Compression Cheat Sheet
Worship Team Member

Mentoring Young Worship Team Members

Kade Young
Kade Young
Chief Audio Guru

Having teenagers on the worship team has its ups and downs.

The best part is their raw passion - they are excited about everything. However, this burning passion doesn’t always translate into a discipline to prepare.

I remember bringing on a young electric guitar player. He proved his skill during the audition but became unreliable fairly quickly after implementing him on to the team.

The third time he was scheduled, he didn’t respond to the request and didn’t show up to rehearsal. After service, he let me know that he received the request but just had too much going on that week.

I really don’t have a problem with people declining a scheduling request, but I do have a problem with no response. So, I explained that he needs to either accept or decline, but not ignore.

As the weeks went on, he did start responding to the requests in a timely manner, but he did not come to rehearsal prepared.

Mentoring is not babysitting.

At this point in the story, I was tempted to babysit. I could text him daily to make sure he remembered to practice, or meet with him an extra day per week to go over the songs.

But, deep down, I knew this wouldn’t help in the long run. It would only enable him to be lazy with his time while he used my time to aide his own preparation.

So I had to come up with something else.

I didn’t want to just leave him out to dry, but I also couldn’t allow him to remain on the worship team in this state. Having someone on the team who doesn’t take responsibility for personal preparation is destructive to the entire team.

Give opportunities to develop discipline and prove commitment.

It was time for something to change.

Keep in mind, he knew my expectations up front - they are all outlined on the worship team application. So, we met for coffee and agreed that he needed some time to get his priorities in order. But, I also wanted him to do something in the meantime that would help develop discipline and prove commitment.

So, if he wants a chance to return to the worship team, he first has to serve on the hospitality team faithfully for six months.

Although this does not require practice throughout the week, it does require responding to scheduling requests, showing up early and learning new skills. I knew it was an attainable way for him to develop skills he needs to be a part of the worship team.

At this point, I did not sign him up for the hospitality team. I simply told him who to contact and left it up to him.

Honestly, I didn’t know if he would put forth the effort or not, but he did! He is now part of the hospitality team, and I will check in with the hospitality team leader in six months to see how he did.

Being a mentor is not easy.

There really is no set-in-stone way to mentor young folks. It is our job as leaders to listen closely as the Holy Spirit leads us to what is best for each situation. You must be willing to have the hard conversations and make the hard decisions.

Mentoring can get emotional, but what our mentees need most is for us to remain stable and consistent, whether they like it at the time or not.

Your Turn

What are some ways you have successfully mentored young worship team members? (share in the comments below)


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14 comments on “Mentoring Young Worship Team Members”

  1. Wow! I love that approach. You respected him, and you respected the other members of your team, and at the same time left the door open for his return, but the ball is now in his court on how to proceed in the future - discipline through love. This is definitely going into my tool box of how to deal with people.

  2. This is so encouraging! I direct a worship team that is made up up middle and high schoolers from the private school I teach at. They are always so pumped and excited, and it spills over to everyone! But when they are quite the opposite it effects and drags down so quickly and heavily! One student (8th grader who is my PHENOMENAL drummer) I am guiding him into being a leader on the team, is like an emotional roller coaster, especially if he's hungry! There's been moments where I have beaten around the bush, but recently I started to send him motivating texts when I can tell he has had a rough practice emotionally. He has started to shift and to realize that I'm not just an adult telling him what to do. He's helped pull in some "stragglers" back into what the group is doing. I can't wait to see how God uses him the more experienced and mature he gets!

  3. Wise words, Kade. I'm actually releasing an eBook on THIS VERY THING next week, & your example just lights me on fire! Great work mentoring/discipling younger musicians!

  4. I find myself now turning to the teens to build up our worship team. This is a great idea to teach responsibility and commitment to such an important role as being a part of the worship team.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. This is great info. Although I don't have teens on my team I do find myself at times feeling like a babysitter to my adult team members and getting frustrated at times. I will definitely be embracing this technique as well when dealing with them.

  6. This is awesome. I would only clarify that having a relationship with the the hospitality team is really important. That way it's never looked at as a lower team or viewed as the place worship team members go when in trouble.

    Having people serve in other areas should always be viewed as growth opportunities and not as punishment.

    I hope to be in a place where something like this might work at my church.

  7. Great insight, thanks for sharing. My church is hoping to start a more formalized approach to mentoring young musicians soon, so I've been looking for tips on how to mentor well.

  8. How do you deal with young people in your team on a small church? I find them very zealous at the start as you say then like a 5yr old kid, they just die down and get lazy. I constantly remind them and been firm on some responsibilities. I just wonder on a smaller team, how can they be more responsible? Right now, I just pray for every one of them that they find radical encounter with God. Pls pray for me and the team. But this article has really encouraged me. Thank you.

  9. I've been very blessed when it comes to teenagers, in that almost all that I've led have a desire to grow. When I started 5 years ago, there were three who wanted to be on the team. As of this date, two of them are studying worship at Hillsong College in Sydney, Australia, and the other is majoring in Chemical Engineering at Iowa State University. All of them love the Lord with a passion. Over Christmas break, I had them all home, and I've never been so blessed to be part of a Worship Team. Their growth has been phenomenal.

    I've got other teenagers I'm mentoring right now, and they're doing well. In fact, two of them probably prepare more than any members of the team. I consider it a God-privilege to mentor young people in this way.

    Kade, I love your approach with the teenager who needs to grow. Hopefully the seeds that are being planted on the Hospitality Team will bear fruit for you on the Worship Team.

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