Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Where Should Teens Worship?

This topic has come up a lot lately.

Some churches have teens in the general worship service. A few even give teens significant responsibility there. The idea is that everyone should worship together as a church family and that this will give teens a sense of belonging to the wider group.

Other churches hold a separate, concurrent service specifically for teens. The idea is that teens are interested in different topics and different worship styles than adults and a separate service will draw them in and give them a sense of ownership.

Personally, I hold with the first group. Teens should be required to struggle with complex and controversial ideas and be challenge toward adult thinking and understanding.They are very capable of this and that capability should be respected.  Even younger children can actually be a part of all-church worship service.

Yes, teens need ownership of something. A well-run youth group, meeting at a different time than worship,  can offer that, especially if youth have their own physical space within the building to (within reason) make their own.

The trend, though, seems to be toward option two and there are some good arguments for that as well.

What do you think? Where should teens worship?

If you are in youth ministry, check out CYC a two week conference for youth that meets in August on the beautiful southern coast of Maine.


  1. I happen to agree with you. In the church where I grew up children under the age of 12 are dismissed for Children's Church. (When I was growing up we just had a nursery). If teens are expected to start making adult decisions it is important for them to be part of the adult community. Youth Group is a great place for the "other stuff."

    1. Good point about decision making.

  2. I like including teenagers in worship as much as possible. We are called to unity in the Body of Christ. Sadly, sometimes it's the churched adults who've created the schism by their disrespect to teenage attendees, especially the unchurched or not-much-churched. Rather than welcoming and encouraging young people, teaching them what is expected in a worship setting and modeling respect for their "space" and individuality, teenagers are often greeted with judgement and criticism. Why participate or return to a place where "scribes and pharisees", congregants seen as hypocrites attend? It might only take a spark to get the fire going, but all it takes is ONE person to snuff it out.

    of interest:

    1. Yes, I have found this, too. We do need to change attitudes to take down barriers.