3 Reasons Why Your Youth Band Is Killing Your Worship Team

youth band

youth band

I imagine that many of us are familiar with the concept of having both a youth band and a separate “big church” band. Today, I’m going to do what I do best and challenge this age old way of doing things. I’m not saying that organizing your team this way is necessarily wrong, but I do want to offer a second opinion.

If you organize your team like most worship teams do, you typically have your “big church” band that consists of your more experienced musicians. I’ll call them the A Team. Then on the other hand, you have your youth band that typically consists of your less experienced musicians. I’ll call them the B Team.

Today I want to recommend an alternative to this approach. It’s called the one church method. This method is for an entire church culture, but I’m going to break this down to how it can be applied specifically to our worship teams.

The idea with the one church method is that there is no separation in bands. It is just one big united worship team. With this method, instead of just throwing your B or C team into the youth or kids band, we are intentional about integrating everyone into diversified teams for each service.

Here are 3 BIG reasons why you should consider this approach. And why you should do it fast!

1. Church Culture

Let me ask those of you that play in the “big church” band a question? Do you ever feel as if playing in the youth band is a little beneath you? Be honest, I know that I’ve sure felt that way before.

Whether we realize it or not, when we organize our bands this way, we’re saying that one band is better than the other. Or dare I say it, that one band is more important than the other. We’re giving breathe to a “I’m better than you” culture.

Even further, as worship leaders, we tend to spend a little more time on the “important” band or service right? This can have horrible implications in your worship team culture.

Believe it or not, I’ve also been a part of a church culture, where the better, or “cool,” band to play in was the youth band. Again, this lead to the idea that those in the youth band were better, and that playing in big church was beneath us. Overtime, this got worse and we started dreading playing in big church.

On the other hand, I’ve been a part of an organization where playing in the youth band was for the B team. We were actually slightly offended if we were asked to play at a youth service. It was a waste of our time. And even further, those in the B team band couldn’t help but feel less important.

What’s crazy is that I actually saw the congregation attendance in these services fluctuate along with the corresponding attitude of the band towards that service. In the culture where the youth service was the “cool” service, the youth group in that church was massive. And the big church service was struggling.

Then on the other hand, in the culture where big church was the band everyone wanted to be in, that service thrived while the youth service was a joke.

This really isn’t that crazy if you think about it. When everyone’s focus, attention, and attitudes are geared towards one thing, that thing will thrive. Especially when that attitude is coming from the leadership.

In both cases, our worship team culture was in shambles. We were not a unified team at all. When we become one worship team, all barriers are broken down. No one feels inferior or superior to anyone else. When the leaders are unified, it transfers beyond just the worship team and into the entire church.

2. Better Youth Band Discipleship

One thing I’ve come to notice about the Bible is that they never segregated church (or really anything) based on age. The church was simply referred to as “The Church.” I can imagine if before Jesus preached the sermon on the mount, he politely stopped and asked for all youth and children to leave because they have a different service to go to.

Now I’m definitely not saying that splitting up by age is wrong in any way, and I’m definitely not trying to invite a debate. I am however trying to drive home the idea of integration.

It’s no secret that we can learn anything better by doing. As leaders, part of job is to raise up new musicians. What better way to develop a learning musician, than to surround them with experienced musicians. It’s like miracle grow. They’re constantly in an atmosphere that is pushing them to grow and better themselves.

I found that as long as an inexperienced musician is surrounded by nothing but inexperience, the longer it takes them to level up. Why would we want to do it this way? Why not 10 times the speed of their growth?

As a side not, this is exactly why we don’t cater the lessons on Worship Online for beginners. We don’t cater towards any level, we simply teach the songs exactly how they’re played on the albums. Learning this way significantly increases the learning rate.

Taking a beginner style lesson only keeps you at the beginner level unnecessarily long instead of forcing you to grow. P.S. If you haven’t checked out our vocal tutorials click here for a demo!

When we strategically integrate our bands with all levels of musicians, we’re forcing the beginners to stretch themselves to higher levels. The most improvement I ever saw in my guitar playing was when I was surrounded by those that were better than me. I mean, why should I get better if I’m already just as good or better than everyone else?

This also gives our experienced musicians an opportunity to disciple newer musicians. I mean, that is our job right? The worship leader can’t do it all. Not to mention, everyone on your team feels important and like they are really part of the team. This significantly decreases your volunteer turnover rate.

This is very much a long term solution. Raising up new musicians creates more experienced musicians on your team and you aren’t relying only on a select few.

3. Gives way for musicians to become more servant minded

Finally, when all bands and musicians are treated as equal, the reality that musicians are there to serve is much more tangible. When an experienced musician is asked to play in a youth service, there is no complaint or feeling of offense.

Because that’s just how things work. He’s not part of the “big church team” or” the youth band team.” He or she is part of the worship team. And being part of the worship team includes any and all worship events.

Final Thoughts

The first thing that you’re going to have to do is realize that one service is not more important than the other. As long as you, the leader, believe that one is more important, it’s going to carry over to your team.

Yes, it’s more fun to play with only A team musicians. And yes, your pastor, or someone you want to impress, is probably in big church. But these immediate satisfactions are setting us up for failure. There is no long term value in segregating your band. As soon as one or 2 of your A team members leaves, you’re back to the drawing board.

An important thing keep in mind when planning your services, is that it is INTENTIONAL and STRATEGIC integration of band members. This means that some thought will have to go into planning your bands. Remember to pair inexperience with experience. And if you have to mute somebody in the house speakers, so be it. (Just don’t tell them)

Remember that if a musician is ready to play in the youth band, then they’re ready to play in the big church band. As soon as you start making one band lesser than the other is when you’ve segregated the two. It may take some time to change the old ways of thinking and make all bands and services equal, but the health of your team is worth it.

I want to know your thoughts. Do you agree, disagree, or have questions? Let us know below in the comments!

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