A question I hear often is is “How do you get older boys to participate in the worship experience?” When I moved from Youth Ministry to Family Ministry with responsibility for the Children’s Ministry I used the same concepts to build a Kid’s Praise Team (minus the instruments) that I had used to build a Youth Praise Team. These principles have served me well over the years. While we usually have a few reluctant boys among a large group that will hold true at every age – kids, youth & adults. With that said, these are the concepts we focus on to encourage boys to enjoy (yes, enjoy) worship:
Boys will be Boys – I am the father of five boys and one girl. Guess what – they are different! Boys react and interact differently than girls, so don’t expect them all to jump in to worship as willingly as most girls. We never try to force students to do everything, and refrain from badgering them if they don’t. Our minimum requirement is that they at least stand – not necessarily as a rule but out of respect for the Savior to whom we are singing.
Form a Praise Team made up of responsible Older Elementary – Be sure to include boys on that team. Teach the importance of their leadership roles and being good examples for the younger children. Give the younger kids something to look forward to when they get older. By constantly reminding them that someday they can have the “honor” of being a praise team leader, this will promote a positive, expectant attitude among the younger kids – and in particular boys.
Incorporate Teens or College Young Men – Boys look up to older guys. These young men can be great role models for the boys and show them that it is actually cool to participate with the Worship Team.
Coach your Adults to set the Example – Our adults know that the expectation is for them to participate in all the motions and sing (especially the men). Standing in the back of room during our worship time is unacceptable.
Focus on the Positive – Don’t focus on the few that aren’t participating. Focusing on the positive will help us as leaders keep the proper perspective.
Make your Motions Cool – Boys do not want to come across as cheerleaders! Teach motions that are just as cool for guys to do as girls.
Aim High – Whatever age groups you are working with be sure to choose music that will appeal to the two oldest grades in your group. Younger kids will enjoy music designed for older kids. The reverse is NOT true!
Those are the major concepts we focus on with our kids. I believe that the time we spend in corporate worship is extremely important to the spiritual growth of our kids. The time and energy we invest in our Kid’s Worship Team is a great investment. What are some of the concepts you have found to be successful with your Worship Team? Leave a comment and extend the conversation!