3 Innovative Ways to Engage Students in Corporate Worship

“Why don’t we do… for worship?” Many, if not all of us have found ourselves confronted with this type of question or one similar to it. There are many ideas to help us engage our students better in worship, but it can be hard to cypher through what is the most effective idea for our context. I want to offer some ideas that I hope can help us engage our students in impactful ways no matter what context we may find ourselves in.

Before we do that, I want to remind us that creativity is a reflection of our Creator. Before we see the redemptive work of God through Christ in Scripture, we see God as the Creator in Genesis 1-2. Also, Hebrews 2:10 reminds us that “everything exists” because of God. Instead of depending on our own understanding and choice of creative methods, we should continually ask and seek the guidance of the Spirit in discerning what will help build students in their worship experience. Now, let’s explore these ideas.

Instead of depending on our own understanding and choice of creative methods, we should continually ask and seek the guidance of the Spirit in discerning what will help build students in their worship experience.

1. Mash Ups

We can get tired of songs over time, even our favorite ones. It is not that the truth in those songs is not powerful. However, we can forget the power of those truths in worship by hearing them presented in the same format. Try adding a portion of another song to a song that you already use. One example of this could be combining “Firm Foundation” by Cody Carnes and tagging the bridge of “Promises” by Maverick City to the end of the song. Psalms 96 invites us to sing a new song to the Lord. Sometimes this new song can be combined with various existing songs to proclaim powerful truths with a fresh perspective. This can add both musical and spiritual depth to our worship experiences.

2. Creative Invitation

Students need to be constantly invited to participate in worship, even if it seems like “they should know this.” Furthermore, the various ways we invite them in worship matters. I think of various invitations we are given throughout the year: birthday invites, wedding invites, dinner invites, etc. All of these invitations can provide fun yet unique experiences. This same concept should be applied to worship. Students not only need to be invited to worship but also need creative ways that excite them to participate in it. Below are some ideas for how to do that.

  • Call to worship
    • Have your students invite their peers to sing and clap. Also, give them a quick “why” behind the invitation to worship (i.e. “because God is holy”). It can be more compelling to participate in something when you are given reason for doing so.
  • Pick songs with call-and-response sections (“Praise” or “No One” by Elevation).
    • Call and response can be a reminder that there is conversation in worship that allows everyone to have a voice in declaring praise to God.
  • Teach them the chorus of a new song before launching into it.
    • It is the task of a worship leader to remove as many obstacles to worship as they can for those whom they lead. Teaching a chorus to students can make it easier for them to sing along.

3. Non-Musical Worship Elements

We restrict our creativity and limit our corporate worship experience when music is the only element allowed during our worship services. Incorporating elements that bring greater depth and meaning to a worship song makes the worship experience more relatable. Also, adding these pieces can give opportunities for students who are not gifted musically to lead their peers in worship. Here are some ideas:

  • Allow a student 60 seconds to share a poem/spoken word piece.
  • Invite a student to share a passage of Scripture.
  • Allow a student to share a brief testimony from the week.
  • Recite a corporate prayer of confession that everyone can read.

We restrict our creativity and limit our corporate worship experience when music is the only element allowed during our worship services. Incorporating elements that bring greater depth and meaning to a worship song makes the worship experience more relatable.

In conclusion, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for how to engage our students in worship. However, there are a plethora of ways to help them participate in worship in meaningful ways. Remember to seek God’s guidance as the ultimate Creator. May He open up our eyes to fresh ways to experience His presence within our community.

Austin Lash
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