Thursday, July 12, 2007

Q&A #02: Youth Camp Worship

(Before reading this post and jumping in on the conversation, please check out the explanation of the Q/A Series I posted on Read Here First! on July 10, will help you understand a little more. Thanks!)

"Hey everyone. I am leading worship this year at a camp, and I'm looking for some fresh perspectives from contemporary worship leaders. First let me say, our team is really into the Hillsongs United stuff, as well as David Crowder, Jeff Deyo, Chris Tomlin, and Charlie Hall. We have a team of honestly great musicians who love the Lord. They sound excellent...anyways...I was just speaking with the assistant dean of the camp I'll be leading worship at, and have kinda ran into a small roadblock. I sent him my songlist, and he wrote back saying that he thought I was doing too many "new" songs. That he tries to keep up with the new stuff, and that even he hasn't heard these songs. He also said that it would be frustrating for students (sr. high) to have to try and learn new songs instead of singing stuff they already know. He also said that if he didn't know them, he was sure that the campers wouldn't either. My thoughts: I want to always be singing new stuff. I think that camp is the place to introduce "new" songs. And I plan to do fewer songs, and repeat them, so by the end of camp, the kids know these songs really well. Having said that - the songs aren't that new at all.

So, any thoughts? What would you do?"

My Response:
"When I've led camp worship (several times) in the past, most of the stuff I use is new, and like you, our total song list was usually under ten songs so that we were repeating the same songs all week so they'd learn them quickly AND recall a good spiritual memory of that week of camp whenever they heard one of those's never been a bad thing. The general rule of thumb is that it takes most people at least three times hearing a new song before they really can do a good job of singing along... if you repeat a song five times in one week, that gives them enough time to learn the song and remember it when they go home.

I'd ask the assistant dean if he might be willing to trust your judgment on this and take a little risk and see what happens. If not, that's OK with you, but you really beleive that this is where God is leading you. Ultimately, you've got to submit, but it's worth a shot. Got to be honest, I've never been in your situation before of being asked to modify what I was doing when leading worship at youth camp...I've always had the honor of working with other leaders who gave this area over to me completely, and again, it always was awesome to see how God worked to bring everything together.

BTW, and this is just my rebellious mind at work...I wonder if your camp speaker(s) are going to be teaching something new this year to challenge the kids, or if they're planning on bringing the same old same old so that they don't scare the kids with something new that could lead to a freshness in their relationship with God...?"


Anonymous said...

My Question is are these kids attending a youth group..... is it possible to send the youth group some of the new songs so they can learn a couple.....

what i have found is that it doesnt take long for young people to learn new songs..... they hear it once or twice and they are loving it and singing it over and over again....

i like that comment about the speakers and if they are going to do the same old same old.

Talk to the dean and give him a cd with the songs on it....

talk to him... about trying to put new wine into old wine can't..... think about it...

MilePost13 said...

good stuff, annonymous poster... :)

I'm waiting to hear about an update for the OP on this one...I'll let you know.