We are wanting to expose our teenagers to more Christian music. Not that all 'worldly' music is bad, but most of our youth dont really know any quality worship, Christ focused music. How do you introduce it without sounding hard and making anything that doesn’t say God in it sound evil? How do you 'resource' them with Good music without breaking copyright rules, but at the same time not expecting them to spend Hundreds of rands on new CD's. I guess Im asking how to you challenge and then inspire them to explore this amazing world of 'Christian' music.
(Please i dont want to start a debate on what is Christian music and what is not, I simply want some tips on how to address this)

thanks

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Jeanine,

I am of the mind that you really can't "force" stuff on people. It's much like revival, you can't make it happen, you can only invite revival, or as we say in our ministry team, "stack the odds in your favor". I was recently working with a high school counselor and he was noticing a trend that more and more of his young people were siding towards sports (he called them "jocks") and less about music and worship. However for a while, we had a really good run of youths passionate for Worship Music.

One thing that we did in the past for our church is when we had a junior worship team, that practices were scheduled just before high school fellowship on Fridays and they practiced to lead Sunday Worship every once in a while. (I believe it started as whenever we had a 5th Sunday a month, they were up.) What that did was nurture a passion for "worship music", and they naturally learning new songs and I believe would even think of new songs to sing.

So I don't know if that answers your direct question of getting music to young people. For actually getting music to the young people, the youth on my team love using YouTube. I send them links for songs, and inevitably, they are sending me back 5 different versions! They can spend hours on YouTube... it's amazing.

I hope that helps. I thought the youth worship team was a neat idea. (We've since changed from that format as a result of leadership-board choice, integrating/spreading the youth amongst the adults teams.) I think sometimes you need a special leader that has a heart for youths (that's why we have youth fellowship, and youth Sunday school, etc), as they have special needs, different from adult worship teams.

I also thought it was a neat 2-way process as well, as the congregation was also learning new youth relative songs. This was probably how many of the Hillsongs United (Joel Houston, Brooke Fraser, etc) got added to the song rotations. Of course getting them to only sing hymns with organ may be a uphill battle... but the point is that the leaders need to be aware of the youth tendencies. Sing songs they are going to get excited about (while maybe sprinkling in some older standards...).

I guess my conclusion is passion breeds passion. Youth have an amazing ability to see through any facades and look into your heart/true intentions. If you're passionate, and you can even a few of the youths passionate, hopefully it will trickle down.

w.
Jeanine, Wayne's idea of a youth band is a good one. I've just started up two in our church, and while it's a lot of hard work, the kids are really getting into it. They play for their youth nights, and they will be playing on Sunday mornings every once in a while. But make sure you have a good musician-type leader doing it; the kids won't stick around long if it's poorly done.

You could also become a "silent evangelist" for good music! Pick up a few CDs that are really popular with Chrisitian youth and selectively give them out to different kids in your church. They could be awards for attendence, graduation presents, birthday gifts, whatever. If you hand them out, the kids will listen to them, and if the music is good, it will start to catch on, one teen at a time. Get some other adults to join you in this, and have them back the gifts with prayer.

Ready to spend a little more? Find a good worship conference in your area and take some youth with you. Find a way to pay their way if you have to, but nothing will redirect their lives like a real personal experience with God in a large group of believers. Youth really respond to those large group events.

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