One of the most frequently asked questions to me is, “How do I get the boys to participate in worship?” It seems it’s an area that many churches struggle with. It can be for a variety of reasons which we’ll discuss.
A few years ago I was leading worship at a church in St. Louis. I looked up and saw a boy, probably about ten or eleven singing along with ALL of his heart. You could see the passion is his face, the joy in his smile and my heart did a happy dance inside seeing him participate in this special time of worship. I was once again reminded that boys can sing and they will sing.
So for those of you needing some help motivating this particular group here’s a few areas to inspect and possibly re-evaluate.
1. What does your music sound like?
For the past six decades Rock music has been a genre of music. Boys love to rock. No matter the area of the country. No matter how straight laced their parents are….boys like rock-n-roll. If your music is too chintzy they will roll their eyes, cross their arms and decide they don’t like it, therefore not participate. Ta dah! Make sure you’re using music that will appeal to them by the way it sounds.
2. Who do you have on stage leading worship?
I’m not saying this from a popularity, contest, ego trip. I’m saying this because boys need great role models. If who you have on stage is not some one they would aspire to be like then it’s much harder to get them involved. Having young people – like high school and college students involved is huge. It provides great role models to your older elementary students, plus is really motivating to the boys. Give them “Positive Peer Pressure” by having people on stage (both guys and girls) that are cool and passionate for Christ. That coolness and the passion will rub off and turn into participation.
3. Make sure your leaders look like they like to worship?
If the people on stage aren’t excited, then how can you expect the people in the audience to get excited? Make sure your worship team is full of energy, smiles and authentic “having a great time praising God” sort of charisma! This needs to be evident with all the other leaders in the room too. Those volunteers in the back, the aisles or wherever else you staff your rooms need to be encouraged that they need to set the example and participate.
4. Teach why and how.
“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word.” There is an element of worship that is completely natural because it’s part of how God created us. However some of us need more help then others. Make sure little by little, week by week, you’re teaching your students why we worship and how to worship. I see in my travels that often times a lack of participation is due to a lack of understanding. How can we expect them to act a certain way that would be filled with singing, clapping, hands lifted, if we’ve never taught or shown that’s worship. Explain what worship is and little by little even the boys will get it and apply it to their life – evidenced by their actions.
I hope one or all four of these sparked something new for you.
- Go back to the drawing board.
- Make changes and improvements to make your ministry better and more relevant to the boys and the girls.
I believe nothing brings a smile across God’s face like His creation – young and old – honoring Him by our worship
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