Engaging Youth in Worship- Give Them Ownership

I remember very distinctly in High School when my youth director sat across the table from me as we munched on chips and hot sauce. She looked at me and said, “I want you to consider leading the youth worship team.” What did that entail? Basically I would be the one responsible for a team of youth that planned the worship services for our weekly meetings, and any special services we had on retreats or other times. I chose songs, recruited musicians, found skits, and put the service in order.  And I was the one responsible. I am still not sure that she knows to this day how important it made me feel and how much it meant to me to do what she did. I can tell you that it was a turning point in my life and today I am grateful.

It is scary to take something as important as worship and turn it over to someone other than yourself, especially a youth. But it could be the best thing you could do, for your youth group and for those individuals. Consder this:

1. Youth know the things that connect them better than you do. Having youth take ownership in planning your worship services means they may come up with some different, but great ways to introduce others to Jesus Christ.

2. Youth know other youth more than you do. I have done nothing to recruit new members into our youth worship team over the past year. They have come with friends becuase someone knows someone. Now we have 3 drummers but they all work together, divide up the songs and do a great job.

3. Youth are not the future of the church. I was told I was the future of the church growing up, but the truth is we all have something to contribute no matter what life stage we are in. We should not underestimate the talents, abilities, and desires our youth have now and the things they can teach us about worship.

Giving away ownership is scary. It means that you will have worship services where nothing seems to go right. You will have times when the one responsible didn’t make the song sheets, or call the musicians or rehearse a skit. Believe me I know that from experience. It also means that you will have some of the most wonderful times of worship and experience God in ways that you never would have thought of.

I also know that by giving someone else ownership you may be investing in a future worship leader, you may be changing a life. I know that my life was changed, and I am doing what I do now because of a conversation I had across a table over chips and hot sauce.

  • http://www.practicalworship.blogspot.com/ milepost13

    I appreciate this…I’m leading a breakout session at our upcoming youth conference focusing on youth and worship, and I’ve been looking for some good thoughts…I think I’ll use some of this.


  • Nitiven Heaven

    Worship is my way of life. Cannot live without worshiping God,.

  • hope

    absolutely!!! i particularly liked point # 3.

  • Julie

    Did you find that it helped the rest of the group ENGAGE in worship? The common problem I’ve seen in youth group, as a youth, a youth leader, and now a worship leader in church who occaisonally observes the youth service, is that the kids are totally un-interested, distracted, and more or less seem bored during worship.

    this is so baffling to me, as worship is my main way of connecting spiritually, I don’t understand people who can’t get into the spirit of worship. I do understand that there are different ways to worship, not just music, but… how do we get them involved in the actual worship portion of the service? Even just clapping on their own is a challenge! How do we revolutionize their experience so that they see Jesus during our times together?

  • Wendel

    Julie, I think when I started reading that this article would answer your question. I loved the article and it did add very good insights, but I’m with Julie… What happened to this generation? Is it really as it seems, that they are un-interested, distracted, and bored? Please, someone help!

    I’ve been new to leading worship to youth and this has been my greatest challenge. Maybe to engage them it all needs to be done via SMS, or streamed live… I don’t know :-|

    Or maybe they just need a true Holy Spirit revival and worship services where people fall from the 2nd floor and get revived Paul style.

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