How do you pull off a practical worship teams boot camp for your middle and high school student led worship teams?

At our church we are blessed to have 4 youth worship bands, (with 6 students in each band playing either electric or acoustic guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, singing background vocals or leading and each band is made up of middle and high school students. We even have extra students as substitutes and a mentor and mentee program set up and I will speak to that later in this post, but first about the boot camp.

Today, we successfully pulled off our 1st boot camp for students, both current students on the schedule and new students who want to learn and the boot camp was lead my students. About a mouth ago, a couple of students came to me with the idea and we created the schedule and figured out what we wanted to teach. The whole process was very natural and the things we focused on were very common things all the youth bands needed to work on including communicating-learning to speak a common language-, listening and learning some practice skills on specific instruments. We met for 2 hrs and the structure was welcome and empowering by the church Worship Pastor (its always great to have the Worship Pastor on board), small group for time for 20 minutes, which focused on getting to the know the other people play your same instrument and how they play their instrument, large group time on the main stage, where students rotated in and practiced specific skills and got immediate feedback from their small group leader. FYI – each small group leader was an older high school student or college student who has had lots of experience playing with multiple bands and developing their craft. Then after about at hour of large group time, we went back to our original small groups and got empowered, got pray, talked about our strengthens and weaknesses, and each student left with at least 1 practical thing they would work on.

Over all it was a great 1st Worship Teams boot camp for out students! Our plan is to do more in the future! If you would like more specifics on the event and how to start one up at your church, let me know.

This wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t tell you even with all the preparation, the event had some things that we will do differently next time, but I know with the Holy Spirit in charge and leading the way, we will know what to do better and differently next time!! Thanks.

Finally, said I would talk little about the mentor and mentee program. The idea came from our current student ministries philosophy and ministry. We currently use student led small groups. The student leaders in high school are chosen by our high school pastor to lead a group of students there own age, or close to their own age. They also report to a higher leader, which is usually a young adult or parents and we call them a coach. In the Revolution Student Ministries Worship teams, since have both middle school and high school youth, we have a mentor and mentee program set up. Basically an older more experience youth on a certain instrument mentors a younger less experienced youth the same team. At this point only have implemented the programs with our drummers, but all sections could eventually use and benefit from this system. For example 2 drummers are assigned to the same band. I should also mention we have 2 rehearsals times set up each week, one on Sundays from 1-3 and the other one before Wednesday youth group starts (so from like 5:30-7). The Sunday rehearsals are used at song selection times and working on a specific skill time, like communicating with your band and working through entire songs. Also, Sunday rehearsals are used so that both the drummers, the younger one and the older one both get lots of playing time on the drum set. After the rehearsal the mentor drummer (older and more experienced) will meet with the mentee drummer and decide if they are ready to play the following Wednesday. The worship leader for that band is usually part of that discussion too and sometimes I am too. If they decide that the mentee is not ready to play on Wednesday the mentee will not bring their sticks to the Wednesday rehearsal and the mentor will play the following Wednesday. If the mentor decides the mentee is able to play, they will play either 1-2 song in the set. This program is still a work in progress, but we are working out all of the kinks.

Your friendly Revolution Student Ministries Worship Director,
Kurtis Decker

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