Using the Gifts God Gave Them


How do you include your youth and young adults in worship? What are your best ideas and practices? Please share them in the comments section and lets learn from each other.

  • One I heard about this weekend is a church in Three Rivers Michigan where a high school student has designed a stained glass window for her church and was picking out the glass with her art teacher on Saturday. Later a group of women were coming together to help her make it. Now how exciting is that! God has blessed this high schooler with a gift and the church has found a way to embrace the gift and the person. 
  • Another church I know has young people on their worship committee.  

The following video comes from a larger product and website that you might want to check in with from time to time as it is just gaining steam. anima: the Forum for Worship and the Arts. This project is particularly concerned with including our youth and young adults in worship leadership. There are already some great training videos that could be used as discussion fodder at worship committee meetings or planning groups regardless of the ages of those present.

anima: the forum for worship & the arts

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We have for some years made a point of including children and teens in our worship teams, whether as instrumentalists or singers, or in technical roles (sound, projection, etc). For younger children (below teenage years) we have no requirement of musical ability or aptitude. Any children who want to participate can. This means that sometimes we turn their microphones off or way down - they are aware we do this, and it gives them freedom and safety to express themselves in worship without worrying about what they sound like. As they get a little older, we try to give a level of training (though I wish we were equipped to do more), and for those with emerging stronger voices, we may give some brief or longer solo opportunities - worship is not necessarily served by having the "best" voice.

I try as worship leader to talk about what we're singing. Sometimes the words may not make sense to a younger singer, and so we'll talk briefly about it to help them. At other times it is the younger singers who are rekindling the excitement of worship in older singers and instrumentalists by their dancing, or facial expressions (though they can look pretty glum at times too!). I also try to encourage the adults to learn from the kids in this physical expression.

For instrumentalists, we again don't set high standards, other than ensuring that some level of contribution can be made so that the participant can gain an understanding of worship while growing their technical skills - so they need to have reached an intermediate level of ability. We've had drummers (especially), guitarists, and other "solo" instruments (flute, violin, etc) although have found that the solo instruments are difficult unless we're able to write specific parts for them, which is quite time-consuming and not every leader has the musical ability to  do it.

Lastly, most of our readings, prayers, and other liturgical elements are led by Praise Team members, and so we have opportunities to engage kids of all ages in these. We'll offer coaching on reading, as well as help with understanding of what is being read.

In summary, our kids are active and very valuable members of our worship teams and we're tremendously blessed by them, and they also by their participation in worship. I'm convinced that this will bear fruit as they grow into adulthood.