Let There Be Acolytes!
10 Hidden Benefits For Young People
Acolytes = Leaders
Quick! When you think of leadership in the church, what roles do you think of? Priests and deacons? Church staff? Choir directors? Ministry leaders?
Do you ever think about acolytes?
You should, because these young people, whose often un-noticed presence facilitates almost every service, embody true servant leadership. For a sense of why acolyting is an important and formational ministry, I interviewed members of the acolyte corps at my church. Ranging from 4th grade to college senior, here are ten conclusions they shared about their ministry.
10 Hidden Benefits of Acolyting
1. Acolyting is essential
Think of services where no acolytes are present. Much of the beauty and the glorious pageantry is missing. Processions without torches and crosses, and a Gospel reading without anyone to hold the book? Not as impactful. Furthermore, services without acolytes means clergy have less support when preparing Communion, and facilitating worship.
2. Acolyting allows young people to be active participants in worship
Everyone I spoke with echoed the same refrain. They felt much more engaged in the worship service by playing an active role rather than sitting in the pews. Even young people who reported that their parents had at first “forced” them to acolyte, expressed a newfound connection to worship and an enthusiasm for being at church.
3. Acolyting is intergenerational
A young person who acolytes is more likely to feel a connection to adults serving in other worship-related ministries: clergy, altar guild members, greeters, ushers, lectors, lay eucharistic ministers, and choir members.
This is truly important! Young people who connect to generations of adults in the congregation – rather than only forming relationships with youth peers – are more likely to feel a deep connection to their church community. Faith formation is strengthened by these intergenerational relationships.