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Content about Youth in public worship

September 1, 2009

This versatile drama presentation, based on the Heidelberg Catechism’s first question and answer, can be included in a worship service in a variety of settings and stages. The reading can be adapted to include five to twenty or more student readers. For Part 3, you’ll need three different colors of T-shirts for three small groups of two to three students—each of the small groups puts on a matching color T-shirt to identify them as a group. (Inexpensive colored T-shirts are available at most large craft stores.)

March 1, 2009

Sunday after Sunday, year after year, young people across the country participate in worship. What difference does it make in their lives? Most people believe that worship has a formative influence on the worshiper. But how do we understand that influence? What keeps youth involved in church and bolsters their faith?

June 1, 2007

This service centers on the theme of giving thanks for country, church, and children. Each of the three sections features a litany, meditation, and prayer that involve a number of participants from the congregation.

June 1, 2007

When children are young, they learn words that build relationships. Some come easily: “Help!” “Why?” Parents and grandparents persistently teach them to say to others: “Thank you.” “I’m sorry.” We celebrate as these words become habits. When a child without prompting tells her brother, “I’m sorry,” we know that these words are beginning to shape her life and her relationships.

September 4, 2004

It’s 102 degrees Fahrenheit outside and you’re feeling every degree. Another car alarm goes off across the narrow, pothole-ridden street; you pay no mind and neither does the police unit that’s just rolled by. The inhabitants of row houses lined block after block spill out onto their front porch stoops because it’s hotter inside than out. A mother, too young to vote, cradles her infant as she watches her nieces and nephews joyously splash in the opened fire hydrant offering cool relief.

September 4, 2004

We can never find enough musicians for our worship band or enough leaders for our worship committee.”

“Our church is dying. Once the kids turn sixteen or seventeen they leave the church and never come back.”

Comments like these represent two major crises in churches across the country, in both urban and suburban contexts:

December 2, 2002

Most Sundays when I go to worship, I feel like 80 percent of me stays in the car in the parking lot and the other 20 percent actually makes it through the front door and into the pew.” I’ve never forgotten that comment because it points to a deep truth about the character of worship: In worship we are invited to bring our entire being, together with the community of faith, into the presence of the Lord.

March 1, 1999

The computer is on. I’m staring at the screen, stuck on a phrase. Seated on chairs arranged in a half circle around me are the members of my pastor’s class. Their handwritten creeds lie on my desk. We’re involved in the creative process of pulling together their individual efforts into a statement of faith that speaks for all of us—something that includes an idea, a turn of phrase, a metaphor that each person can claim as his or her contribution to the whole. It’s hard work.

June 1, 1993

In Tales of Tittivillus, Vorsteeg, a United Methodist minister, offers the reader a hilarious collection of dialogues between church leaders and Tittivillus, a medieval devil who delights in subverting worship. Since Tittivillus is fluent in Latin, all of the sixty or so vignettes are titled in Latin, Vorsteeg's intent in producing this little paperback was "to offer in a humorous way some thoughts, suggestions, and viewpoints to stimulate, enrich, and improve our practice of worship."

June 1, 1993

This article has been difficult for me to write. I know how important music is in the church. But I also know that in many churches the area of music continues to be a battleground.

June 1, 1993

Naomi (college junior):
When I came to college as a freshman, I was really excited about the new experience. But I couldn't believe how lonely I was. I missed my family and friends, of course. But Sunday was especially bad, because I really missed my church.

What did you miss about your church?

June 1, 1993
Do young people find our worship services satisfying, uplifting, and a good vehicle for their own praise of God?

That's the question underlying this theme issue of Reformed Worship.

June 1, 1993

"If there is a God, why is this world so terrible?"

"How can we be sure that Christianity is any more valid than any other world religion?"

"If God is always with me, why do I feel as though I've never met him ? "

June 1, 1993

Call to Worship: Mark 12:28-31

This is Jesus' statement about the two greatest commandments. Thus the service begins with a foil that the minister can use later on in the sermon.

Opening Hymn: "Christ Is Alive!" (another foil)
[RSH 413, PH 108]


Read responsively the Ten Commandments, alternated with some of our Lord's moral teachings (e.g., the Sermon on the Mount). You'll find a good example on page 1013 of the worship edition of the 1987 Psalter Hymnal.

