Worship

A Cross Movement

At the intimate soft song part of a worship set, have one of your artsy youth paint during a song like, The Wonderful Cross. The youth should paint different sins that you face like: lust, lying, stealing, etc. in the shape of a cross. This should be done in the color black. After the cross is finished, the kid should paint a thick red line over the words in the shape of the cross. Then pour water over all of it and smeer it with his or her hand.

This is very powerful and gives a visual so that it involves more than just one of the bodies senses.

Abrahamic Covenant

The Abrahamic Covenant described in Genesis 15 is a graphic tale of God’s commitment to us. Symbolically animals are torn apart and only God passes through the pieces indicating that he alone bears the penalty if the blood convenant is broken. In this worship activity students will carry a cross through items of value to the students that are laid out on the floor of the room. The cross is the place where God paid for the broken covenant. A detailed reading of the passage must precede the activity and students should only pass through the items laid out on a voluntary basis. Following this solemn activity songs of praise should be offered up in thanks for what God has done for us through Christ, honouring his commitment in the covenant

Adoration

Adoration is an activity that basically teaches kids that worshiping is not always just singing. You have, perhaps a small group of kids. All you need is a chalkboard or a white board and one writing utensil. Play quiet music for approx. 15min. and pass the pen to one person. That person can then approach the board and write one or two words that he/she is thankful for (forgiveness). Then the student passes the pen to anyone in the room, and so on until each person has finished their own public adoration. After each student has finished allow the group as a whole to reflect upon what has been written. This way you can give your praises to God by meditating and thanking Him for what He has done.

An Acceptable Offering

Old Testament religion seemed to revolve around offerings and temple worship. Everything was given in accordance to the levitical laws. Offerings date back even further though — right to the time of Cain and Abel. One offering was acceptable the other was not. In the New Testament Jesus speaks of two men who went to the temple to pray. One prayed “about himself”. The other beat his chest and begged for mercy! (Lk 18:10-14) One’s prayer was accepted, one was not. The living sacrifice in Rom. 12:1,2 is the acceptable offering in the N.T. The real acceptable offering to God in the O.T. was not so much the blood of bulls and goats but obedience and a contrite heart.(see I Sam 15:22, Isa 66:1+2 et al). HERE IS THE CHALLENGE: COMMUNICATE THIS IN LESS THAN FORTY-FIVE MINUTES!
Here is my suggestion, but you can probably come up with one that will suit your group much better.

a) Choose four people the week before to compose two short skits. One will portray Cain and Abel, the other skit will portray the self-righteous man and the publican [Lk 18-10-14]. (They only need be three minutes each!)
b) Play the song “To Obey is Better Than Sacrifice” [by Keith Green- No Compromise] or have it done as a solo while the people are in silent meditation.
c) Sing the song “Lord You Are More Precious Than Silver”. Have the group suggest modern substitutes for the words. Sing the song using the words that they suggest (e.g. Lord you are more precious than my friends…).
d) You can take up a few different types of offerings that day.
i.) A pledge to God given on a slip of paper.
ii.) A vow of obedience in a certain area of their life.
iii.) Human Offering Plate! One by one the people can step into a rope circle on the floor at the front. When everyone is in the circle they could sing a song of surrender or dedication to Jesus. If there are too many people they can go up one row at a time or something while an offertory hymn or song is playing. The leader could pray over each group that goes to the front.
e.)If there is still some time remaining, songs of dedication, obedience and service should be sung at that time.

Bisquick Communion

Try at a retrea. Pass paper cups half-filled with Bisquick during breakfast. Get everyone to mix some liquid with the Bisquick to form a dough (milk, orange juice, coffee, maple syrup, whatever). Get each person to place their lump of dough on a greased cookie sheet. Then the dough is pressed together lightly to form a loaf but not enough to mix the individual lumps together. After the dough is allowed to rise, bake the loaf. At the communion service, the loaf is broken and passed around. Perhaps you can discuss how communion symbolizes that we are all individuals but we become one “mixed up” loaf through Jesus Christ.

