We want to draw our students into a closer relationship with God! And one of the ways we can do that is by helping them to worship the God who created them and sent Jesus.

But let’s be real, sometimes it looks like our students are falling asleep in worship.

Or, at least, they are more interested in their phones than in worshipping Jesus.

So how can we help students be more engaged in worship? Here are seven things to think about to help students engage in worship during youth group!

Let Them Be A Part of the Planning

Are students helping to plan the worship experience? If not, give them a seat at the table! Help them to see how the night is put together. Let them choose the songs. Give them the reins to whatever worship experience you would like to happen.

When students take leadership roles, they engage far more than when they are solely participating.

Take a Step Back

Are you up front and leading the moment? Take a step back and let students do it. They are more than capable of praying, singing, teaching, and leading. See how their peers engage when it’s not the “adults” in the room who are in charge, but the others who are on the same page as they are!

Encourage Them to Pray

Remind students that we get to talk to God! Let them pray beforehand as you plan. Let them pray as you set up. Help them lead in prayer during the actual worship service. Lead them in a prayer of thanks afterward. Help them cover the entire worship experience in prayer so they feel more engaged in worship and with their creator!

Worship in a Different Space

Are you in the same room every time you have a worship service? Think about being in a different space! As it gets colder, consider having an outdoor bonfire experience. Or maybe a different room in your building. Get students out of what they are used to to help them focus on what is in front of them.

Keep An Eye on the Clock

I remember a friend of mine was in a band that did a lot of youth retreats. LOTS of youth pastors asked them to do an hour-long worship set. It sounded great. In theory. But the reality was that students checked out a long time before the hour was up. Longer doesn’t mean a more worshipful experience. Plan things on purpose. And remember that a shorter service can be just as engaging.

Help Them Process

Sometimes, students can have a hard time understanding what they feel or think during a worship service. Help them walk through it by making observations and asking questions like, “I see you’re really quiet. Are you trying to think about what we just did?” or, “You were crying during the worship service. Was there any one thought or thing that you really connected with?”

Let Them Journal

I love a journal. Mostly because I can look back on the thoughts I had in a really emotional or connected moment and reflect on them better. Encourage students to write down their thoughts so they can think about them after the moment has passed. It’ll serve as a great reminder when they need it!

What are some other ways you may think to have students worship?

If you’re looking for an idea for your next worship night, check out these resources below!