As adults coming off the road from a full time professional secular music career, my wife and I found ourselves attending a church where we met a particularly talented worship leader. He had the gift of encouragement, and would always lift up and encourage any musician that he came across – which we were two of them. He had such a jolly spirit emanating from the platform that we had to approach him after church one night and offer our services to him as musicians and singers. Our long friendship began, and still exists to this day.
How can you encourage others to join your youth worship team and be inspired?
If you’re frustrated as a youth worship leader due to lack of musicians (which most youth worship leaders are), keep in mind that there usually is no shortage of interest from students wanting to be on the worship team. You just need to tap in to their excitement and make a way for them to play on your youth worship team, even if it’s for just one song in the worship set. If you plan out your worship sets three or four weeks ahead, it gives you plenty of time to take two or three students under your wing and give them a little musical coaching, with the goal of them playing live in an up and coming worship service. The excitement and buzz it creates for the rest of the students in your ministry to see someone new on the platform leading worship with the band creates even more interest, and soon you’ll have a bunch of new recruits to your worship team!
There have been so many instances where a student comes to us that has had prior music lessons, but they wanted desperately to change teachers because they felt stifled with their current lesson strategy. We’ve had countless parents tell us that their kids had been taking music lessons for one or two years, but they couldn’t even play a song yet. They felt bogged down with all the technicalities and music theory, when all they wanted to do was just be in a band and play actual songs! Now, we all know that music theory and technique play an essential part in a student’s musical training to help them become well-rounded great musicians, but we’ve found that in order to inspire them and ignite their passion for music, we need to set reasonable goals for them, getting them to learn just one song as quickly as possible, while also providing outlets to play music in a live situation with other students.
You too can play a huge role in your church’s growth and in your youth worship services. I’d like to recommend thinking outside of the box the next few Sundays. Maybe you currently have a handful of students that serve in your youth ministry with you. They might be faithful greeters, production assistants, or team leaders. Try approaching them and ask if they want to play on the worship team next month. They might look at you like you’re crazy and say, “What are you talking about?” But let them know you would like to come alongside them and assign them a simple musical part they could play, even if it’s just the chorus of one song. Some examples of easy parts you could give them would be: whole note piano chords on just the choruses of one song. You could have someone play 8th or 16th notes on an egg shaker or tambourine, or use a synth keyboard with a tambourine or shaker percussion sound. It will add so much to your front of house mix! You could also ask if they would be willing to sing in unison on just the choruses. You might have to keep their mic low in the mix until they can acquire good pitch, but it’s a starting point. We have seen firsthand that once these students get in a live worship situation with you, even if it’s just for one song, or just a bridge or chorus of one song, it will definitely light a fire in them. By keeping it simple, you can start to build your own youth worship army in your church right now!
May you be blessed as you pour into the next generation of worship leaders!