Blind Worship

Try this: After an appropriate teaching time on worship, invite your kids into the sanctuary. Turn the lights down and have your worship leaders lead everyone in a time of singing and prayer: except with there eyes closed or blindfolded. Get the kids to spread out too so they can’t jostle each other around as they do this. Have a scripture reading or two that focuses on the sights and sounds of God’s creation. End in prayer.

Body Worship

We are the body of Christ. When we are gathered together we are more than just the sum of the collected parts. We need to affirm this reality in our worship. People need to sense that it was better worshipping with the whole body than being by themselves in their own room at home. Unfortunately this is not always the case, because they do have a bad experience specifically because of an the people around them. Meaningful involvement and warm experiences should help believers to appreciate worship within the context of the body of Christ. People who continually talk through the worship time, or having annoying behaviour that distracts or irritates those around him/her, should be approached lovingly to discover the reason behind their behaviour and confronted about how this is annoying others. Praying daily for those individuals who exhibit this behaviour has had a profound effect on them.

Here are some ideas that can be used to promote this sense of community in worship:

1.) Hold hands: for prayer, for praise and for songs. (Ease the group into this and remember to indicate when they can let go.
2.) Have them gather, standing together at the altar or the front of the room (especially if they are confined to pews most of the time).
3.) Let them sing in rounds, or in parts. Emphasize that harmony adds beauty but requires more than one person.
4.) Encourage improvisation. This allows individuals to create harmony and special touches to the songs. You can even distribute maracas, and tambourines at times.
5.) Do things in unison. Try reading the Bible (in the same version) or songs (on overheads or from the hymnbook) all together. Or have them repeat after you in unison. Some action songs that are not too childish can also create a sense of functioning as a body. Clapping together, or in special beats can have a similar effect.
6.) Provide interaction time in worship. Allow people a time in the service to greet those around them, shake their hands or hug, or to get acquainted. They can pray together in little groups, break bread together at communion, or choose songs together as a group.
7.) Allow them to pray for one another. Ask those requesting prayer to raise a hand, while those around them lay hands on them and pray.
8.) Promote giving as an act of worship, praise, thanksgiving and obedience. Take up offerings for special needs and allow them to see that as a body they can do so much more than as an individual.
9.) Share praise reports, and prayer requests of individuals who cannot be there or for missionaries connected with the church, sponsored children, world needs etc.
A sample body worship experience may include:
a) A body shaped graffiti sheet that each person must sign as they arrive.
b) Songs that affirm unity five or six) to begin the worship time.
c) God bless you testimonies (i.e.: testimonies that tell how God has used someone in the group to bless you. It must be someone who is present. That person must then give a testimony of how God has used someone else in the room to bless them, and so on).
d) This can be followed by a prayer time either in little groups, or needs could be suggested from the group. The group then agrees together in prayer as two or three people lead out.
e) Corporate praise can be offered — hands joined and raised while singing “We Are One in the Bond of Love” or any praise songs that affirm that WE worship Him.

Christ The Conqueror

It is not too late to give praise for victories won thousands of years ago! In fact, it is when the people of God lose sight of His wonderful works on their behalf that we lapse into idolatry, spiritual adultery, apostasy, lethargy and apathy. We need to rejoice in Christ’s victory over sin and death! “Oh grave where is thy victory? O death where is thy sting. Death is swallowed up in victory! Hallelujah!” Is this the statement of your heart today? It will need to be if you hope to convey this truth to your people.

a) Room Set Up: The room should be in total darkness. (Windows could be covered with large garbage bags if you do not have blinds or curtains that will block out the light. Have an overhead of the crucifixion (Excellent graphics of the life of Christ are available from Dawson McAllisters series on The Life of Christ) up at the front of your room as they enter. (If you don’t have access to an overhead, you may be able to put up a cross, a poster or some way to represent the crucifixion.)
b) After everyone is seated you can announce that you are gathered in honour of the greatest event in all history… “I want to take you back to Calvary. Let us focus today on the victory won for us!” (Then play “The Champion” by Carman).

