To those of you stepping into this role as Cluster of Students pastor at your campus, THANK YOU! We are so excited to start helping you and your students jump into the COS family. This packet should help you understand the COS culture, why we do what we do and how we put those things into place. Let’s get started!


Cluster of Students is a ministry made up of junior high and high school students who lead worship through music.

We exist to empower students – as musicians, worshipers and followers of Christ – to grow in their gifts, so they may honor God and help lead others into His presence.

This ministry is dedicated to equip students in JHM and HSM to serve their peers with their musical gifts.

COS also encourages excellence. As Christians, we are called to do everything to the best of our ability. It is not our goal to show off or try to impress, but to train in such a way that we can give God our very best as an act of worship.

Our job is help create worship pastors, not just worship leaders. Worship pastors help care for the flock of SSM. They are not students who just come when they are scheduled to play but they meet and greet those coming into their ministry, they serve servant-heartedly and are influences for the Kingdom in their schools and families. Anyone can lead worship- whether that to be a product or to themselves, but as COS, we pray that our students become more than that- that they grow as worship pastors in their time with COS.     

(Throw Back Thursday)

 Cluster of Students started in 2001 with a guy named Taffy. Over the last 20 years, COS has changed A LOT. In student ministries, adult worship used to be the ones leading each weekend. Pastor Kurt Johnston had a dream that students would be leading each weekend, instead. Taffy took that idea and started getting junior high and high school students to play each week. The ministry has continued to grow and develop over the years and is continuing to move in the direction that Jesus is leading it. So, to you, welcome aboard the COS journey! 

+ THE COS 20

We have a list of 20 songs that we play for the whole year. Those 20, and those 20 only. Most are written by our own COS students from our different campuses.


o   When students come on the weekend, we want them to be familiar with the songs that are singing. We want them to connect with the songs week to week and an easy way to help them do that is by having a set amount of songs – that way, they won’t be hearing new songs every weekend when they come to church.

o   Our goal is to lead the congregation to worship God by creating triggers and memories. The triggers and memories we are trying to create are to bring students back to a specific moment that they had with Jesus. It may feel like we’re playing these songs over and over, but remember that what we are doing is for the benefit of the students coming to our weekend service, not us.

If you remember, one thing that COS stands by is encouraging excellence. By playing these 20 songs, our students are able to master their songs over the course of a year because of the repetition it requires.

  • If you're campus is only averaging 2 songs a weekend we suggest to only pick 12 songs for a month for the year.

  • If you're campus is averaging 4 songs a month we suggest to only pick 16 songs for a month for the year. Then use the other songs, not in your monthly picks, as specials or openers.


Prime is program we use with every practice and with every set we play. The great thing about using Prime, is that for each of the 20 songs, we have each instrument recorded, as well as vocals. You will be able to mute different channels on Prime based on what instruments you have available that weekend, and what your band or vocals need to practice to.

Click here for a tutorial video on Prime! (skip ahead to 6:38)


o   Download “Loop Community Prime” in the app store. You will receive an iPad at your campus specifically for the use of this app. You can also download it on your phone.


  • Username:

  • Password: Please ask your COS Worship password.


  • Username:

  • Password: Please ask your COS Worship password

*PRO-TIP: Give this username and password to each of your students so they can practice to it throughout the week even if you don’t have a mid-week practice!

 *PRO-TIP: If you are doing in-person auditions, use Prime! You can play the full song track and just mute the instrument/vocal part so that you can hear what they will sound like with a full band! 


  • Make sure your students or whoever is using the prime account does not mess up the password or you will lock everyone out.

  • Please do not add markers or edit the songs on prime cause it will affect everyone. Please inform your students of this also


Each student in the ministry pays $55 each year ($55 total for families with multiple students in COS) - whether they jump in in the beginning of the year or towards the end. This covers the two COS shirts they will receive, a COS 20 book, Prime tracks and other resources for the year. Once they pay this, they can get all their gear!

There are 3 ways!

  1. ONLINE - Head to, click on the “REQUIREMENTS” tab > “DUES”. Follow that link to pay! Click here to go directly to the page.

