17 Small Group Leaders to Follow in 2017!

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Why only 17? Lets make that 22 Small Group Leaders to follow in 2017! Get equipped & inspired by following these dynamic Small Group Leaders! While there are many more amazing leaders I could add to this list, my criteria was…

#1 Great Small Group Leaders that I know of &/or have followed (Sorry if I’ve never heard of you!).

#2 Small Group Leaders that could be followed by others on Social Media somewhere.

#3 Small Group Leaders who had either written a book on the subject &/or had an active blog where they write on the subject of small groups & leadership!

(In Alphabetical Order)

1 Allen White – Small Group Coach & Consultant at AllenWhite.org & Author of “Exponential Groups: Unleashing Your Church’s Potential.”

2 Amy Jackson – Managing Editor of SmallGroups.com, Leadership & Small Group Consultant & Founder of AmyKJackson.com

3 Andrew Mason – Small Groups Pastor at Real Life Church in Sacramento, CA. Founder of SmallGroupChurches.com & Blogger for the Small Group Network.

4 Ben Reed – Small Groups Pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. Author of “Starting Small: The Ultimate Small Group Blueprint,” Communications Coach for the Small Group Network & Founder of BenReed.net

Dr. Bill Donahue – Speaker & Professor at TIU in Deerfield, IL. Small Groups & Leadership Consultant at DrBillDonahue.com & Author of “The Irresistible Community: An Invitation to Life Together.”

6 Bill Willits –  Executive Director of Ministry Environments for North Point Ministries in Atlanta, GA. Small Group Consultant & Co-author of “Creating Community” with Andy Stanley.

Carolyn Taketa – Executive Director of Small Groups at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, CA & Host of the Small Group Network’s “Group Talk Podcast.”

Chris Surrat – Ministry Consultant, Small Group Specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, TN & Author of “Small Groups For The Rest Of Us.”

Daniel Thomas – Pastor of Adult Ministries at Highlands Fellowship in Abingdon, Virginia. Regional Leader of the Small Group Network & Founder of SecondChair.co

10 Eric Falcinella – Pastor of Network Development at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. Director of the Small Group Network & Host of  the Leadership Obsession Podcast

11 Jim Egli – Leadership Pastor at the Vineyard Church in Urbana, IL. Small Group Consultant, Founder of JimEgli.com & Author of Small Groups Big Impact.

12 Joel Comiskey  – Cell church coach & Consultant. Founder of JoelComiskeyGroup.com & Author of “2000 Years of Small Groups: A History of Cell Ministry in the Church” among others.

13 Laura CopelandSmall Group Pastor & Coach at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA & Blogger at LauraMCopeland.com

14 Mark Howell –  Pastor of Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. Founder of SmallGroupResources.net & Blogger at MarkHowellLive.com

15 Matt Graybill – Small Groups Pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA & Small Group & leadership Coach.

16 Michael C Mack – Small Group Coach, Founder & Director of SmallGroupLeadership.com & Author of the “World’s Greatest Small Group: 7 Powerful Traits of a Life-Changing Leader” among others.

17 Jon Noto – Community Life Pastor at Willow Creek Community Church’s North Shore Campus, Blogger at SmallGroupNetwork.com & Founder of TheUnwavering.com

18 Randall Neighbour – President of Touch Outreach Ministries and Founder of RandallNeighbour.com

19 Roger Carr – Small Group Coach & Founder of SmallGroupInternational.com

20 Ron Wilbur – Former Pastor of Small Group Health at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. International Connection Director for the Small Group & Blogger for the Small Group Network

21 Scott Boren – Small Group Consultant, Founder of “The Relational Mission” & Author of “Leading Small Groups in the Way of Jesus” among others.

22 Steve Gladen – Global Pastor of Small Groups at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. Author of “Small Groups with Purpose” among others & Founder of the Small Group Network & SmallGroups.net

3 Keys to Engage Teens in Worship

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#1 Know Your Audience
In any worship setting, knowing the people who you are trying to take with you into God’s presence is so important! Now, I’m not saying you have to be personally acquainted with each student at your gathering, but rather that you should have a general idea about the type of group you’re leading. Every group of youth will have a different flavor, a unique style, and its own set of challenges that you’ll need to break through. For example, the teens I currently lead in Fairbanks, Alaska are a different breed than those I previously led in Sacramento, California! All groups of youth are unique. When you look at it this way, your eyes will be opened to how the Lord would have you lead the specific, unique group of teens He has called you to.

With this in mind, pay attention to the little things – for example, the way your teens respond to certain songs. Take notice of the styles they prefer. Don’t be afraid to change things up! And don’t take it personally if you try something new and don’t get the reaction you were looking for. Of course we’d hope for our teens to press through and worship no matter what, but let’s be realistic. Sometimes teenagers need a little bit of extra help to engage during worship. So pay attention to the way your teens respond (or don’t respond). Learn from them and let it grow you as a leader!

#2 Don’t Be Afraid to Go Deep
Your teens want to go deep, trust me. As the Psalmist so eloquently states in Psalm 42:1 “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.” There is an innate desire and longing in every human being to know and experience God’s love and power. You are actually depriving your teens if you only “skim the surface” and never lead them to the depths of God’s presence that they long to go to.

