There are so many benefits to starting and sustaining a student ministry worship team!
Students who love Jesus need to learn to express it through song, and if they have gifts (or can grow in gifts), can help lead others. The church needs students to learn and grow in heart and craft for the current worship team and for the future worship ministry of your church.
In a recent podcast episode, we talk with Lonnie Trembly about his success with student worship teams.
WHERE TO BEGIN?
Once you get it started, it takes on a life of it’s own. The hardest part truly is getting started. Relationship has a lot to do with it. You want to help students grow. You want to be encouraging and equipping. You want to be committed to the long haul and stay with these students for as many seasons as possible.
Grow in your conviction and resolve to have a student worship band. Set up the vision and determine to get things started, no matter how small. Second, go talk with the worship leaders and/or worship team members. Invite them to help you get things started. See who they may know and how they can help to get things fired up. The worship leader will want to join you in this process, at least to begin, because these are seeds that will help in future ministry for the church as a whole.
HOW TO SUSTAIN IT?
Sustaining your student worship ministry team comes through providing resources and structure, and building tradition and culture. To begin with, be ready to provide resources. You don’t need to go all out right away, but figure out a way to get a drum set, a bass amp, keyboard and a guitar in your possession. If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll also need to acquire some sound gear and potentially lyric presentation gear. This will take some time, but as you build your team, these components will help make it easier and will open up other spots for students to serve. There’s a good chance musician students will have their own stuff, but moving the student ministry toward some equipment will help make it easier.
As far as a culture is concerned, younger students will begin to see it, experience it, and want to be a part of it. Musicians typically have friends who are musicians and will naturally invite others to participate. Another way to sustain the worship ministry is to grow in relationship with the students. Encourage them, coach them and set expectations.
HOW TO SET EXPECTATIONS?
Help raise the expectations by continually sharing the vision. If you have the privilege of starting from scratch, set the bar high on commitment and heart. Train and equip students to let you know whether or not they will be there in advance. Have them write out their faith stories to share with you before they begin leading. But as far as music goes, encourage, train, teach and equip. Have them listen to music and links you share. But don’t let the perfect get in the way of good. As you are starting with the next generation, get it to be decent musically, but enthusiastic. It will grow from there.
SAMPLE OF THE “WORSHIP MOB” LONNIE MENTIONS ON THE PODCAST:
Student Ministry at First Baptist Church, Columbia, IL
DOES THE LEADER NEED TO BE MUSICAL?
Some of the best student bands come about when the leader isn’t musical. I think that, due to expectation, if they can’t pull it off, there’s no one to fall back on. However, if you have musical ability, use your gifts and help equip students. If not, feel free to pull in other adults who do have some ability to rally kids, give guitar lessons (or other musical instruments). If all else fails, ask each student individually if they play an instrument or would like to. Hire someone to come give some lessons for a while to get things started. Be ok letting students make mistakes as they are learning to serve through music. It’s like building the plane as you’re flying.
WHAT IF WE’RE NOT A LARGE CHURCH OR HAVE LARGER STUDENT MINISTRIES?
No matter the size, involving students in worship is a win! It connect students and draws them in. Even if there are ten students in a circle with one or two musicians leading with no production, it can be done. You can equip leaders and you can help kids connect with Jesus.
A few thoughts from Lonnie on the Podcast:
- Everybody on the team sings!
- Every student takes opportunities to share their testimony.
- Don’t be afraid of mistakes – allow students to try it out!
- Help students become part of the church, not part of a youth club.
- Don’t let disappointment get in the way!
Keep worshiping the Lord with songs, stories, hymns, scriptures, testimonies. Even if takes a while to get things going, it’s worth it!