Hillside has a long-standing tradition of embracing intergenerational worship. For more than 40 years now, our church has shown in a variety of ways that God is worthy of our worship, no matter the age.
From being led by some of our favorite adults on stage in worship gatherings to the next generation of worship leaders (Student Ministry worship team, KidKrew, and KidSing choir), Hillside has been blessed with incredible talent over the years that continues to draw our people closer to Jesus.
In early 2019, as a church that has recognized the beauty of intergenerational worship, members from the Hillside worship team were invited to participate in a panel at Azusa Pacific University and share some of their learnings.After attending the worship summit, the team decided to apply for an $8,000 grant being offered through the Lilly Endowment Inc. According to a press release from APU, the grant would “help churches imagine new ways of engaging in intergenerational worship arts ministry and leadership… and fund new programming and resources to support the spiritual development of youth through worship and the arts.”
So, over the summer, Worship Intern Ashley Tschetter drafted a proposal for the grant that would in large part fund a dream Hillside has had for many years – of continuing to see our elementary students led in live worship during weekend gatherings, as KidKrew had shown for years in our Kids Ministry, but this time, with the addition of discipleship and a live band.
In the proposal that was drafted, it explained that the worship team wanted to “continue developing a pipeline initiative to train up our kids and students to confidently lead their peers and others in worship… and to better disciple the kids and students to pursue lives centered on worship.”
As part of the project, Hillside hoped to establish a framework in which adult musicians and music directors would mentor the young, student leaders leading worship in a way that would equip them both spiritually and skillfully.
God gives unique gifts to each person and by pressing into these abilities and passions, we can collectively use them to further His Kingdom and be a part of His work right here in our church and local cities.
When we equip our youth with the tools and knowledge that would help them grow in their leadership skills and talents, they will grow more confident in how God has designed them and can lead their peers in a more genuine worship experience.Worship Coordinator Maya Hairston said seeing the way Hillside values intergenerational worship has been a delight and privilege for her to witness over the past three years.
“From the time I began as an intern at Hillside, I was wildly impressed with how intentionally our leadership focuses on creating and encouraging opportunities for students and young leaders to step into their God-given gifts,” Maya said. “Authentic worship is transforming young and seasoned hearts, alike. I’m overjoyed that our growing worship culture is extending to, and in many ways launching from, our youngest spaces.”
Over the summer, Hillside attended another worship panel summit at APU and brought along some students to help lead worship for the opening night. It was a night of celebrating and sharing the beauty of what Hillside holds here in our worship spaces.In fall 2019, the worship team was notified that they were recipients of the $8,000 grant to fund their project, and over the following months, started preparing for what would be a powerful shift in Hillside Kids.
Ashley helped usher the project along, assisting with the updating of classroom sound systems, coordinating rehearsals with band members and production teams, and attending programming meetings to plan out the worship sets.Worship Director Harmony Bathauer said seeing Ashley take the reins of this project has provided a full-circle experience that she believes God will use in a powerful way to reach the next generation of worship leaders here at Hillside.
“Ashley started as a student of some of our programs here at Hillside and has flourished under the mentorship and teachings of the people that poured into her in the past,” she explains. “To see her now leading our Students and Kids in this new format of live worship is a beautiful portrayal of what it looks like to pass the baton to the next generation.”
Timed with the closing of a decade, Hillside Kids closed the chapter on video worship and stepped into something new – student-led, band-backed, live worship. For the past month, God has shown the power and beauty of little hearts surrendered and hands raised high in worship. We’re seeing our children grow in understanding of how, why, and WHO we are worshipping.Matthew 18:2-4 reminds us to go to Him like a child, and this can be portrayed through the way we worship Him in all that we do.
“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
When we worship God with humility, awe, wide-eyed adoration, much like a child does, we can experience His hope and love in bigger and better ways.