Church #34. Meet Stephanie Luedtke. She is a deacon with responsibilities in faith formation and worship at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington, Minnesota. With an averaging worship attendance of 200-250 people on a given Sunday, Luedtke’s position allows her to mix her passion of children, youth, and family ministry into meaningful worship.
Before Luedtke’s tenure at St. Luke’s, kids led worship through a musical a couple times a year. This would serve as the reading and was much appreciated by the congregation. Building off this work, Luedtke wants to expand the role of children in worship. Using the story of John 21:1-19, here is what she did:
Intentional Bible Study
At Wednesday Night Live: Children’s Ministry and Choirs, Luedtke and elementary age kids studied the Bible story for several weeks. She then asked them three questions:
- What images do they see and hear in the story?
- What characters do they perceive?
- How do they see themselves in the story?
From that discussion, she created a dramatization entitled Feed-My-Sheep by SL. Kids decided how many lines they were interested in or what part they wanted to play in the sketch.
Intentional Worship Planning
Luedtke says, “Kids are more than just performers! They are a part of the church today, and they have something to teach us.” Kids can usher, read, lead liturgy, pray, serve communion, collect the offering, share the announcements, and provide special music. She asked the kids with a Sunday bulletin in hand, “How would you like to participate?” With enthusiasm, each role was filled by either Wednesday Night Live kids or confirmation youth.
Kids, since they are young, need instruction to the different parts of worship. They needed to practice the readings, how to usher, and what to do with the offering. Practicing gave kids the confidence they needed to really see themselves as leaders in worship. Luedtke says, “The hope is that this service with kids at the helm will be a stepping off point for them to take a greater role and leadership in worship.”
Why does it matter that kids lead worship? It matters because of what God says when God called young Jeremiah to be a prophet in 1:4-9: The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth.”
Luedtke wants people to remember that God calls and equips all people – young and younger, old and older – into ministry, to lead worship, and to share the love of God. It’s what it means to be the body of Christ.
For more information on this story, please contact Stephanie Luedtke at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 952-881-5801.