Preteen Worship & Spaghetti

December 11, 2012 — 1 Comment

Preteen Worship & SpaghettiAbout 10 years ago, I ate spaghetti with Charlie Hall.

Mr. Hall was leading a night of worship at the church where I was working, and several of the staff and worship volunteers had dinner with the band before the service. The spaghetti wasn’t that good, but the conversation was great.

I was expecting the band to share about how to engage an audience, how to make transitions during worship, or how to have dynamics in your worship set. But that never came up. Instead, they spent the entire dinner talking about how important it is that you worship while you’re leading worship. The point was that if you’ll just devote yourself to worship while on stage, then others would follow in worship. Your focus on Christ would lead others to point their focus and worship to Him.

As we have been evaluating the worship in our preteen ministry and planning for the future, this conversation has really been echoing in my head. We have some awesome worship leaders that connect with our preteens, but, to be honest, I haven’t really set them up to win. I haven’t devoted nearly enough time or resources to help them just worship.

We plan out teaching time and small group time several weeks in advance. We spend time and money on equipping our large group teachers and small group leaders to win big. I don’t want to take away from that focus or emphasis, but I’m realizing that we have neglected a major opportunity to connect with preteens through worship. It’s just a part of our service, but I want it to be so much more!

In the weeks ahead, I really want to think through and brainstorm how we can create a better environment for preteens to worship. Ultimately, I want it to be a setting that helps the worship leader worship. I want it to be a setting that helps the small group leaders to worship. My prayer is that preteens will follow this example and experience worship in a deeper way.

Want to help? Shoot me a comment or email with answers to the following questions. I’m really interested in hearing from others and getting ideas on worship in preteen ministry.

  • How do you connect with preteens in worship?

  • What does the worship (musical) portion of your service look like?

  • What songs are currently best connecting with preteens?

  • What elements (band, lights, Scripture reading, drama, video, etc) do you use to help in the worship environment? How do you use them and how often do you use them?

  • How do you train & equip your worship leader for the task of leading preteens?

Give God 12I love this time of year as we wait for Christmas. It reminds me of the thousands of years spent waiting for the Messiah to come, and then the joy that came with His birth. The term Immanuel means “God with us,” and this is what Christmas is all about. Jesus came as God in the flesh to be with us.

God made such an effort to be with us, but what are we doing to be with Him?

In thinking about how will I answer that question, I’ve chosen to participate in Give God 12. I want to also challenge you to participate.

The idea of Give God 12 came from Gregg Johnson, founder of J12. It has been around for a number of years, and it has effectively challenged preteens to spent consistent time with God.

The challenge is to give God 12 minutes every day. That time is to be spent praying, reading/meditating on His word, worshipping, and journaling to connect with God. It’s not about spending exactly 12 minutes doing these things, but it is about being faithful spending time with God

On December 12, 2012, Give God 12 will launch as a global movement.

This will be a date to renew our commitment to spending time with God and connecting with Him. Many of us waiver on our commitment to personal time with God, so 12/12/12 will be a reset to get us back on track.

After hearing the heart of this movement and its simple strategy, I’m encouraging everyone else to consider taking the Give God 12 challenge. If you’re a parent or preteen leader, think about how you can challenge your students to Give God 12!

Check out Give God 12 for tips and resources on how to be involved. Gregg Johnson and Stephen Hibdon will also be posting 12 Days of Christmas videos starting next Wednesday. Be sure to use the hashtag #GiveGod12 to show your support.

Get ready for an awesome movement that draws preteens and families closer to God!

Starting a New Job
Over the last 7 years, God has taken our family on an adventure. That adventure included 4 job changes, and a total of 6 moves from apartments and houses. As God led through all that change, we made several mistakes. In the ups and downs, I’ve learned a few things about starting a new job. Here are three things to do in your first 6 weeks that will help you win in the long run.

1. Listen & Learn

The truth rarely comes out in interviews. Interviews are everyone best impressions. So when you begin something new, it’s important that you listen to find out the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. This will help you create a vision and plan for your role. Be careful not to mistake gossip for the truth about the organization.

2. Establish Relationships

Get face-to-face time with anyone and everyone. As a “newbie,” people probably recognize your face but that doesn’t mean they know you or much less trust you. Have coffee or lunch with as many volunteers, parents, staff members, etc. as possible. Share about yourself, but spend more time listening to their stories and their hearts. Invest time in them so that they will invest in you as a leader.

3. Serve, Serve, Serve

One of the worst things to do when starting a new job is to sit idle. There is always hype about a new hire, so they’re expecting to see a lot of action. This is what tempts many newcomers to starting blowing things up and making tons of change in their first month. Not a good idea.

Making major change immediately only alienates you from the people you’re leading. It’s like telling them that everything they’ve been doing is trash and you’re the garbage man. Even if that is true, it’s not the best way to start.

Instead, find ways to help with what is currently happening. Roll up your sleeves and start serving. First, serving helps you gain respect of those you’re leading. Second, serving on the frontline gives you a much better perspective on what needs to change. In your first 6 weeks, Serve, Serve, Serve!

What did you do in your first 6 weeks that helped you the most?

Black Friday 2012
I don’t do Black Friday shopping. I went out in the madness once, but that was all it took for me to swear it off forever. That being said, I decided the 50% off microwave was too good to pass up. So, I went shopping on Thanksgiving night.

I stood in line with 75-80 other people at the Sears in El Dorado, AR. As we waited, I listened to everyone talk about the deals on TVs. As I stood there, I thought, “Oh good, they’re not here for the microwaves!” (I really was dumb for standing in line to wait on a microwave, but that’s another story for another time.)

The doors opened promptly at 8:00 pm as advertised, and the people rushed in towards the electronics department. They were all after the big screen TVs they had seen in the advertisements. Instead of finding discounted televisions, they found a 20-something store manager telling them that this particular store does not have the advertised TVs!

Uh Oh.

Those people were MAD. There were a several unrepeatable words used and the angry mob slowly stormed out. After 75-80 people walked into the store, there were now only about 10 of us left.

Those people were angry because they were victims of false advertising. The paper ad clearly had pictures of TVs, the discounted price of the TVs, and it said, “Sale begins at 8 pm!” Most people who read that would reason that there would be discount TVs available to purchase at 8 pm, but there were no TVs. That’s false advertising.

It turns out that Sears has different types of stores that carry different varieties of items. This particular store was in a smaller market, so they did not carry the full line of TVs listed in the advertisement. I felt bad for the store manager because blame clearly belonged to higher management at Sears, but those people felt lied to and used. I understand their feelings.

The lesson here is to think about what you’re advertising. In ministry, we are constantly advertising. We talk about our church and our ministry in everyday conversations. We give a sales pitch every time we recruit a new a new leader. We advertise to parents about all the things we’re doing on Sundays or Wednesday with their kids.

Stop and think:
Is your advertisement about the ministry truthful or is it what you wish were true?

No one likes to be the victim of false advertising. I’ve been guilty of this. I’ve made promises to volunteers and parents that I just couldn’t keep. I got them in the door with that promise, but then I had to apologize when I really couldn’t deliver the goods.

We have to be careful not to oversell our ministry or ourselves. When we do, it only ends up disappointing others. You don’t have to put out a 4-page ad about all that is wrong with your church. Find ways to highlight what you do well. Use those things to recruit new leaders and connect with parents.