Podcast: Listen Here
In this episode, we’re going to talk about a skill that is sometimes very hard, sometimes very easy. That’s how to lead worship in your youth group.
I started leading worship while in youth group and led my peers.
And I’ve also returned to it as an adult as the youth group in my church needed a band leader.
So I’ll go over tips to lead worship in youth no matter what age you are.
Have conversations with the youth pastor about what he/she wants
What is he or she envisioning for youth worship? You want to be on the same page. Is the youth pastor wanting a full band or just a single voice and guitar? Does she want the youth to be in the band, or should it be adult-led?
Start out with realistic expectations. Don’t promise a band full of proficient youth musicians in 3 months when that could take quite some time to build.
Set goals and get the youth pastor’s “perfect scenario” for youth worship and work toward that.
Ask members of the youth group what worship music and songs they are listening to
This is where you want to start.
You might think you know what’s relevant but you might be completely off.
You can do this by just having conversations with the students or passing around a clipboard in youth group. You could even have people DM you on Instagram. Use any way they are already communicating.
But don’t just do the suggested songs. Study the styles of those songs. Get a feel for what the students will respond to. If you’re a youth yourself, then you probably already have a good idea of what your peers like. You have a huge head start over an older youth worship leader.
The youth will see through any façade or attempt to be cool.
If you’re uncool, be fully uncool but be yourself.
The students will respect you more for not changing who you are just so you can lead worship for them.
Get to know the youth
The youth will respond better if you have a relationship outside of you just showing up each week to do worship.
Hang out before and after the meeting. Play the games and engage in conversation. Find out what is important in their lives. Pray for them on your own time.
Invite youth to be on the band
There’s no better way to be relevant than to recruit youth to help with worship.
Go back and check Episode 6. That’s where I talk about how youth group is a great place for new worship leaders to start.
Inviting students to help with worship gives them the opportunity to learn to lead worship.
Ideally, you eventually phase out of leading if you’re an older worship leader helping out.
The goal is that the youth group worship team is completely self-led. That will help them improve and become independent in their worship leading.
If you want to learn everything you need to know about starting to lead worship, check out my book, “How to Lead Worship in 14 Days.” It will guide you through the process of working up to your first worship session even if you’ve never led worship before. And the best part is that it’s going to take you 14 days to do it.
Or, if you lead a worship ministry and you’re looking for a how-to guide to hand every new worship leader, this book is for you.
Don’t be afraid to lead with just guitar or keys
You may not have anyone to help you lead worship for your youth group.
Ideally, you might think you need an electric guitarist, DJ to do turntables, or someone to do dance beats on the keyboard.
While all that’s very hip and cool, it’s also very hard to pull off without looking like a complete fake.
Keep in mind that there are plenty of popular songs that are just a guy or girl singing with acoustic guitar or piano in the background.
That really never becomes irrelevant.
It’s okay to have stripped down worship. As you build the team, incorporate other elements. But don’t wait to start leading worship in youth group until you have a full band.
Recruit worship Influencers
People will follow if there are strong leaders among them. Use this to your advantage. Find a group of students to sit among the greater group to demonstrate worship.
Peer pressure can be good or bad. If youth see their peers worshiping around them, they are more likely to feel like it’s okay to do it too.
If 2-3 youth are out there worshiping and singing loud and clapping, many more will join in.
The first few months two things could happen.
- The youth group could be really engaged and really start to worship and that’s great
- Or they could just stare at you for months on end
Either one is fine. But either way, be consistent.
Don’t be afraid to get up week after week and look at blank stares.
If you’ve followed all the things I mentioned, eventually you will get the engagement and teach the youth how to worship.
Whether you’re a youth yourself or an adult helping start a worship ministry in your church’s youth group, you can succeed.
- Find out what kind of music the youth like
- Be yourself
- Get to know the youth
- Invite youth to join the band
- Don’t be afraid to lead with just one instrument
- Recruit worship influencers
- Be Consistent
Learn To Lead Worship Better
Are you looking for a resource that will help you get started leading worship or improving your skills?
Check out the book “Learn To Lead Worship In 14 Days.” It’s a step-by-step, day-by-day handbook that can launch your worship leading journey in as little as two weeks.
Featured image by Mark Cruz on Unsplash