In this blog, Worship Together intern, Andrew Holt, gives his feedback on the importance of growing student worship ministries. He is involved with our Camp Electric worship team and has years of experience in worship ministries, specifically with youth.
I have lead worship for student ministry in different capacities for almost six years, and it has become one of my favorite ministries to be a part of. One of the trickiest parts of building a strong student worship team is navigating through all the challenging parts of being a teenager in hopes to build something powerful and game changing for your entire church. Here are 5 key practices that I believe can lead to exactly that.
1…Re-define student worship as a part of the overall worship ministry
A challenge that keeps many student worship teams from seeing huge success is their separation from the overall worship ministry of the church. The leadership often comes from within the student ministries’ leadership and not the worship ministries’. If you are a worship pastor, I would encourage you to get involved with your student worship leaders and begin to pour into them and push them to grow. Encourage your main worship team members to find students who play the same instrument or even sing the same parts and begin to build relationships. This will achieve two things. First, it will make your student worship teams feel accepted and appreciated by the worship ministry as a whole. Secondly, it will bring growth for both your students and adults because they will begin to learn from each other.
2…Begin raising up leaders at an early age
One of the most impactful times in my life was when I was in middle school and an older worship leader in my church began to give me opportunities to be involved. Chances are that a student at this age is going to be awkward and inexperienced (I know I definitely was), but finding students at this age will give them 7 to 8 years to gain experience before they graduate high school. That’s more than enough time for a student to grow in extraordinary ways. The hope is that you will begin to grow a culture of discipleship within your worship ministry, and that students will begin to mentor each other as you mentor them.
3...Encourage and Embrace Growth
The truth is that most students interested in worship ministry will not be well-seasoned musicians, and that is a good thing. Never dismiss someone who does not match the quality that you think they should have. Instead, look for potential to grow, a heart that is passionate about worship, and someone who is willing to learn. There has to come a time where someone is willing to take a chance so that they can grow and become all that God wants them to be.
4…Don’t Discount the Power of a Student Leading Worship
Some of the most powerful worship that I have been a part of has been led by students, and by students leading multiple age groups in worship. So often we dismiss student worship leaders as having the ability to lead adults in worship, but I believe God can work through the heart of a student in ways that are very unique. A student leading worship for your whole church body can bring a fresh, new quality that your church can be challenged and changed by.
5…Step Back and Let Them Take Hold of Some things
Once you feel like a student is in a place where they are prepared and mature enough to take the lead on different aspects of your ministry, give them opportunities. The worst thing that you could do for young worship leaders and musicians is to train them and prepare them, but never give them opportunities. Allow your students to take a whole Sunday morning and lead worship, and give them space and the resources to succeed.
Overall, it is not too demanding to take the necessary steps to bring success and purpose into your student worship team. However, by investing into your student ministries’ worship, you are also investing into your church. And many beautiful, powerful things can come from it.