Sunday, 1 May 2011

Let the Youth lead our movement

Well, I’ve done it at last!

I’ve been leading worship for nearly 5 years and kept to the hymn sandwich used at every chapel I’ve been to. Opening words, hymn, prayer, reading, hymn etc, etc, etc. I’ve known that the younger generation have been crying out for something more spiritual, something that speaks to them but I’ve done as I was told and done what was expected of me by older congregations who see no reason to change what to them ‘has always worked’.

A couple of years ago I sat through worship prepared by young people and was completely mesmerised by the depth of their spirituality which spoke to my heart in ways Sunday worship rarely achieved. I could see clearer than ever how behind the times our chapels are. How do you get the young into our places of worship when their needs are so different from the older generations?

I’ve wanted to lead a new style of worship ever since those young people showed me how wonderful it could be. Today I did it. My guinea pigs were the wonderful congregation at Chorlton Chapel who are already used to involving all sorts of different things in their worship. Chorlton have long been doing what other chapels refuse to even attempt, they are a Minister’s dream come true and they provide the blue print to our spiritual future. I guess it was a little cowardly of me to make my first attempt at new worship at such an already open chapel but you have to start somewhere and I figured I’d get a much more constructive feedback from people used to doing new things.

There was no sermon/address, the old ‘Order of Service’ was thrown out. The congregation joined in with two prayers, four hymns (from our modern and upbeat purple hymn book ‘Sing your Faith’) and a discussion on Spiritual places and what speaks to our own spirituality. I felt wonderful afterwards and the congregation seemed to think I’d done well too which is what really matters.

If only I could find a way of introducing this style to the other chapels who are so afraid of change.

One of the Unitarian youth leaders is thinking of starting a completely new service for our younger people rather than them keep having to wait for their spirituality to matter at Sunday Worship. She asked me, among many others, for ideas and whether we would be able to help. I don’t know if she reads this blog but if she or one of the other youth leaders does, I’ve already said I’ll help but I’d like to add the following:-
‘Get it going girl, I’m hungry for it. This new style of worship is so much more fulfilling I don’t just want to be involved ......... I NEED TO BE INVOLVED’

To all church goers .............. young people can teach us a spirituality we never even dreamed of. Make them your leaders. We should be learning from them and not the other way round.

I think I’ve caught the bug and I don’t want to find the cure 


  1. Well done Shammy..... Wish I could e out there to help . May God Bless You xxxx

  2. Well done. Yes you're right, young people can teach us so much about spirituality. When my daughters were younger they had a wonderful youth group leader who introduced them and our church congregation to other styles of worship.
    Sadly she moved on, but our church has not. May God guide and bless you in your work.xx

  3. Bright blessings on the work - you are so right xx

  4. I think sharing and discussion are really worthwhile, and hope to see much more of it in Unitarian services. Also more celebratory and symbolic styles of ritual (the hymn-sandwich is technically liturgical ritual), and indeed more ornate liturgy. Also I think we need to do more in circles!