Q Our congregation is considering a “youth Sunday” when the teens lead parts of worship. Some people are against this idea. Is getting teens involved in worship a good idea?
A Getting young people involved in worship leadership is an excellent idea. It is one of the things that will encourage teens to continue in their faith as they get older. If your youth are not involved in Sunday worship on a weekly basis, a youth service or youth Sunday can be a great way to start. In addition, planning a worship service is a great way to help teens learn more about worship.
The objection raised to youth Sundays may be highlighting a problem—that youth are not involved in worship on any of the other Sundays. It is important for all members of the congregation to have the opportunity for leadership in worship, regardless of age.
There are a number of ways that people in the congregation, including children and teens, can be part of worship planning and worship leadership every Sunday. Music is a great place to include people of all ages. Young people can be mentored into music ministry leadership by doubling parts that a more experienced person is playing or singing. Responsive readings, prayers, Scripture readings, greeting, taking the offering, lighting candles, and ushering are example of other places for members to be involved. Adults can serve as mentors in these areas as well.
Children and teens should be included in the regular rotation of people who are leading worship. This sends a powerful message that they are part of the church family. Involvement every Sunday is much more effective than simply having one Sunday out of the year when teens are involved in worship.
About the Authors
Laura Keeley is a regional catalyzer for Faith Formation Ministries in the CRCNA and director of childrens ministries at 14th St. CRC in Holland, Mich.
Robert J. Keeley is Professor of Education Emeritus at Calvin University and a music leader at 14th St CRC in Holland, MI.