When Worship is Unfamiliar

What do you do to instill an appreciation for worship and an interest in joining other churches in worship into students who don't like to sing? It might sound like a funny question but it's one I am seriously going to have to deal with. In our youth ministry, worship will be one of the main priorities which we will try to fulfill but at our church the concept is a bit more ambiguous than it is at most evangelical churches. The only church music the students are used t0 are the "corny" hymns that they hear when they go to the sanctuary on Sunday morning. I am afraid that if I took the students to a youth conference or a camp that they would feel awkward, uncomfortable, and out of place when everyone starts "singing."

Now I understand that worship is not just music and that some youth pastors, who can't get their kids to think of anything but music when they think of worship, might envy me. So I will indeed introduce different ideas of worship other than music. But let's face it, if I bring students to a conference or even to another church's youth event I will run into this problem. I want the students at my church to have the same appreciation and passion for worship that I see in some evangelical churches, but I don't want my students to be just like them... I like that we are different... and I don't want my students to be weirded out if I try to show them how other churches do worship.

These are things I have known for quite a while that I would one day have to deal with at our church. Now that I am really starting to think out a schedule and am considering different camps and conferences to take the students to, I am dealing with these questions. What is worship? Why do other churches so naturally sing in their worship? How can my students understand this and one day begin to be passionate about it?

What are your thoughts? What is worship? Why do we sing during worship? What are other ways we can worship in a group setting? Is it worth it to risk the students being weirded out in their experience and taking them to a conference?


Anonymous said…

Worship fosters emotion a lot of emotion - standards contained in the “Western” church generally have been fostered through the Reformation’s reaction to the Roman Church of the time. The walls were striped thus visual expressions cast out. Along the way the other aspects of arts became anathema as well.

Many years ago Maryellen and I became involved with a prayer “movement” that recognized the admonition of all your body, mind, soul, and strength. Every day was started with “creatives”. each person would join together with others of like interest … prayer could be expressed through dance, physical artistic expression - drawing working with clay and so forth, weighting, silence, music expression and other dynamics. Each day at noon gathering the whole camp would participate together using the different expressions side by side. What happened most often was the various expressions were enjoyed by all because each hade the opportunity to pray/worship from their most natural expression and being part of other expressions then were easier to be a part of.
Pastor Art