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Adult Worshippers Vs. Student Worshippers

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  • Adult Worshippers Vs. Student Worshippers

    I serve as the Worship and Youth Director at my church just outside of Baton Rouge, LA. I received a little in the different aspects of leading worship for our 'Adult Services' vs. leading worship at my 'Youth Service.' So, I'd love to share my thoughts and then hear from some of you who may have the ability at your church to do the same!

    1. The goal is the same! Sometimes we (or I did early on) got in the habit of doing as loud, raucous, fun, superficial songs with the youth as I could in the hopes of 'hooking' them into worship. While those songs are fun and have their place I needed to remind myself that the goal is to lead my students into the throne room of GOD! Yes, we can do that with the latest United tunes but I can also do that with older songs and more importantly: worship songs.

    2. Connection is key. I find this important in our 2 Adult services, the congregations at each service are unique and different. The students that show up at 4:30 for our Youth service are unique and different. All of them though need to be connected to to help transition from wherever they were before they walked in those doors to where we're trying to lead them.

    3. I do find that my youth are far more open to 'showing' their worship than some of their parents I need to be careful how I say this! HAHAHA. But I have a relatively small group that's growing right now and we're coming into our own. We have about 20 Middle Schoolers who have a 'youth section' in the adult worship service. And what I've noticed is that since we've done some of the songs in the adult worship service in the context of their youth service where I really encourage them to clap, jump around, do silly handmotions to Every Move I Make, etc. that it has spilled over to the adult worship service and that's been totally exciting to see.

    4. Last but not least, youth as do adults, want to be challenged! Other than my drummer, my youth band is made up of all High School students. We play United, Crowder, Tomlin, etc. They love it. And I expect us to be great when we play! These students blow me away with their hunger to come and play and get it right! AND they invite their friends! It's incredible! I've seen the same thing with the adults. The old worship pastor led with the piano and was insane! He could lead by himself and would with all that he could do on our Triton. I lean heavily on my team with more of a band mentality. Everyone comes with their parts and knows they they're going to be counted on. It's great.

    I don't know exactly what people were looking for but I've seen more similarities surprisingly doing the 2 than I imagined. Of course, with my Youth I go all out with video and the dBs are louder and such but the overall response should be the same. Honestly, for the summer I'm switching things up a bit and will be scaling things waaaaay back for the youth services to see how that goes. I like change for change's sake It keeps people from settling down!

  • #2
    Way to go on keeping things as alike as possible.

    One of the hugest mistakes in youth worship leading is giving youth too much of their own private worship culture. They never show up for Sunday morning because it's so radically different from Sunday night. Once they graduate from youth group they graduate from church.

    I'm not knocking niche worship. It can be a powerful tool. (For youth, 20's, people who love surf music, whatever...) But there also needs to be a thread of commonaltiy that runs through it all. Intergenerational/inter-cultural worship has to be at least possible on some level.

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    • #3
      Commonality

      Yeah, engaging the students in 'Adult' worship as well helps them feel a part of the entire body of the church, in my humble opinion. Its too easy to segregate them and then we have these labels of what 'Adult' or 'Big' church is like and then 'Pretend' or 'Youth' church is like. I mean there is a generation gap and students do connect differently than some of their parents but if there's no connection at all then I think we run a risk of helping to push our students away.

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      • #4
        I think Biblically there is no "youth" church or "adult" church. No junior varsity Holy Spirit for the kids and teens, and varsity Holy Spirit for the Adults.

        We are intentional about inviting any and every parent that wants to participate in our children's/teen gatherings. We make it a point to let people know that it's GOOD when our "age cultures" mix. Sometimes it's beneficial for a kid with separation anxiety. At other times it's good for a parent who just really loves pouring into the lives of teens. We try and and create an acceptable "cool" for the interaction between generations.

        It is easier said than done, though.

        As far as actual worship gatherings, that's tough. As different people are moved by different genres, volumes, and "vibes" so too, are different ages moved by those different avenues of connecting to God in worship.

        While one may be enthusiastic and confident in the expression of older, tried and true hymns, the next person may be the same in the expression of ancient chant or some form of modern rock. Who knows?

        That's the beauty of being and creating an atmosphere where the church is built up. UNITY. All that we do should be unified. So, being in leadership (Serving the body) means that we find those common grounds to bring all ages, all generations, and all of our people together. It's pretty tough sometimes.

