Seven Ways To Watch For New Worship Leaders

At times, even in my 40’s I feel like a peer with young worship leaders. Then something will snap me back to reality – he or she was born after I purchased my guitar, she doesn’t doesn’t remember Clinton being president, or he has a blank look when I mention a “cassette”.

Your young twenty-something worship leader was just a high school student two or three years back!

I’ve heard it said that if you have a strong student ministry program, you’re growing someone else’s church.  In some ways, the same can be true of worship ministry. However, more than maybe any other area of ministry in the local church, young adults seem to be attracted to serving in worship ministries.

Of course we also find other adults who will be gifted to join the worship team. Some of them will blossom into leaders before our very eyes. Others come as a blessing, discovered and equipped by another church..

So, if in just two or three years, some of the high school students in your midst are going to begin serving as adults in worship ministry, begin to watch for and equip them now!

How do we watch for new worship leaders?

Here are some thoughts:

Model Worship

Worship leaders must model a life of worship. Pray for the next generation in your church. Pray for the roles that need to be filled in worship ministry. Live a faithful life of a disciple off stage. Be deeply thankful to God on stage. Worship with your all your heart, mind, soul and strength and do your best to invite others in worship through great leadership.

Get Students In Worship Gatherings

High school students need to experience corporate worship. They need to know how the faithful, older generation worships, and how it all works together. They need to see how they fit into the body of Christ. And for those who feel led to serve in worship ministry, they need to see how their gifts can be utilized and grown.

Challenge Current Musicians And Team Members

Challenge your current team members with new music, new ideas, new ways of worship flow. Help the students in your ministry go to new heights by listening to music, watching videos and modeling how others do it effectively. Challenge your team to get good at the basics – transitions, flow, stage presence. Encourage people with gifts to use them – media creation, songwriting, art, solos, etc.

Create Safe Spaces For Young Musicians To Explore Skills

Every modern worship leader will tell you:  there’s always something that can be tweaked from Sunday’s service. We all make mistakes, even if no one else noticed. Sometimes, it’s in our weakness God’s spirit moves the most! When we invite students to serve, we want to help them prepare to their best ability, then sit back and give them space to try it out. They can’t be afraid of failure. Opportunities teach them how to learn, prepare and be ready. As one guy said, “if people are going to fail, they need to fail fast and often at the beginning.” This will either help them change direction altogether or become better.

Connect with Musical Friends

If you have a student who plays music, you will usually find friends around them who also play. Birds of a feather flock together and that’s true of musicians. Encourage your students to bring their musical friends for a jam session, rehearsal or event. And if you can work them into some music for a worship service, do so. There are typically two policies on worship team members. One school of thought is to raise the bar and commitment and make sure potential band members jump through hoops to join.  The other way is through serving in music and worship a person far from Christ can begin to trust Jesus and be formed as a disciple. In some ways, it’s an evangelism tool. I’ve seen both styles work well. I’ve heard of students who played guitar for a church – in their minds as a gig – who wound up following Christ and changing their entire life direction. I like a combination of the two. In a statement I once heard Jason Hatley say, “you don’t have to be committed to join the band, but you have to be committed to stay for the long haul.” Anyone can join the group, but you must be willing to take a step and grow in commitment to God, the church and others to keep serving.

Create Bite-sized Opportunities

Instead of thinking you need to invite a student to worship lead for an entire service, just have them come up and sing one song with the team. Give a student drummer a chance to play percussion along with the band. Set up opportunities for students to come to a rehearsal to experience it. There’s nothing wrong with a student coming up to sing just one song during worship. They will grow into it.  A few weeks back, we had a student play flute for a couple songs during Sunday morning worship. Bite size pieces help them really prepare with a singular focus.

Give Students Roles In Worship Leadership

Great worship leadership begins with a heart for service. Plug students in all you can with servant roles – outside of being on the stage playing and singing. Invite them to help in tech, hospitality, set up/tear down, etc. There numerous ways for students to be in the loop, serving and getting their feet wet.Open up those roles and invite students in! In our church, we have three worship bands – the worship band (leading on Sundays, mostly comprised of adults), the sr. high band, comprised of 9th-12th graders who lead in student ministry on Wednesday evenings and the jr. high band, which rehearses and learns midweek, but only leads once or twice a semester. Along with each of these, there are tech teams who serve. We’ve had students participate in dramas, art, dance and sign language. Find a way for students to be involved and from there you can create a pool of young adults from whom you can utilize for worship ministry leadership.


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OTHER POSTS…..

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Worship Leader Confidence: How Do We Get It?

10 Point Checklist for Worship Leaders (free)

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