Of course, you aren’t capable of leading someone to a place you haven’t first been yourself. As a worship leader, don’t deprive your own spirit. Deliberately spend time in the presence of God daily. Allow Him to take you to deeper depths than you’ve ever been. As you do so, you’ll see how this directly affects your worship leading. There have been many instances in my life that I can specifically pin-point when God did a special work in my life, and immediately following there was a dynamic shift in the worship culture of our youth group. I’m telling you, whatever is in you will leak. It affects your worship team, and it affects your teens. Go deep. Take them with you.

#3 Invest in Your Worship Team
I’ve been on several different worship teams, beginning in my junior high years. Some experiences have been amazing, while others were less than impressive. What made the difference didn’t so much have to do with the songs we were playing, the skill level of the musicians, or anything like that. It had everything to do with the community of people I led worship with. I’ve played with several teams that were inwardly focused, not inclusive of others, and very much cliques. This stunts growth in a team and keeps others from reaching their full potential in using their God-given gifts to glorify Him. You must keep the doors open, and your eyes open, so that others are included and your team grows! When a team is inwardly focused, the atmosphere can be dull, versus a team that is community-oriented and focused on leading others into the presence of God with them. The latter will cultivate a free and inviting atmosphere where others desire to participate in worship.
Also, pour into your team as much as possible. Invest in them. Duplicate yourself so that the next generation can carry the torch when it’s their turn. Equip them spiritually and practically. Set them up for success. See them as your very own disciples that God has placed under your leadership for a specific time and purpose! When they’re well-equipped and they begin to take ownership, it definitely encourages the youth in your service to press in even more.

Don’t forget – you are making more of an impact than you know! Let the Holy Spirit lead and guide you as you continue your journey of leading the next generation in worship!

IMG_2872Kayla Kitay is an Intern at Fairbanks First Assembly & oversees the worship ministry of Vertical NextGen . You can Follow Kayla on Instagram.

Spring: 10 New Worship Albums for 2016

Keep 2016 going strong with these new worship albums & songs!

BETHEL“Have It All” by Bethel Music

Featuring 13 worship leaders from the Bethel Music team & 14 new songs focused on God’s nature, His promises & His presence in our lives, this album captures the refreshing essence of live worship and includes spontaneous moments as those gathered respond in to God’s presence.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/have-it-all-live/id1072210233

“Edge Of Heaven” by River Valley WorshipCc5PObxUcAAX7JC

“We’re writing songs that hopefully capture just piece of the majesty, the greatness, of the God that we serve, sing to and live for.” – Ryan Williams. Edge of Heaven, was recorded live at the River Valley campus.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/edge-of-heaven/id1086336780

takeheart“Take Heart” by Covenant Worship

“Take Heart,” the newest record from Covenant Worship – the music ministry of the Dallas area based Covenant Church, is distinctively more upbeat with its bouncy synths and punchy melodies than previous albums. The project is inspired by Jesus’ words in John 16:33 “Take heart, I have overcome the world.”

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/take-heart-live/id1083081533

“Youth Revival” by Hillsong Young & FreeYouth-Revival_portada

Infused with energetic loops & dance beats, Hillsong Young & Free, one of the new creations of the worship ministry that has grown from Hillsong Church in Australia, is a group with a specific goal in mind: come together to make worship music for the next generation.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/youth-revival-live/id1081955392

EW-HAIH_Cover“Here As In Heaven” by Elevation Worship

This new live album “Here As In Heaven,” recorded at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, declares that the Kingdom of God is here among us & inspires listeners to worship with a new sense of expectation and passion, to let our lives be the evidence of His presence on earth.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/here-as-in-heaven/id1059055043

“Eclipsed” by Fellowship CreativePhoto_ART

This album tells the story of what God has done & is doing in the lives of Fellowship Church. Walking the line between electronically driven pop and guitar-driven rock worship, “Eclipsed” takes the best of both worlds for a modern worship album that pushes the movement forward.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/eclipsed/id1065992553

Audrey Assad-Inheritance Cover

“Inheritance” by Audrey Assad

Audrey Assad’s newest album reflects a unique soundscape featuring lush textures & wide, expansive rhythms that allow her beautiful voice to glide effortlessly over a diverse landscape of prayerful contemplation.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/inheritance/id1073482443

“Let It Echo” by Jesus Culture91WozJlKrRL._SY355_

With an undercurrent of electronic beats, rhythms, and a brisk tempos, “Let It Echo” is different from their preceding records, in the sense that it wasn’t recorded at their large concert settings, but instead, the individual songs were recorded during worship services across various Sundays.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/let-it-echo-live/id1067169182

VM-digital-cover-final.190Anchour Studio Sessions” by Vineyard Music

Musicians and worship leaders from all over the Northeast U.S. also collaborated on this effort which will inspire churches and worshippers alike to discover new artistic expression and imagination within the songs we sing.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/anchour-studio-sessions/id1063726952

“Hymns II: Shine On Us” by Michael W. SmithMWS_HymnsII_digi_cover

Michael W. Smith has partnered once again with Cracker Barrel Old Country Store for the exclusive “Hymns II – Shine On Us.” This album features 16 of the top classics.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/hymns-ii-shine-on-us/id1073750486