I’ll never forget my first youth choir. 

Getting started was a daunting experience. 

The suspense leading up to the first rehearsal nearly derailed me and stopped me from pressing on.

But I’m so glad that I persevered!

There’s nothing more rewarding than teaching youth about the importance of worship – what it is, what it means, and how to participate and lead well.

Here are 6 essential steps for starting a youth choir.

1.) Get your church’s youth pastor on board.

This is the first and most important step.

Don’t repeat the mistakes that many music directors have repeated time and time again.

There’s no competition in ministry.

Well, there is, unfortunately, but this is wrong and harmful.

Your job will be so much easier and enjoyable if your church’s youth pastor is excited about the new youth chorus and 100% in support of you.

2.) Communicate well.

Of course, we all realize the importance of communication.

We think it. We say this. But do we really believe it?

Communication is important.

But even more important is STRATEGIC communication.

  • Here are a few proven, strategic communication tips – Set the first rehearsal date extra early and plug it to your church via printed materials and social media. Hype it up. Tell them that something is coming, but don’t give it away just yet.
  • Next, send old-fashioned handwritten invitations to every eligible kid in your church’s youth group. This adds a nice personal touch and really shows that you care. You’ll be surprised to see just how much handwritten notes mean to a generation whose primary means of communication is through text and social media.
  • Make a verbal announcement in front of the entire congregation 3-4 weeks before the first rehearsal. And then repeat this verbal announcement the week before and on launch day.

3.) Make the first rehearsal memorable.

Music ministry is exciting!

You want your youth choir to walk away amazed at the wonderful opportunity to serve and lead in worship.

Yes, you want to make progress rehearsing music at the first rehearsal, but show them that you care by making the first rehearsal extra special.

Here are a couple of ideas for you –

  • Have treats at the first rehearsal (and maybe most rehearsals). Youth love food. Especially sweet treats! Now you don’t want them chomping down during the rehearsal, so have them come a bit early to enjoy food and fellowship.
  • Consider giving away a small gift, such as an iTunes gift card, at the end of the rehearsal to some lucky winner who picks a lucky number or wins some other game.
  • Be real and have fun! Youth are smart. Don’t be fake. Be genuine. Don’t second guess yourself. They WANT to be there. They’re excited, even though they act too cool sometimes.

4.) Hand out a calendar at the first rehearsal.

Let’s be real; this one is more for the parents.

It’s important to give them a calendar outlining rehearsal dates and special events.

Remind them of it at the second rehearsal.

And then remind them again : )

5.) Get them involved in worship quickly.

It’s super important to have your young choristers present in worship soon after rehearsals start.

This helps kick-start momentum and serves as a powerful testimony to the congregation.

Youth involved in leading worship is a wonderful thing!

6.) Look for opportunities for collaboration.

Look for opportunities for your youth choir to collaborate with other music groups in your church – adult choir, praise team, handbells, solo instrument, or small instrumental ensembles.

This is a healthy practice and helps keep things fresh and exciting!

And it teaches young men and women and serves as a reminder to old men and women that we’re all in this together.

To quote the old Methodist hymn, “the church is not a steeple, the church is a people.”

If you think we can serve you in an even deeper way, then consider joining the fantastic Music Director Pro Community!