I didn’t listen to a lot of Christian music when I was a teen. Granted, there wasn’t all that much I knew about that was cool back then. You had Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith and there were the lesser gods like Kenny Marks and Wes King and that was pretty much it. (Had I known then what I know now, I would have surely added Petra, Keith Green and Larry Norman, but alas, I didn’t…)
Teen nowadays have a lot more choice when it comes to really cool Christian bands and music. There’s a massive amount of worship out there, but also a lot of different styles for people who can’t stand Hillsong-type music. But do your teens know this music?
I don’t know about your teens and students, but my experience is that a lot of them don’t go looking for Christian music themselves. They may stumble across something they like, but they won’t just listen to or even buy new Christian music. That’s where you can come in.
Now I understand that you have a lot on your plate and that playing music store may not be very high on your list. But I just want to share a couple of really good reasons with you to give recommending Christian music to your teens some thought:
Christian music can encourage them
One of the things I like about more personal songs (as different from more worship oriented songs) is that Christian artists share their emotions, their thoughts and struggles. What a blessing and encouragement to know that ‘even’ artists have their down days, their periods of feeling blue and their doubts and struggles.
Christian music can teach them
The lyrics of good Christian songs can reinforce messages we’re trying to teach them from the Bible. It can teach them about God’s character, about His love for us, about our need for a Savior.
Christian music can reach them
Sometimes music can succeed where our words fail. Music has the ability to move us, to make us more open to certain messages. That’s certainly not good when it comes to negative messages certain songs teach, but it’s great when God’s Words are proclaimed in music that opens teen’s hearts for the Truth. Music can manage to pierce their hearts like none of our words ever could.
Christian music can help them
Jesus taught a deep truth when He said that defilement comes from within (Matthew 7:15). I’ve often rephrased this by using the GIGO principle: garbage in, garbage out. When teens fill their minds and hearts with garbage (and I’m certainly not claiming all ‘non-Christian’ music is garbage!), the changes of anything good coming out are slim. But when they fill their minds with good things, with God-pleasing words and attitudes, it will help them to lead a more holy life.
Christian music can inspire them
I was reminded of this when I visited the Youth Work Summit last October in Manchester, England where a to me unknown band was playing called Rend Collective Experiment. They sang a song called Build your Kingdom here and it rocked me to my core. Here’s the lyrics to the chorus:
Build Your kingdom here
Let the darkness fear
Show Your mighty hand
Heal our streets and land
Set Your church on fire
Win this nation back
Change the atmosphere
Build Your kingdom here
It reminded me that God’s Kingdome rules, that He can change the course of history through us…it inspired me to keep searching for my place in God’s Kingdom after my circumstances changed due to our move to Germany. It’s just one example of a song inspiring me to act, to change, to grow.
So spend some time getting to know different styles of Christian music so you can recommend it to your youth. Place music reviews on your youth ministry Facebook page or group. Make cd’s a prize in games and competitions you have. Use songs in your small groups and Bible studies. Come up with some creative and time-friendly ways to introduce a broad variety of Christian music to your youth. They’ll thank you for it.
How do you use Christian music in your youth ministry? Do you ever recommend it to young people?