Yesterday was Youth Sunday. Youth from 6th-12th grade led every single element of two worship services, including composing most of the liturgy and preaching. They did great, of course. They always do.
It is finally dawning on me that leading a worship service is not the most challenging thing these young people have to do in their lives. I think the schools they go to and the pursuits they are committed to demand more practice and more poise of them than leading a prayer, probably even more than writing and delivering a sermon. So Youth Sunday, for me, is becoming less focused on preparing a group of youth for the challenge of leading worship and more focused on inviting them and equipping them to take advantage of a terrific opportunity.
It is a gift to remind a congregation, “In Jesus Christ we are forgiven,” as the leader of the Assurance of Pardon gets to do. It is a gift to call the church to offering, to lead it in prayers for the world, and to share with it your reflection on a Biblical text. Perhaps not more challenging than a euphonium recital, serving as a worship leader is uniquely cool, both for the leader and the led.
It is an opportunity they relish. You can see it.
Thanks be to God.