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Develop a Student Led Worship Team – Part 1: Ask This Question First

Jun 23, 2021 | Administration, Blog, Planning, Student Ministry, Student Ministry Team, Worship, Youth Ministry, Youth Ministry Team

“How Do You Start a Youth Worship Team?”

It is a question that comes up often in my conversations with other youth leaders, or posted on social media. Maybe I notice it more often because leading worship and working with youth in worship is one of my passions. Most often the person asking is looking for answers of the nuts and bolts variety. What if I do not have a drummer? How do I find musicians? What are the best songs to play? How often should my youth band lead? When should we record a CD?

These are all great questions to ask, however there are two questions I feel need to be answered first. before you tune a guitar or print a piece of music The first question is why do you want to have a youth band? The second question is harder. What is your endgame?

So Why Do You Want a Youth Band?

Here are some of the top reasons that youth groups start youth worship teams.

– You have a worship time as part of your program.
– You have some students who have a passion for worship.
– You may have identified some students with instrumental and vocal talent.
– You are interested in giving youth the opportunity to lead on their own.

Here are some other reasons…

– The other churches in town have a youth band, so we should too.
– You always wanted to be a star worship leader, so here’s your chance.
– You are tired of the tradtional songs so you want to start a youth band to play “good” worship music.

The Question to Ask First

Why are you starting a youth worship team.

Whether your reason would fit in the first list, second list or both, it is important to ask this question. The answer will shape the future and the success of your worship team, because everyone would know why they are there and have a common goal. Knowing why you have a worship team will help not only with the worship team, but with the church, leadership. When you go to ask for more money to purchase new equipment for your team your leaders will want to know what you will be doing with it.

Do you want to create something that is quickly put together? Do not discount this idea. There are very valid reasons you would want to put something together quickly. Maybe you have a one time event coming up where a youth band would be needed. Maybe it’s a youth led worship service that happens occasionally. There are many instances where you need a short term, quickly assembled youth worship team.

The other option is long term. Do you want to build something that lasts over the period of many years? Do you want a team that will replenish itself with younger members as your older ones graduate?

Over the next several posts I will be addressing these issues. We’ll talk about the whys and the ways to create a youth worship team. We’ll talk about some philosophies and strategies and then get down to nuts and bolts of finding, equipping and training your youth worship team. Them we’ll dive into how we can make it sustainable, and best of all have it completely youth led.

How a Youth Band is Like a Baseball Team

I’m a sports fan. I like football. I love to go to our local high school games on Friday nights and get up to watch College Game Day and football on Saturdays. I’m proud to be from Houston and love watching the Texans play on Sunday. I like football. However I love baseball.

One of the things that fascinates me about Major Leage baseball is the strategy not only on the field, but in building the team. The care given to develop a player out of college or high school and move them up in the farm system to the major leagues.

I mentioned there were two ways to build a worship team. There are two ways to build a baseball team as well. The first requires a little time but lots of money. Basically you go out on the free agent market, and buy one or two year contracts for the players you need. You can get a lot of stars, and possibly a good team that will play together for a year. Once the year is over and the contracts are up, you often have to pay a lot more or watch your team designate and move away.

There is another way to build a team. From the ground up. If you are familiar at all with baseball you know that there are different levels. When a player is drafted they are put into the farm system. It takes years for players to work on their skills, and play on different teams as they grow and mature as baseball players. If you are building a team you put your money and time into stocking up your farm system, your players that will be your team of the future, and you give time for that team to mature and reach the big leagues. The benefit is that you develop a pipeline of players who are constantly moving up and supporting the MLB team. When a player retires, or gets hurt, there is always another player who has learned the skills, and knows how to play and take their place. That’s enough of baseball.

What does this have to do with building a youth worship team?
We talked about how you can build a team quickly, for a specific need or event. However, if we want a sustainable youth ministry worship team, we need to put the pieces in place, invest in our students, train them, and then be patient as they mature.

Your turn:

Why do you want to start a youth worship team?

What is a topic about youth worship teams you hope we cover in this series?

In our next post we are going to look at one way to begin the process of building your worship team.

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