3764895I always get a little freaked out when somebody sends me a live worship video of some giant church and everybody on the stage is 24-years old.


Because in the actual, local church, every musician isn’t skinny and in their twenties. In most cases, praise band members represent a wider age span. I’m not faulting big churches for hiring beautiful teenagers to lead worship, but we have to understand that leading worship in the real world is very, very different.

There are benefits and challenges to musicians both young and old and I think it’s helpful to think about those that when it comes to your team. Do you know what sort of “age obstacles” your folks face? Do you have a plan to help them grow as musicians and Christ followers?

For the purposes of this post, I’m speaking of young players who have achieved a technical proficiency that would grant them the right to play in an all-church event. I’m not talking about teenager with two years of guitar lessons, but rather older teens and young adults who can hit their marks consistently.

+ QUICK STUDY: Most young players have good musical memory. They rarely need much in the way of charts or notation. Part of this is due to their ability to catch the “vibe” or overall direction of a musical piece without much explanation. Because they’re young, they probably listen to a lot of music, which helps them in a worship setting wherein a couple of different genres may be utilized.

– STUBBORN:  Young players will often be resistant to varying views on what “success” looks like in a worship setting. One of the negative side effects of the modern worship movement is that it has taken a specific few valid, Biblical worship responses/expressions and prioritized them as the proof that worship has happened. You’ll find young musicians more easily discouraged by subtle or even subdued worship services.

In this context, “old” has more to do with experience than age. (Lots of guys in their 50’s buy guitars and try to learn classic rock tunes, you know.) The category we’re discussing is represented by men and women who have played in (and out) of church for many years.

+ POCKETS: Players with years of experience are wonderful at staying out of each other’s way. They years have taught them how to listen to the other players and find musical pockets to fill. Older players seem to understand both the give-and-take of live music as well as the value of simple parts played confidently.

– CYNICAL:  Older players are a bit more suspicious of new ideas. To many of them, “real music” has nothing to do with fads, or what’s popular at the moment. Because of that, there may be push back when it comes to departures from what’s normal (or what’s been successful.) These folks have seen it all and they’re more than willing to tell you when they they you’re reaching too far.
Next week, I’ll be sharing some tips on how you can encourage and challenge your team understanding some of these age challenges.

We’ll end the post with a survey: What’s the average age of a praise band member in your church?



  1. Bob whitton

    Thanks for reminding me. First time I can say that I’m the oldest. Ugh. Avg age is probably mid to late 20’s. For me this is a change of pace. I’ve spent roughly 15 years working with high school students until the last 5 or so years. Always played with the “adults” on weekends but never allowed to lead. I can totally relate and have worked with both sides. Interesting. well, time to curl up in my rocking chair…

    • toddwright

      What are you doing up so late, old man? Don’t you have to get up early and yell at all the kids on your lawn?!!!

      Hey, how was your gig this past weekend?

      • Bob whitton

        Stupid iPhone. I had a whole reply typed out with my manly fat fingers. Try this again. Thanks for asking about the gig! It was fun. Really, how can you not have fun playing the 90’s! A little spacehog and cranberries. The martini bar was a bit creepy. Leather couches in little weird rooms all over. I didnt want to ask. Always interesting and eye opening watching the bar scene. great reminder that there are some seriously hurting people out there. But, had some good conversations. Who knows what God will do. Alright… Time to change my diaper

  2. Kelly Perkins

    At our Church (Crossroads Community Church), I would say the average age is around 35. I myself, 57.

  3. toddwright

    Thanks for commenting, guys. It’s always interesting to hear how other churches do it. As more experienced players, do you dig leading alongside younger musicians or do you wish there were other folks around who have similar playing experience? Do you feel like you carry an extra musical workloads because you’ve got more time on the other team members?

    • Kelly Perkins

      At other Churches in which I was a part of, I did feel the workload, but, I can’t say that where I am at now. We have four rotating worship leaders, which really makes for a lot of variety every week. I am on all of the teams every Sunday.

    • Bob whitton

      I love the team I have right now. All very solid musicians. This is the first time I don’t feel like I’m carrying the whole workload. Working with high school students for me was awesome but hard. Before it was fun mentoring and seeing the students grow in so many ways. but there was always an element of teaching an instrument. now with a team of adults i see them more as peers and its great not having to teach guitar lessons! Personally I’m probably having more fun now. Have more freedom. I’m in the sweet spot. Happy Fuzzy Jesus is smiling on me.

  4. Pingback: The Fragrance of Worship « Fellowship of the Forgiven

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