Giving leadership to your students (Part 2)
One marvelous way to introduce worship leadership to your students is select a small group and allow them to cite a scripture passage together. A director with a minimum level of speech expertise can gather, rehearse, refine, and prepare a group of 3 to 5 students to do a stellar job in worship. Below is a reading put together for the Baylor Festival this year … a reading for five students … which was highly effective as a bridge between anthems.
The first thing that has to happen is that the students have to be able to quote the reading cold … no hesitation, no stumbling … from memory. It needs to be utterly perfect. Learning and memorizing the “script” is the students’ responsibility. There is nothing you can do for them if they are not willing to come that far on their own. They need to understand that the rehearsals for this reading will begin after the script is memorized. Will there be memory slips as you rehearse them? Of course! However, you will know whether they are prepared or just winging it when you engage them in their first rehearsal. You’ll be able to tell very quickly if they are ready to actually begin to rehearse and put it together. Do not waste a lot of your time when the students have not done their part of preparation.
Second, all participants need to view this assignment not as “a scripture reading,” but rather as an animated script which must come to life when they begin the ensemble read. The droning and mumbling must come to an end. The animated stage voices must be put into place.
As the script is rehearsed and goes back and forth between the participants, you’ll quickly notice that the readers are also learning each other’s lines. Actually, they must know each other’s lines in order to enter with their own lines at the correct time. The groups will begin to put appropriate pressure on one another to be on top of their game. It quickly becomes a team effort. Once the students get the idea of what needs to be done, the director then, on subsequent readings, can hang back a bit and make only occasional suggestions for improvement. The students will rehearse themselves and each other within the team. They will tend to fine-tune the machine on their own.
Not only is such a script a beautiful addition to most any worship service, but what better way is there for students to learn and memorize scripture. Within the context of worship, the students are sharing what they have learned and are entering scripture into their hearts for times of use and strength in their futures.
Update on this article: Yesterday in worship, a fifteen-year-old in our youth group was scheduled to provide the scripture reading and the offertory prayer. After her training and experience as a one of the readers at the Baylor Festival, she stood yesterday and did a remarkable job as a scripture reader in worship. No adult could have done better, as she was energetic, strong, deliberate, and quite coherent in her reading. Her prayer was fifty second of pure wonder, as she had written the prayer herself and had committed it to memory. What great leadership Audrey Ballinger provided for the worship of our congregation. Once and for all, Audrey established herself as a leader in our church, largely due to her excellence as a communicator.
Founder & President, YouthCUE & Minister of Music & Worship at Woodland Baptist Church in San Antonio, TX
Prior to devoting his full-time efforts to YouthCUE beginning in 2005, Randy served for more than thirty years as minister of music at First Baptist Church San Antonio, First Baptist Church Shreveport, Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio and currently at Woodland Baptist Church in San Antonio. He served as Chorusmaster of the Shreveport Opera Company from 1991-1999.
He has composed twenty-one published choral anthems and has authored the most comprehensive textbook to date on youth choir ministry, entitled, Revealing Riches and Building Lives: Youth Choir Ministry in the New Millennium. With more than six hundred articles published in over thirty publications, Randy Edwards is one of the premiere specialists in youth choir ministry today. He is sought widely as a conductor, clinician, consultant, and teacher.
Support YouthCUE's mission to provide youth choir directors with tools and resources to help sustain church and school youth choir programs with your tax-deductible gift today.