June 1, 1993

Call to Worship: John 8:34-36 and 1 Corinthians 6:12

Run these two passages together—e.g., "If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed...Am I not free?")

Law: Galatians 5:1-15

This passage deals with Christian freedom and obligation.

Assurance of Pardon: Isaiah 61:1-3

This is a tremendously liberating passage!

Hymn of Gratitude: "Make Me a Captive, Lord"
[PsH 546, PH 378, RL 442, TH 687]

June 1, 1993

Hymn of Repentance: "Out of Need and Out of Custom"
[PsH 259]


Read a selection of verses from Proverbs regarding sons and daughters honoring their moms and dads.

Prayer for Illumination:

"We confess that sometimes going to church is something we have been conditioned to do. Some of us might not even want to be here today, but felt we had to come. Speak to each of us individually. Call us by name. Your sheep hear your voice when you call them by name."

June 1, 1993

Call to Worship: 1 Corinthians 1:20-24,19,25 (in that order)

You should memorize and practice delivering the words of this passage, since it is a very powerful piece of oratory. Read the verses dramatically, with appropriate gestures.

Opening Hymn: "Come, All Who Fear the Lord God"

This hymn already reflects the fact that this service will be anti-scientism—though not anti-science.
[PsH 240]

Law: Job 28

June 1, 1993

Call to Worship: Psalm 147:1-6

This is a celebratory passage that still introduces the enigma of evil.

Opening Hymn: "God Loves All the Righteous," verses 1, 6, and 7

As we sing this song, we admit that this service will be difficult.
[PSH 73]

Psalm of Meditation: Psalm 88

This is the most raw and unresolved expression of grief in the Psalms; outdone, probably, only by Job 3.

Responsive Reading: Heidelberg Catechism 27

June 1, 1993

Call to Worship: Acts 4:11-12

Opening Hymn: "Christ Shall Have Dominion"

This song contradicts the sentiments of those who hold to Objection 6.
[PsH 541,TH 439]

Prayer for Illumination:

"Lord, why does it matter what we believe? Please show us today why it matters what we believe, why you call us to be specific when we draw near to you."

Scripture: Acts 17:16-34

June 1, 1993

The first youth service at Georgetown Christian Reformed Church (CRC), Hudsonville, Michigan, was a raving success.

"We put 120 chairs up, and they weren't enough; we needed 140," said Rev. Dan Ackerman, copastor at Georgetown. "We packed the place tight."

June 1, 1993

The retreat was coming to a conclusion. All week the young people had been struggling with the issue of leadership. On this final morning they would have a chance to exercise that leadership by planning and leading our worship together.

We waited eagerly to see what they would come up with. Would it be something totally new, filled with the rhythm of the music they live by? Would it be irreverent to our adult eyes and ears? Would we truly be able to worship with them?

June 1, 1993

What is it that makes senior pastors, youths, and worship mix like oil and water? Having recently moved from a ten-year sojourn as youth minister into the senior pastorate, I wonder if I too will be a victim of what all pastors and youth workers fear when it comes to worship— the dreaded Eutychus Syndrome, described in Acts 20:7-12.

June 1, 1993

"Hey you guys, let's put on a play!"

"Great idea, Lucy! My dad has some old boards laying around for a set. I'll get them"

"Mom threw out some curtains the other day. We can make costumes!"

"Fantastic. Who can get some paint?"

"Abby, you do publicity. Barney, see if Mom mill give you some of her lipstick.

"Can I be the bad guy? "

June 1, 1993

My husband and I have been church youth leaders for almost eight years—maybe that's longer than people should.

It's not that I don't love the job. There are times when we're coming home in our van and the whole vehicle bounces with the life of the kids in the back, singing and laughing and teasing. At moments like that I know there's nowhere I'd rather be. Sometimes the kids say some really moving things to Tom and me too—things that make us think we're being what we should be, people they can trust.

June 1, 1993
What adjectives would your teens use to describe the worship experience at your church? If they use anything but "exciting, awesome, meaningful, cool," etc., Ms article was written for you.