What I’ve Learned From Teaching Worship To Youth

Published on September 19, 2016 by Andrew Noe  

1. Teenagers in my world see worship as primarily two things: music and a sermon.

2. For teenagers, there is often a disconnect between a worship service and worship as giving your life in service to something greater. I have seen other churches implement Service Worship (instead of worship service), where their church does service on a Sunday each month. It’s a beautiful connection to worship, and relates well to how Jesus did his ministry.

3. Teenagers see worship as individualistic, and they miss the beauty of communal worship unless their church has regular moments where the congregation speaks as one (responsive readings, etc.).

4. Many teenagers are concerned about leading worship, and they feel unworthy or too guilty to lead the congregation or their peers in worship.

5. There is not a lot of great worship curriculum for teaching youth about why and how we worship. As a result, teenagers are not being taught about worship beyond their experience of worship. Even I rarely talked with youth about the space we worshiped in or the decorations we used.

6. Sometimes other ministers on staff are a hindrance to allowing teenagers the freedom to plan and lead worship. On the other hand, teenagers in congregations that do a “Youth Sunday” often say it seems like a spectacle and an event or performance.

7. I once did a “Songs and Stories” series where I taught youth about hymns and the stories behind them. This seemed to really connect with these teenagers, and they wanted to sing those hymns on Sundays.

8. Youth will follow adults. If adults are excited to lead in worship, youth will also be excited to worship and to lead in worship. If adults understand worship and are passionate about it, then youth will understand worship and be passionate about it.