There are some things which get your heart rejoicing more than others. For me it is seeing a young person fully engaged with God and setting the example to others. I love it when we see young people taking on primary roles in our church services. This might be praying, worship leading or preaching. But what about service leading? There is no reason why, with some coaching and encouragement, we can’t see our young people leading others in a service of worship.
Over the years, I have had the privilege to nurture many young people in this gift and am currently involved in a local town-wide monthly youth service, where the service is always led by young people. It has led me to reflect on how can I help these teenagers improve in their leading.
I think the default setting can be to act like a compere for the evening, in the same way as someone might host any social gathering. However, service leading must be much more than this. Here are ten ways I think a young person can grow in service leading:
1. Pray in the lead up to the service
During the seven days before the service, take time to ask God what is the one thing he wants to say in the service. Keep praying over this and ask for wisdom as to how to share this.
2. Think about the flow
If you can, be involved in putting the service together and take some time considering the order things should go in. Just because it is always done one way doesn’t mean you can’t change things.
Hopefully, people are there to worship God so how can you best enable this to happen? If you jump from one item to another on your service order, you will probably find people don’t go with you but get distracted. Concentrate on creating a flow where one thing prepares for the next thing and give space for God to lead.
3. Understand all the different elements of the service
This includes the smaller things like notices. i have been in services where the service leader has started sharing one of those obligatory notices we seem to have in church only to realise that they had no idea of what they are talking about! This is not only embarrassing for the leader but also deteriorates the importance of the notice. If the person giving the notice isn’t interested in it, why should anyone hearing it?
If you are not sure what something is in the service or why it’s there, either find out more of drop it from the service plan.
4. Write down a service order and share it.
Don’t rely on your memory for how a service is supposed to go. Write it down and share it with key people on your team: the worship leader, the preacher, the tech leader, the welcomer. This way everyone knows what is expected of them and how their role fits in with the wider service. It creates unity across the team and also helps the service flow better. It also releases people to worship fully when they know they are not going to be suddenly pounced on to contribute. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t change things if you sense you should but it does give a clear starting point for everyone.
5. Be listening during the service.
We have two ears, use them! When we lead worship services one ear needs to be on what God is saying and the other on how are people responding. Be consistently asking God what his Holy Spirit is up to. How can you help people respond to him?
6. Help people feel comfortable
People need to feel that they are in a safe place so help people relax by smiling, welcoming, introducing people involved in the service (don’t assume people know who everyone is, as there will always be new attenders) and by explaining what people are to do.
7. Write down notes during the talk
As the preacher speaks, be jotting down things from the talk which stand out for you and which might be key things God wants to challenge the congregation on. There might be two or three things which really hit you as what God wants to say and you can use these to help people respond after. If you don’t write them down, it is so easy to forget them. Writing also helps you resist the temptation to see the sermon as a breathing space as the service leader and switch off.
8. be a model worshipper
By this I don’t mean pretend to worship, but lead the service by example. Be fully engaged from start to finish, that way others will engage also as they look to you for how to respond.
9. communicate clearly
Make sure you speak clearly and not too fast. If you feel nervous it is very easy to mumble or speak too fast. Keep a control of your breathing and speak gently. If you are using a microphone, make sure you have a sound check before the service starts so you are used to what your voice sounds like coming through a PA system.
10. thank God for what he has done
Don’t be too quick to rush on to the next thing but take some time after the service to thank him for using you to build his church and give all the glory to him for what just happened.
What other tips would you offer to help young people grow as service leaders? Leave your comment or suggestion below.