Is worship a regular part of your weekly youth gathering? Most youth pastors would probably answer with a resounding “no” to this question. I would say this is especially true of many youth ministries within my own denomination, as United Methodists youth groups tend to be small on average. Unfortunately, the idea that we’re small, so we can’t do worship prevails among small to medium sized youth groups. This is mostly because we tend to think a band is needed or at least someone with musical talent to help lead us in worship. However, worship is so much more than music, but the message we send by not worshiping in our youth ministry is that worship is about music or that worship is something that only happens in “big” church. When we do this, we are screaming to our youth that worship isn’t all that important. Worship is extremely important and here are five reasons why you should be worshiping in youth group every week.
2. To Model – When we worship at youth, we show our youth how to worship. In almost every youth group is at least one youth who hasn’t grown up in a church and doesn’t know what it means to worship. Sometimes our own “church kids” need to know what it means to worship as well. By worshiping in youth group, we show our kids how to worship. What greater reason do we need than modeling how to worship?
3. To Send the Right Message – When we worship in youth, we send the message that worship is important, that it is meaningful and enriching to our spiritual lives. Yes, this is sort of like modeling in that we are setting the example, but we are most importantly communicating to our youth that worship is important. Likewise, when we don’t worship on a regular basis at youth we’re sending the message that worship isn’t important, or that worship only happens in “big” church.
4. To Worship as Community – Youth ministry is very much a community within a community, and worship is vital to the health of any Christian community. When we worship together, we strengthen the community and we express to God our thanks for all that he has done for us as a community. We also struggle together in community with difficult passages of scripture and cry out to God together as a community when we are experiencing difficult times. There is no better way to strengthen the community of your youth group than by worshiping together.
5. Simply To Worship – What other reason do we need other than simply to worship? We serve an awesome God who created us, and redeemed us by saving us from our sin. We should take every opportunity to worship so we can allow God to speak into our lives and so we can give God praise and thanksgiving for all that he has done for us.
So, I want to challenge you to not be afraid to worship at youth, but to make worship a regular part of your weekly schedule. Don’t be afraid of youth worship because it’s different or because you think your youth group is too small. Some of the best worship experiences I’ve had happened with a small group of youth. Try something new this week and worship God with your youth.
Are you interested in hearing more from Todd and others about youth ministry? Check out our upcoming course Youth Ministry 102: Beyond the Basics, beginning February 2nd.
The Reverend Todd Vick, M.Div. is currently serving as the Senior Pastor of Salem United Methodist Church in Conway, AR. He has over 14 years of experience in youth, emerging adults, young adults, pastoral, and lay involvement ministries. Todd holds a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Science degree in Youth Ministries from John Brown University. He and his wife Carrie reside in Conway with their two boys Elijah and Riley. Todd’s passion is for the grace of God to invade and radically change the lives of God’s children through one-on-one discipleship and intentional group teaching in the context of a loving missional community. Todd’s blog can be found at https://wtoddvick.wordpress.com/.