I was honored to teach an interactive session at the NCNSM Student Ministries “Leadership Congress” a few weeks ago titled “Zero to Sixty: how to build dynamic youth worship teams from nothing into something BIG!” Below were my notes…
“Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.” Psalm 33:1-3
From this scripture & many others, we see that God created music to be used for His glory – worship! Defeated at the cross, Satan now bitterly corrupts music to be used for his glory – idolatry. You don’t even have to read all the stats to see the negative influence that aggressive music which celebrates premarital sex, substance abuse & aggression has on this generation. So…
WHY BUILD A YOUTH WORSHIP TEAM?
- It brings relevance to your ministry! Teenagers LUV music, so make music part of your gatherings & use it to introduce them to their Creator!
- It brings numerical growth! When students are using their God-given gifts on a worship team, it now becomes “Their youth ministry,” & they will in turn invite their friends to come & watch them!
- It brings spiritual growth! A worship team is essentially a small group where students grow together in relationship & in their faith by learning to worship, pray & read the Bible!
- It brings the presence of God! Music + Hunger for God = His presence! One encounter with God in his manifest presence can change a student’s life forever!
- It brings glory to God! A bunch of teens playing music as they worship makes God smile!
1 Pray (Matt 9:37-39)
- Everything starts with prayer! As a leader, start praying for God to send you worship leaders & musicians!
- Get your students & leaders involved in praying together with you for God to send you the workers for the harvest!
2 Cast Vision (Proverbs 29:18)
- Cast the vision to your students & leaders of what having a dynamic worship team could be like by playing worship MP3s or DVDs during your youth gatherings!
- Bring in guest worship leaders/ teams to lead worship!
- Cast the vision of having a worship team to students in your ministry with music potential (This is exactly how I got involved in Middle School)!
- Cast the vision to your church worship leader & ask what they can do to help you!
- Cast vision to adults on your church worship team or adults in your Church with music potential!
- Cast vision to people in your church to donate or buy equipment!
- Cast vision to college students or young adults in local Christian colleges who may be able to come & play or lead worship!
3 Start With What You Have (John 6:9-14)
If you have nothing…
- Something is better than nothing! Make room for God to move by setting aside time for musical worship in your gatherings by worshipping along with DVDs or MP3s
- Ask students & leaders who have hearts of worship to model worship on stage without a microphone.
- Do talent shows during your gatherings where students can sing or play instruments which will help you identify talent.
If you have a vocalist & at least one main instrument….
- Have them sing & play along with the DVD or MP3 by finding the proper key & sheet music
- Start simple by having them lead one or two altar/ response songs at the end of the teaching.
- Create a system to identify & recruit new potential team members.
4 Equip Them (Ephesians 4:12)
- Create a commitment form with expectations of what Godly leadership is & lovingly hold your team accountable!
- Equip them with resources (DVDs, MP3s, books) that will inspire them to grow in their faith & craft!
- Give your worship leaders a game-plan of what you or the youth pastor’s expectations are for the set list & gatherings.
- Pastor your worship team & bring accountability by meeting regularly to pray & grow spiritually!
- Take your team to other worship gatherings at conferences or ministries where they can be inspired & refreshed!
- Bring in guest worship leaders/ teams to train your worship team & lead worship with them!
5 Release Them (Mark 6:7)
- With teenagers, good is good enough! It doesn’t have to be perfect! Let em go for it!
- Look for potential in team members who may be hiding in the shadows & push them to step up to the next level (For example, our keyboard player was a shy girl who we didn’t even know could sing. But one day we heard her beautiful voice & asked her to start singing harmonies – now she is our main worship leader)!
- Release your worship leaders to choose worship lists, schedule teams & lead rehearsals! This allows them to grow in their leadership & gives you more time!
- When your teams grows big enough, multiply them into different teams that rotate & play on different weeks! This will get many more students involved! (We now have two different teams leading every other week)!