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April 2022

Train Up A Child  

by Bryan Royals

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)

So there’s this old saying that you should never work with animals and children. And while the likelihood you’ll work with animals in church ministry is pretty slim (other than maybe a spirited Christmas or Easter presentation), chances are you will have students around your church that are eager (or may need a little encouragement) to volunteer in your worship and tech ministries. 


Let’s just start with the obvious – working with kids can be really tough! If you haven’t spent much time working with students in a ministerial capacity, you should know that they’re not always the easiest volunteers. But just because teenagers aren’t easy to work with, doesn’t mean leaders should avoid giving them opportunities to serve. Rather, what would it look like to welcome more young people on your team? As Psalm 127:3 teaches:


“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.”


The young people in your congregation are a gift! And it is your job as ministry leaders to recognize the ways you and other leaders can not only utilize them and create space for them to serve but also disciple them.  


The Church is for all people of all ages and abilities and lifestyles and giving teenagers and students a place to learn and grow and serve is so important. The book of Matthew records Jesus saying, 


“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

For most ministries, especially worship and tech, finding (and keeping) quality volunteers takes a lot of energy. Training them to do what you do need them to do takes even more. And as you most likely know well: kids and younger folks can be extremely difficult to keep focused and on task. However, working with students is immeasurably rewarding and worth it.

Do you need some practical ideas of where you could plug young people in with your worship and tech teams? 

  • Allow them to serve in your church’s children’s ministry! If your congregation does any kind of kids’ worship service that requires audio, video, or lights, this would be a great “training ground” for students who are just getting started. Your children’s church absolutely deserves excellence, but in the event of a little “goof,” an audience of kids will be much more forgiving. 
  • Empower them to serve their own youth group! Many students, especially technically inclined individuals, are often looking for ways they can engage with their peers and contribute to the gatherings they are a part of. Running tech for youth gatherings is a great way for students to feel valued within the ministries that are created for them.  
  • Train them to serve in main service gatherings! It may initially feel risky to give a teenager the same responsibility you might give an adult, but most kids these days are super tech savvy. With good training during rehearsals and opportunities to shadow “the pros,” they will most likely rise to the challenge. A great role to start younger volunteers on is something extremely user-friendly like running video through MediaShout. (shameless plug!)


Ministry teams are more than just having warm bodies in the booth, behind a camera, or in front of a console. As a leader, you have the unique privilege to pour into the lives of your volunteers, and if you have the heart and the capacity, allow some of those to be students. 


Many of us would never be in the place we are without the opportunity early in our lives to contribute to our local churches. And furthermore, many of us would not be the people we are without leaders and mentors who took the time to disciple us. It’s often those that we serve alongside that we learn the most from. Just who you are as a person can be so influential to so many of those on your team. 


Intentionally inviting young people onto your teams will have amazing effects not just in the here and now, but for the ongoing Kingdom work. Not only will they fulfill a real need you most likely have within your ministry, but you also have an opportunity to train up a child in the way they should go. And the impact of your discipleship could truly be endless. 

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
– Deuteronomy 6:6-7


About the author:

Bryan is an Alabama native who holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Mobile where he studied Church Music. He served the Church for over seven years in children’s, youth, and worship ministry in Orlando, Florida. Bryan now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and when he’s not doing marketing work or performing on stage, he’s maybe attempting to run or workout then canceling that out with some kind of cheese-covered food.


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