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Student Worship Primer - Paul Guffey

  • Updated Feb 01, 2002
Student Worship Primer - Paul Guffey
Welcome to the first in a series of regular commentaries here in Musician Resources on the Music Channel at focusing on the hottest movement among students today: STUDENT WORSHIP. To write it we've chosen {{Paul Guffey}}, worship leader and twenty-year student worship veteran. He is also the creator and producer of Word Music's "==Student Worship Collection==" resource kit. The goal of this column is to focus on various aspects of student worship while giving you practical advice that will help you in your student ministry. Enjoy!

Like a fire out of control, students all over the world are pursuing God with a renewed sense of passion. Their appetite and desire for authentic worship is growing and they long for intimacy with their Creator. I appreciate this opportunity to get to know you and express my heart about this exciting area of ministry. It is my desire that this cyberlink be full of ideas you can use to build and develop student worshipers in your church.

Let's start with a running list of practical tips and ideas you can use daily. I welcome your input so please send me your thoughts and comments as well. My email address is I will look forward to hearing from you.

Okay... here we go. If it is your desire to unleash the power of students worshiping, then here are a few suggestions to help get you there: Numero Uno... Make prayer a priority for both you and your students! God will honor your prayers on the behalf of your students and will yield a harvest of worshipers who love Him and enjoy the meaning of true worship!

Now that you are tuned into the importance of prayer, let's do an overview of tips covering:

Developing Students Who Can Lead
Planning A Student Worship Service
Using A Student Band
Technical Considerations
The Goal In Worship
More Ideas

Developing Students Who Can Lead

*Use as many students as possible to lead weekly meetings. There are a million things they can do if they are given the chance. Their peers will love it and they will surprise you with their ability to move the crowd.

*Strategically cultivate and pour your time into developing students who have the talent and heart for becoming student worship leaders. In time, they will take over and direct the whole service for you!

*Encourage and challenge these students to spend time studying scriptures on worship.

Planning A Student Worship Service

*Welcome students to the meeting with some upbeat and energetic music playing in the background.

*Try to be creative and sometimes unpredictable in your flow of the entire meeting. You can keep them out of a rut by using a mix of upbeat high-energy choruses, praise songs, students solos, student-led drama, prayer, student testimonies, instrumentals, scripture and congregational readings, crazy skits & crowd-breakers, etc.

*Integrate video wherever possible. Remember, this is a "techo-generation."

*Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. He may want to go in a different direction once you've begun the service. If you'll follow, He'll take you right to the Father's throne.

*Have trained counselors ready to help if you have an altar call or decision time.

*Keep the order of worship simple.

*If possible, select music that flows with your Bible study.

*Try to start on time, but show grace and flexibility where needed.

Using A Student Band

*When using a student band, don't be too focused on how good (or bad) they sound. Just keep encouraging them.

*Make sure the band and worship team arrive early and are prepared.

*Keep all attitudes in check. Satan will try to work his way in and vent himself in the ego and attitudes of the worship team and band members. Humbleness is a key to their success!

*Buy guitar strings for your guitarists. They'll love you forever!

Technical Considerations

*If using an overhead, make sure it's working. Have an extra bulb close by.

*Make it a priority to buy a good sound gear.

*Don't get bogged down with too many technical details that can distract you and the students away from the simplicity of worship.

*Minimize distractions (i.e. close doors & windows to shut out noise, etc.).

The Goal In Worship

*Remind your students that the goal in worship is to be transparent before the Lord. Encourage them to open up and let Him reveal areas of sin that don't please Him. Remind them that Isaiah 59:1-2 says that if there is sin in their heart, He doesn't even hear them!

*Teach students that true worship is our response to understanding who God is and how we can glorify Him daily! Romans 12:1

*Don't be afraid of taking students deeper into worship. They will surprise you at just how far they can go.

*Challenge students to become daily worshipers and let worship invade every area of their life.

*Stay focused on exalting and worshiping Jesus; the rest is just details.

More Ideas

*Here are some great worship resources for your music library:

-The ==Student Worship Collection== resource kit from Word Music
-Our Soul's Desire/Passion Praise & Worship from Choice Resources
-The Ultimate Youth Projects from Word Music
-Extreme from Brentwood Music
-Mercy Me's praise & worship kit from Shepherd Ministries

*Enlist parents who have a heart for student ministry and will pray for them on a regular basis. Encourage them to pray next door while the meeting is under way.

*Try to establish a designated "student" meeting area, preferably a room they can decorate with their favorite Christian music posters, Scriptures, etc. . . This will give them a "safe" environment and encourage them to open up during moments of intimate worship.

*Occasionally invite your pastor and other staff members to your meetings. Students need to see their pastor and staff worshiping away from the "Sunday morning setting."

I hope these tips and ideas will help you as you challenge your students to transition from simply being singers into whole-hearted worshipers of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our goal as leaders should always be to teach students a correct understanding of Biblical worship, not just one that seems to fit the trend of the day. Your investment will pay off as they grow into adulthood having these same Biblical principles and values instilled in their lives. These are the students (and future adults) that God is looking for and these are the ones He will use to change the world.

Remember, prepare them for eternity...teach them to worship!

Paul Guffey

Paul Guffey is a nationally recognized worship leader and creator/producer of Word Music's "The Student Worship Collection" resource kit. His ministry as a student worship leader spans several denominations, hundreds of events, and thousands of students. Twenty years in ministry has given him unique insight to the world of student worship. He is an ordained minister and father of four who also leads a worship band at his local church.

Paul also leads worship at retreats and conferences annually. For more information about bringing him to your church, drop him an email at or call 1-888-9WORSHIP.

This article copyright 1999, The Worship Training Center and WorshipHim Resources. Photocopy permission is limited to local church use only. Not for resale or republication in any form.