Leading Multigenerational Worship: 9 Best Practices
If you lead worship in a local church, there’s a good chance it is multigenerational worship. Unless you’ve specifically planted a young adult church or are leading a youth movement, you have middle schoolers to great grandparents in your church, gathering to sing together.
Sound like fun?
It’s actually one of the most challenging aspects of local church, worship ministry. Worship wars. Too many preferences. If our goal is to make everyone happy, it’s an impossible task.
It takes big vision. It takes collaboration. It takes have an expansive view of the Kingdom that is more than sounding cool and singing popular songs.
9 Best Practices
Are you up for the challenge? Here are nine best practices for leading multigenerational worship:
1. Become an Arranger – You can get away with modern, aggressive songs as long as it’s positioned well in a set. Oftentimes a worship set contains three songs that are all driving, rhythmic and loud. You’re not helping yourself with that. Arrange the set to contain ups and downs, high energy and space. Grow in your skill as an architect the whole worship experience.
2. Focus on the Voice of the People – Don’t be so concerned with how you and your band sound. Place emphasis on the corporate singing of God’s people. No matter the set, I always (every-single-time) utilize voice-only moments for people to sing. Even using drums-only choruses to encourage the church to rise up is so helpful. How you lead is way more important than what you lead.
3. Learn to Love Old & New – The church is old and current. We stand on the shoulders of saints who have gone before. Our worship liturgy should include new and old expressions. If you don’t love that, learn to love it. It’s important.
4. Connect Off the Stage – Rather than just hanging out with your band backstage, go start conversations with the old ladies in the back row. Look them in the eye. Pray with them. Also hang around the youth. Don’t be shy. Force yourself into situations where you have to talk and interact with all generations. Make a connection off the stage.
5. Get Creative – Creativity and relevancy doesn’t have to be edgy and loud. If you’re wanting to shake up your sound, Hillsong Young & Free isn’t the only option. Do a whole set with cello and drum pads. Try three acoustic guitars and no electric. Use more piano. Sing without your acoustic guitar. Bring a vibraphone on stage with an electric guitar playing swells. No approach is sacred. Get creative.
6. Love Jesus – Nothing connects the generations like a love for Jesus. This can’t be overstated. They may not love your music but they will follow your pursuit of God, provided it is genuine and real. Make that the center of all that you do—a wild pursuit of His presence.
7. Cast a Big Vision – Multigenerational worship isn’t simply a battle between soft and loud music, or new and old songs. It’s a leadership problem. It takes a leader who believes in the multigenerational church, deep in their bones. Have conversations with people. Cast vision from the platform. Paint a compelling picture for the church you’d like to see and be ready to fight for it.
8. Collaborate With Your Lead Pastor – It’s possible that no one knows multigenerational worship like your lead pastor. They may not be a musician or have experience leading worship, but they know their people. Be proactive about starting conversations about how you can serve the congregation better in worship.
9. Look at the Big Picture – Most worship leaders think in terms of songs—one fast song, two slow songs. Rather than just thinking in terms of the songs you’re going to sing, consider the wider story of the Gospel. Think in terms of an immersive experience in the presence of God. This includes songs, but can also include Scripture, exhortation, spoken words, videos and other creative elements.
I’d love for you to add to this list. What is missing? How have you developed a culture of unity among generations?
This article originally appeared here.