As I said on Saturday, I spent my entire weekend (Friday through Monday) with about 100 middle schoolers.
The worship team and I led for 5 different times of worship and we even did a little bit of a fireside worship time late Sunday night.
I remember when I started leading worship in student ministries a couple months ago everyone asked me, as if concerned, if I was ready to lead worship for middle schoolers. And to be honest, I wasn’t too excited. I tend to be a fairly laid-back guy and middle schoolers tend to be high energy. So I went into it thinking I would kind of have to fake it a little (don’t freak out about “fake it”…think Paul’s statement about becoming all things to all people).
After 2 months of leading middle schoolers and an intense weekend of being around them, here are some observations about leading middle schoolers in worship:
- They are listening. If you ask them to jump, they’ll jump. If you ask them to raise their hands, they will. If you ask them to turn off their cell phone…well maybe not that far, but you get the point.
- They follow each other. Influencing the whole group is as easy as influencing their influencers. In our middle school ministry this means getting buy-in from the small group leaders (high school students and adults) and 8th graders. If they see these key people engaging with the music, they are much more likely to as well.
- They have short attention spans. I wouldn’t try doing a 40 minute worship set with middle schoolers. They’ll get bored. The challenge is getting them to focus on what is most important while they are engaged.
- They aren’t much different than you. What I mean by that is they want to be treated like adults. So when I talk between songs I try to speak to them as such. Sure they might like to have a little bit more fun than the average adult, but I truly believe as much as they want to have fun, they have a deep desire to worship God.
- They are sponges. Meaning that you should be careful in how you are leading. And really this is probably true anytime you are leading worship, but I think it might be heightened with this age group. They will sing the songs you sing, they will do as you do on the stage. Don’t take that lightly.
I think what I was most challenged by over the weekend is wanting to lead well for these students.
Sure they might push me out of my comfort zone, but I’m positive that is a good thing.
(and in case you still are concerned, I don’t have to fake it)