Worship Bands can be a hassle. Personalities, Divas, Want to be 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 ways to use the gifts and talents God has given them. There was this one time though that made me super angry and almost disbanded worship band once and for all.
One band I had 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 times 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 or your face off for that matter.
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, with that definition in mind, let’s look at some ways to worship God without a band.
Communion is an act of worship and commitment. You mind and your senses are drawn to Christ through this sacrament. If you have never had communion with your students, it would be best to take a week to teach on it giving them a heads up to
- what this practice means
- how they should treat this practice
- why it’s it’s an important part of the church
Taking a week to teach on it may keep them from treating the act of worship with any disrespect.
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 are a powerful way to worship God.
It engages the whole congregation.
Responsive reading allows everyone in the congregation to participate in worship, regardless of their age, ability, or comfort level with public speaking. This can help to create a sense of unity and community among the worshippers.
It helps us to hear God’s word more clearly.
When we read Scripture responsively, we are forced to listen carefully to the words that are being spoken. This can help us to understand the meaning of the text more deeply and to apply it to our own lives.
It is a form of prayer.
When we read Scripture responsively, we are not just listening to the words of God, we are also speaking them back to Him. This can be a powerful way to express our love and worship for God.
Here are some additional benefits of responsive readings for youth
- It can help to create a more participatory and engaging worship experience.
- It can help to build community among the worshippers.
- It can help to deepen our understanding of Scripture.
- It can be a powerful form of prayer.
YouTube Worship Playlist
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 these small group can choose from (world issues, church issues, community issues, personal issues, etc. ) or give each group the same list to pray over. After they are done praying for what you’ve given them, all them to pray for one another.
One on One Prayers
Create a time where students can pray one on one with each other. You could call it One Minute One On One and challenge students to pray for others for one minute.Once they have pray for that person, and have been prayed for, have them find someone else to pray with for one minute.
Have kids choose from challenging topics such abortion, poverty, war, terrorism, etc. and let them pray out loud from the mic.
We all know scripture is powerful and sharper than any two edged sword, that’s why reading it puts the focus and attention on God.
- read their favorite verse(s)
- read scriptures that go along with your message
- read chapters together in unison such as Psalm 23 or I Corinthians 13
Find ways where students can engage with God’s word beyond just listening to it when you preach/teach
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 or the Nicene Creed. A creed is a declaration of what you believe. Speaking a creed corporately offers your group a theological rallying point. 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
Take these same creeds and read them line by line or in portions and tell your students, “When I pause, I am looking for a volunteer to pray, out loud, offering thanksgiving for who God is.” If no one volunteers, you can pray or just give them time to meditate on what was said.
You can also create responsive readings around the creeds so students can participate without the pressure of having to pray out loud.
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 skills 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, use the theme from Avengers 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.
30 Second Worship 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 making it a fun way to transition to the message.
If you are doing 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 The Git Up so why not have dance as part of worship? I mean, Church Clap was a thing.
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 and seek the Lord in prayer.
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 of the room 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.
Put some needs on a wall in your room and have kids silently, or noisily, create their own wailing wall like they have in Jerusalem. Put church needs, community needs and world needs on the wall and play some worship music while they pray.
Put out some index cards, pens and markers and let students put their own prayer requests on the wall.