Worship Bands can be a hassle. Personalities, Divas, The Next _____________ (write popular worship leader name here), practice times, no commitment, etc. etc. They can be more trouble than they are worth but I’ve always valued them because it gives kids roles and responsibilities and way to use the gifts and talents God has given them. There was this one time though that made me super angry and almost disbanded the band once and for all.
One band I had was what I would call a closed band. They were god’s unto themselves and god-forbid if you should mess with the dynamics. Not everyone in the band felt this way but enough to where one girl was not allowed to join because “she would mess everything up” according to one band member. I came to the defense of this young lady, and I have never told her that I did, and said she was gong to be worked into the band. This angered one band member so much he just looked at me, said “You’re ridiculous” and walked out never to return. I felt like singing as he left, “We’re coming back to a heart of worship…” Anyway, the strangle hold was broken and life went on.
I think worship has lost it’s bite over time. It’s more about being perfect than worshiping The Perfect One. Worship is entertaining, it’s loud, and many time it’s not focused on the One worthy of our worship. I love the quote from an article I just read on worship that says:
The Pulitzer Prize winning poet and author Annie Dillard asked: “Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? … It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return.”
Shouldn’t worship have a sense of awe instead of a predictable playlist of fast, fast, fast, medium, slow, slow, slow? Maybe you should consider it a good thing that you don’t have a band to manage or clutter the room with flashiness; distracting from the quiet, scary silence where God could show up and rock some kids face off.
If you’d don’t have a band, don’t worry; there are plenty of ways to worship God but let’s expand our meaning of worship first and then we can expand our methods.
To Worship God means:
lift up, adore, exalt, focus on, listen for, in Spirit, honor, focus on, respect, glorify, devote time, energy, resources to, ritual, regard, reverence, praise, surrender, ritual, adore, humility, intercession, wonder, recognition, delight, affection, and love.
Now, that being said (add your own definition plus a practical application in the comments), let’s look at some ways to worship God without a band.
Prayer Stations are powerful opportunities for teens to get quiet and engage with one or various prayer stations. Here are a couple of videos on what I’ve done.
You can purchase this one ^ here
I created this as part of my series Start Again
Responsive Readings like this one
This is a sample, but you can put together your own Playlist with worship lyric videos or live band worship sets.
Small Group Prayer (2-3 per group)
Have several topics to choose from (world issues, church issues, personal issues, etc. )
One on One Prayers
Have students pray one one one with each other.
Have kids choose from challenging topics such abortion, poverty, war, terrorism, etc. and let them pray out loud from the mic or quietly while music plays.
Have kids read their favorite verse, read scripture with your message, verses that correspond with the hot topics list above.
Worship Music Playlist
Let kids find a quiet place or worship as they please. Have an open mic for kids to share what the Lord puts on their hearts.
Recite The Creeds
The most used creed in church’s is the Apostle’s Creed. It is a declaration in what you believe, corporately. Remember, worship is not just about hype songs but a change or attention. The creeds put the focus on the character, nature, and action of God.
Pray The Creeds
Read them line by line and let kids or yourself offer a short prayer per line. You could also have preset prayers kids can read off the screen.
Pray The Scriptures
Have some scriptures ready to go along with your messages. Use them at the end to allow kids to pray and ask God to help them live out His word. You can read about how to pray the scriptures HERE
I know how much teens hate this. They love noise and action, but silence and mediation are skill they will need when life gets busy. I recommend worship music without words or a soundtrack to listen to. If you’re preaching on Being A Heroic Christian, let’s say, use the theme from End Game or Captain Marvel.
You could have a scripture on a side and let kids meditate on it. Ask for feedback after the mediation time is over. What did God show you?
Grab a bunch of black notebooks from the dollar store and put them around the room. Put up a scripture or quote on the screen and the let kids roam around writing/reflecting/drawing in these books while music plays. Maybe each book could have a theme. These would be “open books” so caution students to not write anything to personal. You could give each student their own books and let them write/reflect/draw etc. on their own.
Dance (Yes, Dance) I recommend this leader training called The Church is A Dance Party On A Train, if you’re serious about helping kids and adults jump in and start suing their gifts and talents.
Here are three ways you can use dance in your youth ministry
30 Second Warm Up
Yes, why not put on hype music and give kids 30 seconds of getting some energy going? Their dopamine level will be up and will happily participate in worship.
If you are dong a message on joy, worship, etc., have some designated dance breaks in your message. Worship is supposed to be joyous and dance breaks connect the two
Have a dance team who have pre-set dances to songs. Teens love to do the Cupid Shuffle, The Wobble and now The Git up so why not have dance as part of worship?
Create/Art – Let kids just free flow draw, paint sculpt, etc while worship music plays and see what happens. Give them a parable to use as a focus. It can be individual or a group project.
Why not take the kids somewhere. I used to love taking the kids to their schools and pray over them before the start of the school year. Where could you take them in your church, down the block or across town.
Jericho March – Sounds silly right? Well it worked for Joshua. What could you march around with the intent of “walls” falling down? Put a sign in the middle with something from culture that needs to fall such as injustice, poverty, racism, etc. and have kids march around it and pray. When the person praying says amen, give a shout of victory over the darkness.
Have kids silently, or noisily, create their own wailing wall like they have in Jerusalem.
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