Circles

Conducted during a retreat. The participants came from many different places. The goal was to try to respect their uniqueness while moving them into community during a call to worship. With masking tape, a circle is formed on the floor for each person. Lights are dimmed and quiet music is played. Group members are called into the room and remain silent… then say “Let’s worship God.” Each worshipper sits in a circle facing different directions. They close their eyes and reflect on what they left behind. Ask: “What person’s face do you most vividly see? What are this person’s problems? What things have been left undone?” Then ask youth to focus on a nearby person. Ask them to think about that person’s world, leave their circles and sit in pairs. Encourage pairs to share their earlier reflections. Then you can lead the pairs to join up with a new pair. Continue until a new community has been created.

Focussed Worship

Some of the most fulfilling times of worship with our youth group have been in the dark with just a minimum amount of light. Everyone is less concerned about who’s looking at whom and is able to focus on God. When weather permits we will hold our times of worship under the stars, in the woods, by the lake, etc. God’s creation inspires worship of the Creator. Other variations are to turn out most of the lights in your meeting room then sing and pray in “candlelight”.

God Of All Creation

This whole activity could be done outdoors and you can allow creation to speak for itself. But of you are to be indoors take advantage of that situation to provide an even wider experience of creation.

a) Have people sit on the floor. If they are uncomfortable with that have them sit on chairs with an aisle in the middle.
b.) Have animal sounds recorded (either from a sounds effect tape, or bird sounds from the Ontario Science Centre, or your own back yard).
c.) You can decorate the walls with clippings from National Geographic, maps, animal pictures, models or whatever would help people focus on the splendor of creation.
d.) Instruct the people to sit in silence for the first three minutes.
e.) Have one of the members read a creation psalm to end the silence.
f.) Lead a number of songs that exalt God as the creator: “I Can’t wait to Get to Heaven”, “Fairest Lord Jesus”, “I Sing the Mighty Power of God” and others from the first sections of many hymn books. (You may also choose to read out one of the hymns in unison.)
g.) Arrange a slide presentation of breathtaking scenes of natural beauty. You cam have an instrumental solo or play an instrumental praise tape (It might be useful to get the whole set of “Praise 1-8″?). If you can’t get slides you may be able to get a film from the public library free of charge. You can turn the sound off to help the people concentrate on the Lord. (You may also want to take up the offering at this point)
h.) Expression of Praise. Lead a few choruses then lead the people into vocally expressing their wonder and awe in God’s creation. Coach the people in how to offer up original praises that come from the heart, and not just standard praise words” — hallelujah etc.
i.) Ask for two or three people to lead out in prayer for the needs of the church, individuals and the world.

God Of The Miraculous

The focus of this worship experience is the marvelous works of God. The possibilities of this kind of service are numerous! Pick four or five miracles that you wish to highlight. Post headlines in the room that resemble newspaper clippings. E.g. “GOD WIPES OUT ISRAEL’S ENEMIES…AGAIN!” “Jericho collapses at God’s command!” Choose songs that relate to God’s triumphs, miracles, power etc. A few days in advance approach someone who will be there to give a testimony of how God has accomplished the miraculous in their life. E.g. transformation, deliverance, protection, providence, etc. Allow a time for people to praise God in the congregation as King David said that he loved to do. Have each person stand and announce one thing that amazes them about God. It can be something from the Word, something from their experience or something God has done for someone else. Limit the people to one or two sentences of praise. Give them examples like: I praise God because of the way He parted the Red Sea.” or “I praise God because He has never given up on me.” or “I praise God because He still speaks to people today like when he told Hudson Taylor to go to China!” End the worship time with corporate loud and lively praise. Songs that could be sung are: “Our God Reigns”, “We Clap Our Hands with All Our Might”, “Ye Shall Go Out with Joy”, “I Will Sing Unto the Lord for He Has Triumphed Marvelously…” etc. (El Shaddai may be a good solo if you wish to have a solo.)

Heavy Burden = Heavy Rock

Bible Refrence: Matthew 11:28-30

Gather many large rocks, not too big..but as many as you think you need….for us we didn’t have enough so they had to carry “imaginary rocks”. Youth leaders: tell the group on this walk to be completely silent. Once you get to your destination set them down and have them listen to (?”Lay your burdens down”?) tell them to reflect on one burden in particular. Then after the song ends ask for any volunteers, tell them to talk about their burden and throw it into the creek (if you don’t have a creek or pond near your church, just pitch them into the woods) I hope this helps you get your point across…it really helped me!