  2. CHECK – They can write a check to “Saddleback Church” for $55 and you can mail it the Lake Forest campus
    (SSM/COS, 1 Saddleback Parkway, Lake Forest, CA. 92630)

  3. CASH – They can give you the $55 and you can mail it the Lake Forest campus (same address)

*** If you ever need more/extra COS shirts & books, just let COS Central know how many and what sizes and we can get those to you!


Q: As a leader, do I need to pay to receive a book and shirts?

A: Nope! Leader perk… you get all that stuff fo freeeee!


o   This website can be a huge tool to your students. Each campus has a tab so if you want any information on your page for your students to reference to, send it to the Central Team and she can put it up.


o   We have a playlist of all the COS 20 songs at your fingertips! Follow along to listen and learn the songs. Click HERE for the link.

o   This is the way to get your students up on Planning Center. Fill out their information and they will be inputted within the next 48 hours.


o   For video tutorials for all the 20 songs for each instrument, search “clusterofstudents”. This is a huge resource for our students as they are learning their parts. Each song is separated into a playlist for their instrument and year!

Planning Center

o  You can schedule all your students here for weekend services!

Saddleback Egnyte

o   HERE is the link to our Egnyte file with all vocal parts for each of the 20 songs for your vocalists!

Loop Community Prime

o   Prime knows all, just ask Bick!

+ C.R.U.D.
(Commitments, Requirements, Understandings & Dress Code)

C.R.U.D. is a form of standards and expectations we hold our COS students to.

-       Each student needs to be “taught” and go through C.R.U.D. with you. (whether that’s with you + the student + another leader or in a group) Plan on meeting with your new students for 30 minutes this way they are able to hear the standards you are holding them to and the commitment you expect of them. Through this meeting, they should be able to see the bigger of what COS is and that it is not about the limelight of being on stage. This also gives you time with your students to build a relationship and get to know one another.

-       On the form, there are two blanks after each phrase. The first one is for the student to initial, the second is for their parent to initial. Once they sign it and get it back to you, they are ready to serve in COS!


There are a few different options when it comes to doing auditions. Each campus has the freedom to go about them the way they think will work best for them! Here are some different ideas and ways to go about audition season.

  • IN PERSON – In person auditions can be scary for students, but it’s a great opportunity for you to get some face to face interaction and some “get to know you” conversation with a potential COS student. Feedback can always be given after these auditions- whether that’s encouragement or making note of some improvements that need to happen (These can happen after service on the weekend, in between services or during the week.)

PERKS: You get that one-on-one connection with a student. You can ask them to play something differently to see if they can follow directions easily. Feedback can be given face to face.

DOWNFALLS: Students may be more nervous playing in front of people. Scheduling multiple students to come in may be difficult with your work schedule.

  • VIDEO – You can have the students email in a short video of them playing a couple different songs that you have asked them to come prepared with. 

PERKS: This is an easier option if you have a packed schedule. Students can re-take the video multiple times so you are seeing their “best foot forward” kind of audition. Also, this shows how much discipline/laziness they have when given a task to take care of by how quickly they get that video in to you.

DOWNFALLS: You aren’t getting any face time with students where they would get to know you and you get to know them. Feedback about the audition is delayed because it’s all done by email or phone.


o   When students are auditioning, make sure you have them fill out an audition form! You’re going to need to know how to get in contact with them, what shirt size they need, etc. after they audition.


Wow, that was a lot to take in! If you’ve read through this far, we salute you!

Know this, you don’t have to have music every weekend in your student ministries. Worship is more than music. If your ministry is choosing to launch music in your ministry, consider this as you start off…

You can do music:

  • Once a month. At the beginning or end of a series.

  • Play the COS 20 songs on Spotify before service, during service, or afterwards so the students start to get to know the music.

Know that Taffy and the Central Team are here for you in ANY way you may need it! We are always open to questions and comments- that’s what we’re here for.

We love you and are excited for this journey at your campus!!


Christopher “Taffy” Tafalla

Leslie Ibarra

Megan “Uma” Umali