This is the second of three weeks in our “Back to Basics” series. Last week we talked about teaching your students to read the Bible, and this week we’re talking about worship. We’re going to be taking two different approaches to the topic of worship, so hang with us to get the two different views of what worship is.
Steven: One of the things I try to really emphasize to my students is that worship is so much more than just showing up to church on Sunday and singing along with the songs. A few weeks ago I did a lesson with my small group that I borrowed from Dennis Beckner (which he wrote up and you can read here) about living a life that isn’t just a subscription to God, it’s a sacrifice. Along with that comes the idea that everything you do should be in worship.
Going to school is worship if you put God first. Going to work is worship if you put God first. Doing homework is worship if you put God first.
It’s great to go to a worship service every week to engage with other believers in the act of worship through music and singing, but without the full act of worship throughout the rest of the week, you’ll miss out on what God really has to offer. It’s amazing to look around and see all that God has created – from the landscape, the plants, the trees, everything – and it is ignorant of us to not worship the Creator for all that He has given us.
We should even thank him for the things that we’re not completely fond of. I mentioned school above, and immediately that’s what came to mind. Some of the classes I have taken are definitely not my favorite and I can’t help but think, “Why the heck would I need to take World Civilizations if I’m never going to be a history teacher?” The attitude I had to adopt to get the most out of that class (and make sure I actually showed up) was that I’m taking this class for God. It might not be my favorite class, but I’m doing it for Him.
Worship is something we can take part in every single day. It doesn’t have to be in a formal way, but it does have to happen. Even if you just say a quick, 10-second prayer every once in a while for the things you experience, you’re honoring God by worshipping Him.
Matt: When I first thought about this topic I thought about when I watch our High School or Junior High services. I love seeing the students who really get into the singing, their hands held high or watching a group of them in the service hold hands during prayer. At the same time, I don’t like it when I see some of the leaders in the service who are talking to each other, not singing, have their cell phone out and are on Facebook or texting. What is the message that we send to students when we do that? The message is that being in worship is not important!
Students will emulate what they see us doing. We should be teaching them that worship is a frame of mind, it’s a way of setting everything else aside and devoting time to God in worship and praise of Him. When I attend worship I get there early. I want to have time to sit down and just clear my mind, have some prayer time with God before the service starts and ask him to calm my mind, open my mind and my heart to the message I’m about to hear. I’m also aware that often students who are in my small group will be in our main worship center with their parents. If I’m not participating in worship, what did I just show my students AND their parents? I want them to know I love God, and that attending AND participating in worship is a very necessary thing in growing in our relationship with God.
Here’s some ideas if you’re a leader or a volunteer in your church’s student ministry service:
- Find a student who is sitting alone and sit with them. They might be new to your church, nothing worse than being someplace and no one knows who you are. After the service introduce them to other students, find out what school they attend, try and find other students from that school, they might know that. All it takes is one connection and you can take a student from “visitor” to “regular attendee.”
- Sing the songs, if you’re a person who raises your hands when you sing, go for it. Let students know its okay to show emotion when they sign praise songs to God.
- Keep distractions to a minimum. Don’t keep getting up and going in and out of the service. Put your cell phone on vibrate or even better, turn it off if you can.
- If you’re a small group leader, encourage your group to attend a service together. This might not always be possible, but usually it works out. I love seeing all of my guys sitting together in the auditorium and just worshipping like crazy!
- After the service talk to students, ask what the message meant to them. On occasion I have seen students who get really affected by a message because it hit a little close to home with them. That’s a great time to get them to open up about a problem they are having.
- Have fun. Don’t make worship a stuffy, boring experience.