When I look back on my teenage years and remember my youth group days at church, I have some very fond memories. Of course, I try not to remember the bad days, embarrassing moments and bad acne (let’s be real, it still happens…). But, overall, when I think about student ministry for me 15 years ago, I remember the trips, the adults who poured into me and our Wednesday night youth service.
I still remember in 6th grade getting the opportunity to run slides on the newest edition of Microsoft PowerPoint on a laptop computer. We used a ‘high-tech’ projector with the new S-Video cable connection (other youth groups were still using overhead projectors and printing off lyrics on transparencies!). I felt so empowered to be able to run the slides for my youth group.
As I got older, and my voice finally got through puberty, I went out on a limb to help lead the music and worship in our youth group. We sang with live album CD’s (remember those?) when we didn’t have anybody to play a guitar and djembe. I realized quickly that I didn’t need to be singing at that point in my life.
My 11th grade year, I went out on a limb and tried to learn guitar. Our youth group had to have a live band for music and worship because that’s what made it more spiritual… or so I thought! I learned a couple chords and two songs: Sing Like The Saved and You Never Let Go. Classic. My best friend played drums and we started a band (want a glimpse? LOL). Little did we know that we would spark interest in other students who played instruments and we began to grow.
Leading in my youth group helped me understand the importance of teenagers leading teenagers. It also helped me understand why we really need adults to help teens grow and teach students how to lead others in music and worship. Whether it was coming up with opening games to play, songs to sing or ways to create a youth service that connected with my peers, those were formative years as a teenage worship leader for me.
15 years later, that is why I am so passionate about planning and leading youth ministry worship services and multigenerational worship. I would not be where I am today if I wasn’t passionate about youth ministry just as much as I am passionate about music and worship.
Now, as an adult, I lead in ‘big church’ on Sundays and help lead our youth group on Wednesday nights. But the importance of creating a youth ministry worship service pointing students to Jesus hasn’t changed!
So how can we bridge the gap? How do we get the youth and adults to partner together? Those are some of the things I will be teaching on at LifeWay’s ETCH Conference next weekend. Let me know if you’re coming!
Can’t make it to Nashville? I’ll write a follow up post about my session, “Method Behind the Madness: Planning and Leading Youth Ministry Worship Services.”
I hope to see you next week at ETCH!