Surrender Worship Youth Ministry at Brunswick Church by Kim Deal

“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up…” ~Ephesians 4:11-12

What is Surrender Worship Ministry?

The Surrender Worship Ministry Team is a group of high school students who gather weekly to plan and lead worship services at Brunswick Church, Troy, NY.  The worship service schedule varies from year to year based on the availability of the youth participating.

A Little Background

In 2009, Joseph Yonkers proposed starting a youth-led worship service for his Eagle Project for the Boy Scouts of America.  He launched the Surrender Worship Ministry in 2010 with the following goals/benefits in mind:

“My project will be of benefit to the group because:

  • It will establish an active, engaging youth ministry at Brunswick Church.
  • It will encourage youth to be involved in worship in a meaningful way.
  • It will demonstrate to other youth a way to use the gifts God has given them to better the community.
  • It will be a way for the church to invite new people into faith.”

We give thanks for Joe’s vision and work!

Since that time, the Surrender Worship Ministry has continued over 8 seasons and is unique each year based on the number of youth leaders, their interests, and their talents.  There have also been a number of advisors over the years, including Dixie & Paul Yonkers, Kim Deal, Pamela Hoyt, Nick Fredette, Rachel Farnum, and Emily Bonesteel.

Our numbers have fluctuated a lot over the years and we have had as few as 5 high school team members and as many as 14.  Each year, the team gathers to determine where their interests, talents, and experience may take the ministry.

Here are some examples of how team members have served in the past:

  • A/V – running the presentations for the order of worship as well as the sound
  • Artwork (Worship guides, painting/drawing during worship)
  • Communications within the team
  • Created a video to support message that played during a song
  • Drama
  • Original Music
  • Poetry
  • Prayer
  • Preaching
  • Rap – A previous member started his rapping ministry in Surrender and has recorded music today. (See LC3 – Larry Cooper)
  • Testimonies
  • Visual Arts for the Service

How does the team work to plan a service?

The ministry evolves and shifts into something a little different each year depending on the teen leaders, however once they determine goals for the year, they usually meet once a week to:

  • Interact as a small group and pray for each other
  • Determine what the message should be for the service
  • Identify what elements (prayer/drama/preaching/interactive worship/visual arts/etc) they need in the service to best deliver the message
  • Select music
  • Work through all logistics of the service over a number of planning sessions
  • Invite other groups to participate (for example, Caritas)
  • Lead worship

It is a ton of work and the teams deserve a lot of credit for their dedication.

What is the style for the worship services?

The great thing about Surrender is that there are not a lot of rules.  The services generally have a contemporary feel however they have experimented and led many different kinds of services over the years, including services that are entirely focused on prayer and others that have been more like discussion groups.  They have also led the Easter Sunrise Service and traveled to other churches. We’ve always emphasized that worship happens in different ways for different people, whether visually, musically, hands-on, or otherwise.

If someone has an idea and is motivated to try something new, all ideas are considered.

Who makes up the Surrender Worship Ministry Team?

Any high school students interested in serving as part of this team are welcome.  No prior experience needed and no need to play an instrument.  We have had students from outside of Brunswick Church participate in the team too!  All that is necessary is that students come with an open mind and be willing to participate!

As an advisor, working with the High School Surrender Worship Team is incredibly rewarding.  It is truly a privilege to serve with them, guiding them in areas where I have experience and growing with them in new areas.  Watching them learn to use their gifts and grow as leaders is truly humbling as well as eye opening to see how they glorify God.

When is the next service?

The 2016-2017 season will host one more service on June 14th!  We invite people of all ages to come and worship with us outside around a fire.

Surrender Worship Ministry: Fireside service
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
6:30 p.m.
Brunswick Church, 42 White Church Lane, Troy, NY 12180
Outside on Roden Baseball Field

www.brunswickchurch.org or 518-279-3792

Event Details can be found here

**Bring a lawn chair and dress to be outside.  We will also have s’mores following the service.

Want to see more pictures? Click here to see additional photos of the Surrender Worship Ministry throughout the years.


Kim is the Communications Manager for the Albany Presbytery.  Outside of this role, she is passionate about her family and inspiring people to grow and contribute in meaningful ways.  You can reach Kim at [email protected]. She also attends Brunswick Church where she has served as an advisor to the Surrender Worship Team for a few years.

The purpose of the Albany Presbytery Blog is to share information, tell stories, and promote the mission and ministry of the presbytery, synod and beyond.  While the breadth of this medium is intentionally broad, it is not a platform for opinion pieces related to business coming before the presbytery unless designed as part of an initiative to provide a diversity of viewpoints at the direction of the presbytery council.  Exceptions to this policy may be brought to the presbytery officers who will determine appropriateness of submissions.