Engaging Students in Worship


This post was originally posted at YouthSpecialties.com; follow the discussion there or start a new one here.

I ran across this video going through some old posts on our student ministry blog last night…

It’s funny, but it makes me think about how many youth leaders struggle to engage their students in worship. It can be hard. It’s also discouraging when you feel like your failing.

On the flip side, nothing encourages me more than when I see students getting “lost” in worship. I suppose it’s because, as a student, it was during powerful times of worship that I solidified my faith and found my personal relationship with God solidified.


  • Teach about biblical worship in creative ways. Talk about WHY and HOW your particular group worships and give scriptural examples to back them up. (Maybe skip the example of King David dancing in his boxers.)
  • Get outside of the “worship box”. What I mean by that is to take your group beyond the typical “song-leader-on-the-stage” format for worship. Mix in creative ways to pray, kneel, be silent, and experience God in fresh new ways. The book “Sacred Spaces” is a great resource in this regard.
  • Allow time for worship. Simple but profound. Don’t rush through worshipful moments. I’m thinking of a quote I heard a few years ago at the NYWC… something to the effect of “I’d rather be Spirit-led than purpose-driven.” Amen. Definitely plan around your vision and structure/format, but allow for “God-space” in your programming… let the Holy Spirit lead.
  • Remind students that loving and serving others is an act of worship. Many times the most powerful acts of worship happen outside the walls of your church.
  • Be a passionate worshiper yourself! Don’t expect students to engage if you are not leading the way.

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