I am old enough to remember (the picture is my son) the days when most churches of any size had a large children and student choirs. For many of these the children's choirs have continued but the student choirs have faded away. Somewhere we lost the connection and continuation between the elementary age and middle school and high school age choirs. Culture including the new busyness of our children's lives have much to do with this disconnection and demise of the student choirs. When we lost the student choir we also lost an important training tool for future adult leaders. So how do we keep interested an talented students involved in the worship ministries in our churches.
We, ClearView, have made a decision to invest in our students as musicians and worship leaders by creating student worship teams. Alexis Cruz on our team, not only leads our 'more traditional' service but also mentors youth to be worship leaders. Alexis has invited and invested in the lives of both middle and high school student musicians. We now have two middle school rhythm section bands and singers and two high school groups also. These ministry teams lead our weekly middle school and high school worship services on a rotating basis. And after just two years some we are inviting some of our high school students to participate in our weekend services. When we use the high school students we:
- make sure they have the skills to mix with the adult players and singers
- use them with adults so that the adults can help train and mentor
- insist that the students are held to the same accountability standards as the adults
- give them parts that they can succeed on
- encourage their involvement
- challenge them to make progress in their skills
- praise their accomplishments
- correct their mistakes with a loving teaching spirit
In past decades a church our size might have a student choir with a membership of 50, today the number of students in our student worship teams, band and vocalists, exceeds that number. It is our responsibility to train up youth to be Christ-followers and active ministers of the gospel and student worship teams are one way we are doing so.
Are student worship bands the 'youth choir' of the last generation? For us yes!
Do you have student worship teams at your church? Are you able to use some of them in your weekend services?