NOTE: Once we got down to the creek there were some gravel…those people with imaginary rocks had something to throw.

Kazoo Worship

Our group struggles with making worship too serious. Sounds crazy but they lose sight of the joy of worship. To balance this we did a teaching on joy and celebration…We topped it off by passing kazoos out to all the kids and then attempted to worship with them. Everyone had a good time and it was a needed break from our usual lights off, people crying, times of worhsip.

Light It Up

I saw the “Straight Acoustic Worship” (in EGAD!’s Worship section) article on this site and adapted it to suit my youth group. The group (about 10 persons) sat in a circle surrounding lit candles. The lights were turned off so there was a worship mood. There was a white candle for each person and in the middle a single red candle. During the prayer session we sang worship songs and prayed for each person. What made it special was that each time we prayed for a person they would get up and blow out their candle which meant that they were giving their concerns to God. When all the white candles were blown out we listened to a song on friendship then discussed our own friendship with Jesus. I was surprised by the contributions made by even the shy ones. When the discussion was through we all got up and blew out the red candle together signifying our recommitment to our friendship with God. the whole night was filled with meditation and true worship that is after the giggles were through. When they settled down the young people showed that youth can worship too.

Love Letter To God

We did this one year during our annual retreat. We prep the room to make it darker to create a worshipful environment. I first suggested that worship to God is like writing a love letter to God and led them into a few worship songs. After that, while music still playing on the background, I pull out a plain transparency on the overhead projector. I submitted to them that we want to write God a love letter publicly together as a corporate worship to Him. I invited them to come up one by one to write something on the transparency in the form of “I thank You because…” At first it took awhile for the first person to come up. But after awhile, students (and adult helpers) keep coming up to write on the transparency – make sure you prepare more transparencies in case they get filled up. It was a great experience as the whole group watches each other give thanks to God, hence, a corporate worship. At the end, we close with a prayer. It was a very touching experience for our students.

Majesty, Worship His Majesty!

Why don’t you allow other people to lead this one! Guide the group in a Bible study on the majesty of God. Assign the group Bible passages to read, such as Ps. 8, Eccl 5:1- 13 or a number of others that show that our God is a “consuming fire.” Give each of the members of the team a copy of these suggestions, but allow them to also modify them after they have read all the assigned Bible passages.
Here is the outline for the worship experience that they will lead:

a) Instruct people that they should be silent as they enter the worship area.
b) When everyone has arrived and is seated, have one member of the worship team read sections from Ecc. 5:1-7. “Stand in Awe of God” could be a banner that could be in the front of the area, or on an overhead as they enter the room.
c) Another member of the group can say something like, “We have been given an awesome opportunity because of the blood of Jesus. We are allowed to enter into the throne room of God. In ancient times if you entered the throne room and the king did not want to see you it was punishable by Death!” Hebrews chapter ten says “Let us come boldly before the throne of grace.” Let us go into the throne room of God. In ancient times if you entered the throne room and the king did not want to see you it was punishable by death!” Hebrews chapter ten says “Let us come boldly before the throne of grace.” Let us do that today, in humility, and in the knowledge that this is only possible because of the blood of Jesus. Let us enter his presence by the blood of Jesus, by allowing him to cleanse us by his blood – Let’s sing (Lord I’m Sorry, Create in Me a Clean Heart, My Eyes are Dry or any other songs of confession and commitment.)
d) Another member of the group can go on from there saying, “Now that we have been purified in Christ’s blood, as it says in I John 1:9 we can “Enter his gates with thanksgiving in our hearts and enter his courts with praise! Lets stand and do just that! (Sing I Will Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving in My Heart … and about six or seven lively worship choruses.)
e) Another member of the team can then read the account of Isaiah’s vision of God in the temple. Is. 6. Then they can say “I want you to close our eyes and envision the presence of the Lord in this place. He inhabits the praises of his people. It is not so much that we enter his presence for the Lord is everywhere. When our hearts are in the right state then are we able to finally experience Him in His fullness. Let’s continue to prepare our hearts for an encounter with God. As you close your eyes I want you to consider, meditate upon his holiness and majesty in this place right now. (Sing: He Is Lord, God, Here, Humble Thyself in the Sight of the Lord, Come Let Us Worship and Bow Down, Jesus We Enthrone You … etc.)
f) One of the members can then say, “The Lord is here. He is here in his majesty, for wherever two or more are gathered in His name he is there in the midst of them, open up to Him and experience His presence in this place.” — Then lead right in to “Lift Up Your Heads to the Coming King, Majesty, I Exalt Thee, Hallelujah etc.. “.) Following this there should be a time of praise, spontaneous and exuberant from the heart. If the worship team can be very free in worship it will definitely encourage others to voice their praises to God.
g) As the praises die down, initiate a period of silence to wait upon God. Pray in your hearts that there will be a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. After that prayer requests can be offered up for the lost, loved ones, needs of the congregation, missionaries and any special requests. This should be followed by further praise and thanks. The offering could be taken up as a final act of worship in the service.

