Last night I participated in a time of praise and worship along with many of the students in my Student Ministry, as well as their parents. I say “participated” because even though I am the Student Ministry Pastor and this was a Student Ministry event, I was not in charge of it. Rather I was simply there to enjoy myself and participate.
The Student Ministry Praise Band that plays in our Sr High youth group is an all student band, there are no adults. I do oversee it, and our Worship Pastor gives some musical advice and guidance to some of the individuals in the band, but beyond that the Praise Band is all student led. They determine when and how often they will practice, who plays on the band, what songs they will sing and how they will arrange and sing those songs.
A while ago one of the members of the band shared an idea of doing an outdoor Night of Worship, to which the rest of the band agreed was a great idea. They approached me and I said “go ahead” (who am I to stop students from wanting to worship God through song???). So I worked with them to pick a date, and I promoted it to those connected to our Student Ministry. That was all my involvement…well, I did bring the hot dogs and stuff to make smore’s that we ate around a campfire before the singing, and they did ask me to pray at the end…but that was it.
As a Praise Band they chose all the songs, got together to practice several times, enlisted the help of Pastor Chris to play guitar, and invited people to come. When I arrived shortly before we were to begin, they were already there doing one last run-through of the music. When we began, they started off in prayer, they led each song, and they even took turns reading scripture and talking before some of the songs. It was all them…all student led…and I got to be part of the crowd that they led into a time of praise and worship.
Sure there were some distractions during the night (we were outside, there was a wide range of age’s there, some people were taking pictures, etc) and a couple of times you could tell the band played something wrong. But that didn’t stop me from being led by the very students that I am here to teach into a time of focusing on our great God as I sang praise songs to Him. And, it didn’t stop me from being extremely proud of each of them for taking the initiative to lead their peers, parents, and other adults in a time of praise and worship.
It was a great night, and I look forward to seeing more students follow their lead by stepping up in different ways. After all, that is what we want our students to do…realize they can step up and serve God by leading and serving those around them in whatever ways God has gifted them.
As a Student Ministry Pastor I want to facilitate a ministry that is for students, by students, and to students. And last night, I saw that happen!