
- Have students give a testimony. Just like the TV line – “story matters here.” It’s good to tell the old, old, story – but a student (or anyone) sharing what God is doing in his or her life is a dynamic moment. (Helpful hint: it’s always a good idea to have the student write the testimony.)
- Let them preach in the service. What a blessing it is for a church to see and hear from one of their own. Talk about buy-in from the congregation! This is such a special time for the student and the congregation as they worship together and everyone, from nursery workers to connect group leaders, student pastors, choir leaders – can see how their lives have impacted another. (Helpful hint: every pastor I know enjoys the opportunity to help others prepare for a sermon.)
- Serve on the technical/media team. How natural is this?! Most worship services have several layers of technology and students live in that world. Give guidance where and when needed, but let them own this opportunity to serve the church in worship.
Randy – out!