Pain of the Crucifixion

Have everyone hold one nail in their right hand, one nail in their left hand, and keep one nail between their feet. Then have them lean against a wall in the crucifixion position with two arms stretched out. Play worship songs about the love, pain, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. Have the lyrics on the screen so that the youths can sing along. This way they will have a better understanding of the physical pain of Jesus while he was crucified. Have them put their arms up as long as they can, and put them down when they’re tired, but put them up again as soon as possible. Their arms should be getting sore and throbbing. They will probably put their arms down to rest more and more often. Emphasize how much more Jesus was hurting with the skin on his back ripped open, the thorns on his head piercing his skull, injuries and bruises all over his body, and the nails actually nailed through the bones and veins of his wrists and ankles.

Praise & Prayer Night

To encourage youth, lift them up, and teach them about worshipping God have a Praise & Prayer Night. In our church, we have many youth that are musically inclined (many play guitar, sing, or drums). Encourage youth to meet on a regular basis (i.e. third friday of every month) to play and sing praise and worship songs to God. Everyone can get involved, youth who don’t know how to play an instrument can sing, or bang a tamborine. Have the coordinator pre-select a set of songs, about a dozen, to teach the kids. Make copies of the music to distribute to each youth so they can practice when they go home. Next time you meet mix half songs you did from the previous month and half new ones. Open and close this time with group prayer so your group can bond with eachother and grow closer to God. Take the opportunity to teach them that worship is not a show or playing for people, but homage and adoration to God.

Sin Burning

I listed the age group as mid-late adol. simply because there is an element of maturity needed to understand the full power of this activity. You can use your own judgement, though.

This activity also requires using fire, so please do not do this activity indoors, and have a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher ready, just in case.

I’ve used this at camp several times and it has been a life changing activity for several people I’ve known. Here’s how it works.

1. Make sure that everyone knows that this is a serious activity and that we should shift our hearts and minds into a place of worship.
2. Distribute pencils and pieces of paper (5.5 X 8.5, or roughly a piece of notebook paper cut in half) and ask the kids to write a personal letter of confession to Jesus. Tell them that no one will ever see what they are writing and that they will be burned immediately after (This helps them be more honest in what they write.) Encourage them to open up completely and honestly, since Jesus knows us so well anyway, he’d know if we were bluffing.
2. Have them find a private place to write these letters (under a tree, at a picnic table, etc). Make sure they are well seperated. Give them about 10 – 15 minutes.
3. After time is up ask them to come back to the group in silence. Have a metal bucket with you and ask them to come up one at a time. Take and light the first letter on fire and drop it in the bucket. Each of them puts their letters in the fire one by one.
4. When the last letter is put in the fire, have them make a circle around the bucket, and say a prayer of thanksgiving to Jesus for taking the sins. Allow them to watch the fire burn. This can be very powerful, to watch your sins burning away in front of your eyes.
5.After the fire has gone out, stir the ashes around in the bucket until they are completely out and have cooled. While singing “Humble Thyself in the Sight of the Lord” or some other song, have each kid come up and use the ashes to form a cross on their cheeck (I personally use cheek, because the forehead seems a bit too sacramental to me — pastors or other ordained folk can make a judgement call on that one).

End in Prayer. You might be surprised how long they leave the cross on their cheeck. I initially thought that they’d wipe it off as soon as we were done, but they kept it on for the rest of the night! It served as a tangible reminder of the love of Christ.