        At our place, we kind of have it pretty easy because our primary gathering is geared more towards introducing people to Jesus, and basic scriptural truths, as opposed to being specifically a corporate MUSICAL worship experience/profound, sermon experience. Although, we do have corporate worship (some would call it praise), the WHOLE of our gathering is worship. Teaching those who have yet to cross the line of faith about Jesus. Teaching those who have just crossed the line of faith about living worship. And Teaching those who are growing and maturing to bring others to the line of faith, and help them cross it. It's building the Kingdom, and if that's not an act of worship, I don't know what is.

        Anywhooo....I get to rambling. So now I stop.
        Associate Director of Worship & Media at St. Simons Community Church .He is also the content curator and editor here at The Worship Community.

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        • #5
          no JV spirit here!

          I LOVED what you said about no junior varsity Holy Spirit for youth! LOVE THAT! I completely agree!

          Originally posted by blindeyesopen View Post
          At our place, we kind of have it pretty easy because our primary gathering is geared more towards introducing people to Jesus, and basic scriptural truths, as opposed to being specifically a corporate MUSICAL worship experience/profound, sermon experience. Although, we do have corporate worship (some would call it praise), the WHOLE of our gathering is worship. Teaching those who have yet to cross the line of faith about Jesus. Teaching those who have just crossed the line of faith about living worship. And Teaching those who are growing and maturing to bring others to the line of faith, and help them cross it. It's building the Kingdom, and if that's not an act of worship, I don't know what is.
          I'm so glad to hear this. Its one of the things we try not to forget as well. Our church's mission I suppose is after the 'dechurched families' of our area. While we know that people do worship through music, we know worship does not end with music. So, especially myself, we try to be mindful and create a worship service, not a worship 'set of music.' That worship continues through the message, offering, greeting, etc. and outside the Sunday morning arena to service, community, giving, etc. And that's tough to do for many who were brought up with the mindset that my 'worship' are these 5 songs here

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          • #6
            I agree with what's been posted previously. I would add that I've become aware of a need to try to keep younger worshipers (myself included...not that I'm terribly young, but...) from falling into the trap of worshiping 'worship'...worshiping songs of a certain flavor... becoming worship junkies, if you will. Just like there are older persons who are really tied to worship in a certain flavor and style, I wonder if we are almost creating a younger generation that will find themselves unable to worship unless the music/setting is a certain flavor and style.

            At a camp for senior high students, we did some teaching from a book called Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas. The book explores various paths of worship that are all valid, but quite different from each other... the premise being that we each have been designed to express our relationship with God in different ways. As we went through the various 'pathways', it was striking how many students identified that they meet God most powerfully through nature, or silence. It was a somber group of youth pastors who realized that we tend to bombard students with high-energy everything, which they do love, but what if their hearts are really craving silence? This is, of course, not a new idea or one reserved only for the young. It's hard for adults to carve out times of solitude and silence...harder still for youth. We've done a few events where we invited students to take time in silence, asking God specific kinds of questions. And it was amazing what they experienced in those moments. Have we done this with adults? No, not as much. Why? Admittedly, because our 'big' worship gatherings are so not built for that. That should change. But that's another topic.

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            • #7
              You mean in the culture of ADD and ADHD there's still room for silence

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              • #8
                Originally posted by WorshipCity View Post
                You mean in the culture of ADD and ADHD there's still room for silence
                Yep. Wait...what were we talking about?

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                • #9
                  ADD & ADHD are just a bunch of people who didn't eat their greens growing up.
                  Associate Director of Worship & Media at St. Simons Community Church .He is also the content curator and editor here at The Worship Community.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    or watched too much TV.

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                    • #11
                      that would be me ...

                      Back to the thread ... that book by Gary Thomas sounds awesome - I'd love to see it! Man, I tell ya - I wish those "worship junkies" would listen to the podcast "Wired for Worship" that Pastor David (here at SSCC) taught the last 4 weeks. It really addressed that on Week 3.
                      Fred McKinnon, Pianist/Composer/Worship Leader
                      blog: www.fredmckinnon.com

                      Please check out my piano/instrumental music at:
                      www.soundcloud.com/FredMcKinnonMusic
                      www.youtube.com/c/FredMcKinnonMusic

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