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The Importance of Leading Students


Coming from a Christian home with a father who was a worship leader at a small church, it goes without saying that worship has always been a part of my life.  I remember watching my dad lead the congregation musically, and watching him be fully engaged in the art of worship spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  For him, it wasn’t about being a part of the team, and it wasn’t about how great of a musician he was.  For him, it was all about Jesus, and everyone at the church was able to recognize that.  He would often take me with him to rehearsals, which allowed me an opportunity to learn what being a musician on a worship team is like, allowed me to learn how to harmonize, and allow my love for worship begin to grow even at a young age.  He taught me how to sing, and he taught me how to worship.  For me, those memories are so precious and I’m so blessed to have them.

In everyday life, people get caught up in the hustle and bustle of things.  They forget why they are doing do what they are doing, and for whom they are doing it. Being a high school student, I know full well that school and life clash, but a wonderful thing about worship leading is that every time I step on that platform, the world seems to drop away.  What happened yesterday, what I’m doing for school, the conversations I had that morning, what is happening tomorrow… None of it matters.  The only thing that matters is God, and the worship that we are bringing to His feet.

Another great thing about leading my peers in worship is that I’m one of them.  They see me on that platform, and recognize that I am no different that they are.  And while my peers don’t look at me or treat me any different just because I’m on that platform, I don’t necessarily connect with them on a deeper level than I did before I was on the team, I think that leading them in worship has made my relationship with God stronger.  Tomorrow, I’m going to see them at school, talk to them on the phone, see them at our small group or go see a movie with them.  But being able to learn and grow beside them, yet still minister to them has brought me closer to Jesus.  That student-to-student connection is a very real thing.  Being a student myself, I can tell you with absolute certainty that students connect with worship differently when they’re being lead in worship by one of their peers, instead of a group of adults.  There is a sense of unity and camaraderie that takes place that is tangible, but is something that I cannot easily explain.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that adults and students cannot be fully engaged with one another in worship.  But there is a definite generational boundary that exists in situations where students are being lead in worship by someone thirty years their senior.  Intellectual, social, musical, and stylistic barriers that have to be hurdled, and it’s often hard to find adults (and students) who are willing and able to cross that boundary.  From a person who has been on the losing end of ministries where student worship was an afterthought, I cannot stress enough the importance of leading students.

Being in high school and having the opportunity to use the gifts that God has given me in service to Him has taught me a great deal about humility.  God gave me this gift, and He also gave me a love to worship Him with it.  Being able to serve on a platform where I am able to do those things is a privilege, something that I get to do.  It’s not a job for me, and it’s not something I do because I’m awesome or because I want to look good in front of my friends.  God made us all to be worshippers, and I take that part very seriously.  I am first and foremost a worshipper of Jesus.  Being on that stage in front of my peers leading them is secondary.  I am so blessed to be able to do all this at such a young age, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for the future.

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10 Responses to “The Importance of Leading Students”

  1. Sydney, I love your post! I too am a youth/high school aged worship leader. I have been leading for almost 2 years now and I have a question for you. It sounds as if you have an amazing relationship with your peers and it connects on a deeper level in your ability to worship. I struggle with this sometimes. It is hard for me to connect with some of the students and almost always end up with half of them just looking at me or our team in a daze… Have you ever struggled with this? If so what have you done to try and overcome it or be less intimidated by it? Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us! 🙂


    • Sydney Murrell March 5, 2015 at 8:22 am Reply

      Hi Cole! I’m kind of an awkward person, so it takes a lot to talk to peers that I’m not necessarily comfortable with right away. It’s okay to step outside of your comfort zone with your peers. Even just walking up to someone before service and complimenting them on their shirt starts a conversation. Ask them questions about your life and just simply be yourself!
      I’m still learning myself, so I hope this helps! Good luck! 🙂

      • Thanks Sydney! I will go for that! It is also awkward for me in situations like that, I really am not a super personable person. But it is something we all need to do! 🙂 Thanks again!

  2. very good! love your heart. I too am a youth worship leader…i’m a bit older (21) and split my time up between youth and weekend services but my heart is for the students, keep it up! God has HUGE HUGE plans for you. no doubt in my mind

  3. Great insight Sydney! I’m with Ben, God’s got some great things in store for you!

  4. Wonderful! Thank you for your contribution to the Church Collective, but more importantly, to the Kingdom!

  5. I couldn’t be more proud of you Sydney! You’re a freaking legend.

  6. Jerry Murrell and Gaynor Murrell March 15, 2015 at 3:22 pm Reply

    You have it right Sydney.
    You are a blessing to this family and I hope you know how much you are loved.

  7. “God made us all to be worshippers, and I take that part very seriously. I am first and foremost a worshipper of Jesus.”
    – Perfect reflection, Sydney!

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